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Monday, August 19, 2013

The tides of change

The seas are always ebbing and flowing and so it is with Jr hockey.  Teams come and go, coaches and their staff members, players and even entire leagues as the case stands.  I personally am now working for the Philadelphia little Flyers of the Eastern Hockey League.  So that is as good a starting place as any.  USA JR hockey.

USHL, No Ohio HS players made USHL teams.  Tyler Harkins was drafted, but is  neither on the roster nor the affiliate list.  Several Barons are, but are returning to play MM
So by the numbers lets look at the USHL Roster-affiliate lists
Midget Major (MM) and Midget Minor (Mm) composed 145 spots on active and affiliate rosters
New England D1 Prep 42
USPHL, EHL, MeTJHL composed 19 spots to active USHL and affiliate rosters
Other Prep 25
High School 58 ( active and affilate combined, mostly WI, Minesota HS)
This age is by active roster ONLY affiliates are playing else where
93's 45 several teams have 0 some have 4 or more, teams are not allowed more than 3.
94's 130
97's 14

The reality is Ohio HS player are being hindered at the state level.  The product is bogged down by a system run by those who do not understand the hockey landscape.  WHich is why parents and players do not understand the purpose of Jr hockey.  The Ohio HS product is turing out quality tier 3 players.  Players who will play, and develop.  It is not turning out even tier 2 players.  People need to get to these games and see with their own eyes what High Caliber tier 2 and Tier 3 hockey looks like.

Does Ohio have players?  Damn right, lots of them.  So why not Tier 2.  Not tier 2 because the system is failed at the state level.  The Ohio HS teams bog themselves down with some of the bizzar rules and have bunched in HS teams that couldn't beat their way out of an open paper bag on a good day, let alone beat a 14u AA squad.  Changes need to be made. Made now.    Change one.  Pre post teams, lets keep them.  BUt these teams need to be allowed to compete all season.  Lets face it, these are Ohio's best kids from the HS product.  So lets play them as they should be.  Those team needs to play at AAA and AA level showcases all year.  Not just Nationals.  The HS teams would be wise to stop pussy footing around with each other all year.  With the State cock blocking every attempt to make the product viable...just leave already.  Make Hockey a club sport again.  You don't an oppressive and "silly brained" yea retarded state organization in the way.   The top schools know who they are, the bottom and middle do as well.  Your all hockey people, get in a damn room and create two levels and scheduled accordingly, and make a point of hitting these larger accredited showcases.  Raise the bar.

So taht is why not.  No one save a few people in Ohio, know anything about these kids.  They show up, turn it on, play great hockey.  Get the coaches scratching their heads, making calls, asking...but they come back to the same place over and over and over again....can he sustain it....what do we really know about HE WORTH THE RISK?   No...   is johnnie just as good X from Y yup...but no one know Johnnie.

are there jr leagues to avoid...I say yes.   Do they have good hockey in leagues to avoid?  yup some great hockey, but why to avoid them... location, location location.    You would not get much money from any bank, if yu wanted to build a Tim Hortons, in the middle of a wilderness area...would you.  Nothing bu trees, bear, deer and turkey for 25 miles any direction...and no roads.   So why then knowing the state of the economy, and the atheltic budgets would you shag ass off to a league 1400 miles away from 2/3 of all NCAA programs?  Are you going pro?  Given you need to go play where you will be successful, challenged and developed.  But when a League champion in JR hockey is celebrating a couple big college placements at the acha level you really need to step back and evaluate.  IS CLUB Hockey your Goal?  There are some OUTSTANDING club programs.  Most are just fun, or a way for a guy to rediscover his love of the game or just keep playing.  IF you honestly identify yourself here, that is great I am not bitch slapping you or slighting you, nor am the guy who has no options for any reason to go to club.  I am targeting the kid that wants NCAA hockey.  WHy?  Why go to a league and team that has next to 0 placements in NCAA d3 level and a mirror of that in "higher" levels of hockey.
I can understand the kid who went with lowest fee...he is fighting to stay in the game!  To you, I hope you have a great season...and while doing it I hope you...not mom or dad reeach out to other coaches and try to help yourself move on.
The reality is the single best place based on odds is out in the north east. with in 6 hours of 2/3 of all ncaa d1 and d3 programs.  over 200 NCAA placements came from the now USPHL, EHL, Met, and Empire leagues.  The number from just the EHL's former Atlantic teams fell only behind the NAHL in totals and exceeded in D3 placements.  WHen you invest in yourself, and that is what JR hockey is, an investment.  Your looking for the greatest return possible.  So if have labored to just make JR's and are fortunate enough to have a choice of where to play, look no farther than where it is what to play.  You wont sell any coffee in the wilderness, but the bears will kick the crap out of you and eat your doughnuts.

To all who labored this tryout season, you have my respect.  To all who made it and are playing JRs this season Congratulations.