Friday, August 04, 2006


So I got some sage advice yesterday that maybe I should try to be a little more unbiased in my views on the battle between the NCAA and major junior hockey. It's pretty good advice, that I'll try to follow.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut, now is a really bad time to start my mission of peace. Why? Because this is the time of year that Canadian major junior teams dust off their old tired rhetoric about college hockey to get playes to sign with their teams.

Last year, it was Brent Sutter running his mouth about how Mario Lamoureux wouldn't make the pros if he didn't sign with Red Deer. This year's winner seems to be the Portland Winterhawks.

First up is this blurb about Andrew Conboy, whose brother Tim played for St. Cloud State(emphasis mine):

Andrew Conboy, Hockey Age 18, (Rosemount, Minnesota – List Player). 6’4, 180. Posted (7-8-15) with 158 penalty minutes in 51 games playing for Wichita Falls of the North American Hockey League. “Ken Hodge saw him play on a scouting trip and we put him on our list. His brother went to college, but did not have a great experience. We are hoping to have Andrew and his family in to Portland some time this summer and have them take a look around. Hopefully, he will decide to attend our training camp and make a run at making our team as well.”

I always thought Tim's problem was that he enjoyed the college experience too much. And by "college experience", I mean marijuana and cocaine.

The best part comes at the end of the article though when they make overtures to players that have already committed to colleges, including Denver's Rhett Rakhshani, BU's Eric Gryba, and Alaska-Fairbanks recruit Dion Knelson. Knelson's was the most overt, and the funniest.

And Knelson was Portland’s most outstanding young player at last year’s training camp held in Memorial Coliseum. His brother chose to play at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Dion has indicated a desire to join him there in 2007-08. But, the Hawks will continue to relay that no NHL players have ever come out of that program and nearly 100 ex-Winter Hawks have played in the NHL. With Knelson’s speed and skill, and the new NHL rules that make size less of a factor than in the past, the Hawks are hoping he may strongly reconsider the opportunity of playing in the WHL.

Ok, first of all, nice research, guys.

Second, what an awful comparison to try and make. How much NHL-level talent has UAF gotten over the years? It's not like the WHL where if you're bad one year, you get to draft a great player next year. Fairbanks has done a great job of cultivating the talent that they do get. I know Alaska is really far away, but NHL scouts still get the opportunity to watch Fairbanks play many, many times per season. If Dion Knelson is talented enough, he'll make it to the NHL.

I really have no problem with major junior hockey. It's a system that works better for some players. It's only when major junior clubs start making ridiculous statements about how it's impossible for college hockey players to make it to the pros if they go to college in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary that I get bothered.


Anonymous said...

I think you are getting worked up for nothing because most talented kids and their parents watch the annual NHL draft. Any kid that is too dumb to figure out the truth from the available evidence probably shouldn't be in college anyway.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this isn't the time of year that major juniors use faulty evidence to try to lure kids from college -- that's year-round. While college hockey is a business, it's not as cut-throat as the CHL ranks. It seems they'll stop at nothing to get their guys.

Anonymous said...

If a kid wants to prepare himself for the NHL, I think the best place for him to start looking is in the WCHA. If you look at the level of skill in the league, the type of facilities it boasts, and the recent success underclassmen have had getting pro contracts, this obviously is a great place to be.

redwing77 said...

I partially agree with the first 'anonymous' in the fact that this is nothing to get worked up about.
The way I see it is simple: Major juniors (and Team Canada) are getting more and more worried about college hockey stealing their top talent. That's why Hockey Canada is trying to restrict Canadian Tier I Juniors (BCHL, AJHL, OPJHL, etc.) to major junior feeders only, why there's talk of Canadian colleges joining the NCAA and why MJ teams like Red Deer, London, and Moncton (as examples)are so active in subverting NCAA recruits.

I think we should be alarmed at what Hockey Canada is trying to do but amused and honored by the remaining stuff. They feel threatened by us, folks!

siouxnami said...

I think you should slam the WHL more, after all it your blog...