- 03/06/2012, 05:50PM ET
UB bulls said 03/06, 05:50 PM
Of course not. The CHL is no more professional than other youth development leagues
The CHL is singled out by the NCAA as 'professional' simply to discourage kids from playing there, and that is because schools see the CHL as a direct competitor for talent. Both the CHL and NCAA schools want to be the main conduit to the NHL.
The CHL (Canadian Hockey League) is an umbrella for three Canadian junior leagues (Western, Ontario and Quebec.) There are similar junior leagues in Sweden (SuprtElit), the US (USHL), etc. They're all about the same: kids play from age 16 to 18, live with a local family, get medical coverage and equipment provided by the team.
Although the USHL and CHL are nearly identical in terms of benefits, only CHL players are deemed permanently ineligible by the NCAA. No other development league in any sport is singled out like this. Then again, no other league competes directly with NCAA schools for talent.
Labeling CHL players professional isn't about protecting innocent amateurs from competing against seasoned pros. It's all about the USHL and D1 conferences using the NCAA to dictate the lives of 15 year old kids so they can fill hockey arenas.
Mondo Jay said 03/07, 01:12 PM
The answer is Yes.
I don't think any suitor likes being someone's second or third choice.
Have you ever tried to date a hottie that won't commit to you but prefers to keep her "options open"? If those other said options don't work out for her, she comes back to you because you are her amiable safety net that will welcome her with open arms until that inevitable day when a better option is revealed and she bolts for greener pastures...
The NCAA doesn't want to be a back-up plan or safety net rather then a viable first option for pro development of young hockey players that decide to play professionally in the CHL.
The competition between the CHL and the NCAA for talented players is fierce. The fact that a player loses his amateur status, and thus college eligibility in the CHL is a scary enough proposition for some players to choose the college route. The finality of going to the CHL is a real concern (fear) for some players and their parents.
This fear of losing eligibility is an arrow in the NCAA's quiver and should remain there to prevent the NCAA from playing second fiddle to the CHL and being relegated to safety net status.
UB bulls said 03/07, 08:08 PM
NCAA's mission statement:
"The association .. shares a belief in and a commitment to: The pursuit of excellence in both academics and athletics..."
It's supposed to be all about the student-athlete experience, not about strong-arming kids into an inferior development league.
To be the best, you have to compete against the best. For a high school kid, that is the CHL. Choosing the USHL means choosing inferior competition, which is hardly the pursuit of excellence. Players should keep their NCAA eligibility as long as they refuse the CHL stipend (barely enough to buy a tank of gas anyways.)
The current NCAA rule book is embarrassing. There are a half-dozen rules written to allow (for example) players from the pro EuroLeague to play NCAA hoops, then each rule says that it applies to every sport except men's hockey.
If college hockey and the USHL are worried about being second fiddle, they should do a better job of closing the competitiveness gap with the CHL. Creating bogus rules to force kids into playing USHL is doing a disservice to the student-athletes the NCAA claims to be serving.
Mondo Jay said 03/08, 01:16 PM
Often in life we make choices that affect our present and future circumstances.
For young hockey players, the choice between playing in the CHL (the quickest way to the NHL) or playing in the NCAA (fewer games, more time to develop and a chance to get a quality education) is a crucial one that can't be taken lightly.
Want the quickest and path of least resistance to the NHL, go to the CHL. Want to hedge your bet and cover your bases for the future with an education, play NCAA.
Most hockey lovers want hockey to be healthy everywhere, not just in Canada.
Allowing CHL players to retain college eligibility could also have a gigantic impact on the USHL. More top players would go to the CHL fully knowing that they'll have a fall-back plan. They can go up and get added exposure, get in front of more scouts on a nightly basis. The top end in the USHL could be significantly diminished in such a scenario.
While this move would help the NCAA's depth, it would most likely eliminate many of the top-end players from ever making it to the NCAA. Quality goes down.
Only the guys that would have otherwise played lower level minor league hockey would end up in college.
UB bulls said 03/09, 02:09 AM
Both you and the NCAA only seem worried about the impact on the USHL and the D1 schools. You are ignoring what is best for the players, which is to give them as many options as possible before deciding whether to turn pro or enroll in college.
And make no mistake: playing in the CHL is not turing pro. Canadian courts (Vigoren v. Nystuen) and the CIS (Canadian equivalent of the NCAA) have both ruled that the CHL is not a professional league. Only the NCAA claims that CHL players are pros, and for self-serving reasons.
Yes, we often do have to make decisions that affect future circumstances, but it is unreasonable to force someone to make life-altering decisions at the age of 15.
Forcing a HS freshman to choose between the best path to the NHL and the best path to college is not only unreasonable, it is unnecessary. Back in the 1960-70s, players could go from CHL to NCAA. Brian Morenz is one example.
Let kids play in the CHL if they want to. If it leads to the NHL, that's great; for the vast majority, it will not. For those CHL players who aren't destined for the NHL, the NCAA should not deny them eligibility.
Mondo Jay said 03/09, 10:43 PM
I am certainly interpreting the question (should the NCAA consider CHL players professionals and deny them hockey eligibility?) from the perspective of the NCAA.
I think it is completely "fair" to the players to hold them to their decisions. Life is about making choices and living with the results.
When a player chooses to go NCAA they are choosing to go to university to play hockey. When a player chooses to go to CHL they are choosing to go to the "University of Hockey" with the sole purpose of playing and preparing for professional hockey. Both choices have their own unique advantages, but choosing the NCAA route certainly opens up more options. The NCAA needs to and should keep this leverage in regards to eligibility.
Granted, there will still be players that prefer college hockey and the NCAA was never going to lose those guys anyway. Its losing those players that are on the bubble that would really hurt.
USA Hockey shouldn't allow CHL juniors to play in American colleges. College is not about getting the best players on earth and the product. Rather, its about preparing these young men for a life after hockey.
Good TD UB.
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