Saturday, August 04, 2007

Two Players Opt for Major Junior

Paul Shaheen's Research on Ice Newsletter reported too pretty disappointing stories today about talented players breaking college commitments to play in the OHL.

The first, and most major, is US NTDP goalie Josh Unice breaking his commitment to Bowling Green, and instead opting to play for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. This is a crushing blow to the Falcons, who were in desperate need of an upgrade in goaltending. The Rangers had former USHL goalie John Murray as their primary starter last season, and I'm not entirely sure, but I believe he won't be back next season, which would make Unice their top goalie. I can't criticize the decision made by Unice, if he truly believes that is what is best for his college career, but I do have to question the timing. According to Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch, BG had no idea that Unice was considering the OHL, and with a little over two weeks before schools starts in Bowling Green, it is pretty much impossible for the Falcons to find another goalie to replace Unice.

The other de-commitment is that of Chicago Steel defenseman, and Western Michigan recruit Josh Bemis. Bemis was one of the youngest players in the USHL last season on a weak Steel team. He will instead play for the Plymouth Whalers next season. Bemis wasn't scheduled to join the Broncos until 2009, so that gives Western plenty of time to find a replacement, but still hurts, as the Broncos seemed to have found two gems in Bemis and Team NXI defenseman Luke Witkowski. The Broncos still have Witkowski, who is arguably the better of the two, but will miss having Bemis on the blueline.

46 comments:

Ryan said...

Spencer Anderson, who played last season with in the OPJHL and with the Steel, will be playing with Kitchener. He was drafted by the Steel this past May and was set to be on the team. Only difference is he wasn't committed to a school before jumping.

Anonymous said...

BG has probly the best uncommitted goalie in the country in on a visit today. personally i think its career suicide for my freind nick eno to play for BG cause they suck. Unice made a bold move by leaving so late nick Eno is better than him anyways so if BG can land him it works out better for everyone

Anonymous said...

It is getting tougher and tougher for schools to keep players from jumping ship.
It is somewhat understandable with some of the dollars been thrown at these players.
I would hope that these players got offered well into the six figure amount. It would be kind of bruising to the ego knowing that others were getting offered 250 000 and more, and lets say you decided to play for the standard chl package.

Anonymous said...

Where are the "good luck with the McJob when your done.." comments?? Maybe all these kids and Agents know something.

Anonymous said...

Poor BGSU.

What happened to (FR) Eddie Nevell.

He had a 3/4 money.

Oh Ya BGSU cut him and took away all his money.

Eno, better than Unice. What are you smoking?

Anonymous said...

Chris,

I am an avid reader of your blog, not so much because I am a specifically a college hockey fan but rather a hockey fan in general. You do a wonderful job in breaking stories and delivering information, so much so that you must be often be "cursed" by the pay per view blogs. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for this!

I do have one question/comment for you though. Why is it such a "negative" event for a player to choose the Major Junior route? It is not like these players are on their way to Europe/Russia where we will never see them play again. Many times they are playing right in our back yard (in your case concerning Plymouth and Saginaw) or very close to the border in Canada.

From a player perspective, these kids are still having their educational needs met while the play in the CHL and after they graduate and they are receiving first rate development, similiar to what they would have received had they gone to college. From a fan's perspective, we still can see these players work their magic on the ice even though they may not be doing it for our favorite college team.

So all in all, does it really matter what route players choose? We as fans will still be able to enjoy watching them play regardless of where they play.

Anonymous said...

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I thinkt the negative aspect and tone in the reporting is due to the fact that these kids went back on their commitments. I think thats the sad part is they are playing the fence to get the best deal they can. Not only does it put their college teams in a bad spot but it basically means that the kids word doesn't amount to anything.

Anonymous said...

Blame the "going back on their commitments" on USA hockey.

Players commit and decommit to youth and Jr teams All the time, every year.

Anonymous said...

its a little bit different when you are committed for 3 years then decide to leave 2 weeks before school. Unice left BG out to dry. and Nick Eno is definately one of the top prospects in the country and i'd say as good if not better than Unice

Anonymous said...

The commitment is also different when schools are putting out big money for you to come there.

Anonymous said...

I dont see how you could say Eno is better than Unice. Eno played in the ej which is no where near the level of play Unice got playing for ntdp. Also Unice got drafted 3rd round and Eno went 7th.

444 said...

Obviously neither kid is from Minnesota.

Ryan said...

"What happened to (FR) Eddie Nevell.

He had a 3/4 money.

Oh Ya BGSU cut him and took away all his money."


I had heard Neville turned down a pro contract over seas and will be returning to BG to play this season.

blah blah blah said...

How does this work? Couldn't BGSU simply go out and ask for a rush job on admission from the University for any qualified applicant they find?

There are plenty of goaltenders uncommitted for 2007 out there. Some I've heard of include Bryce Christianson (USHL), Chris Rawlings (BCHL), Scott Orth (BCHL), and Beau Christian (NAHL). I don't know if these guys are "any good," but if BGSU needs a goaltender, why not try to get one of these guys?

Christianson was highly regarded by Minnesota at one point... of course they did get Kangas instead, but still...

Is there a process outside of the routine admission process that I'm forgetting?

Chris said...

I try not to portray it as too much of a "negative" event, because I'm almost always in favor of a player doing whatever they believe is best for his career.

At the same time, this is a college hockey site(even if the focus veers more towards junior hockey at times), and it is a negative event from a college prospective, because the NCAA is losing good players.

As far as rushing a prospect into school, there is the issue of getting them through the NCAA Clearinghouse, which would take some time. Scott Paluch made it sound like he didn't want to take another goalie unless he could have him for the entire season.

Anonymous said...

To the individual that wrote this

"From a player perspective, these kids are still having their educational needs met while the play in the CHL and after they graduate and they are receiving first rate development, similiar to what they would have received had they gone to college. From a fan's perspective, we still can see these players work their magic on the ice even though they may not be doing it for our favorite college team."


First off of all, how do you figure that they're still having their educational needs met? The number of players who take advantage of the CHL's "educational package" (if you want to call it that) is relatively small and the majority of the ones who do take advantage of it are not those who are considered the cream of the crop.

As for watching CHL kids, unless we live near places like Saginaw, Everett or Lewiston, many of us would have to travel great distances or up to Canada, to see these kids.

I personally have nothing against the Canadian Major Junior Leagues, but my loyalty is first and foremost to NCAA college hockey as far as non-pro leagues go.

Anonymous said...

CIS is canadian college hockey.

Look into it.

CHL send 100's of players every year.

Anonymous said...

From what I hear BGSU convinced a player who had already committed to another program, to decommit this summer and join their squad for this fall, leaving the original school in the lurch. All I can say is......live by the sword and die by the sword........or what goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

444 said...

Obviously neither kid is from Minnesota.

Your right 444. That would never happen *cough cough Peter Mueller cough* in Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

Just wait More players are going to jump to Major A.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with this is that, as mentioned above, the kids are learning that it's OK to break your word. Additionally, everyone would be up-in-arms if a college broke their commitment to a kid. It's a one-way street, but maybe colleges are going to figure "if it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander." If they do so, they could de-commit from their verbals to kids, and we will all be able to blame these kids and their families for the change. Don't commit if you aren't going to keep your commitment and don't be surprised if colleges start doing the same to someone else's son. Let's say a college gets a commitment from someone that's better than your son, would you be happy to have that college tell you, "Sorry, we changed our mind. It's better for our program to go in a different direction with a different player." Would that be acceptable? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

BG offered Nick Eno a full ride for 07' today and he happily excepted. i think BG ended up getting a better deal because Eno is SICK! Unice thinks he's to good to play college i wish him the best of luck and i wish the best of luck to Nick Eno at BG cause he's gunna rip it up

Anonymous said...

Colleges ask players to "defer" all the time, waste a year with no education, and enroll a few years after they graduate. This is happening more since Ontario got rid of Grade 13, so yes, colleges do change thier tunes also, it is just not the players, happens both ways. This will happen much more with schools over committing for specific years.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:30pm

Are you just getting into hockey. College programs have dumped players for years.

EDDIE NEVELL- the FR goalie last year was dumped this past spring.

Your right what goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

In reply to the individual that made this comment

"CIS is canadian college hockey.

Look into it.

CHL send 100's of players every year."

Gee, tell me something that I don't already know.

Of the hundreds of players who go to the CIS from the CHL, how many of them are in the NHL by the time they're 22? Also, why isn't the top players not opting to take the educational packages that are available? If these kids are indeed getting such as a great [academic] education, don't you think that more of them would be taking advantage of such a free or almost free ride?

Anonymous said...

You show your lack of knowledge every time you post. You obviously don't understand the way the CHL contracts work. For instance, hundreds of CHL players take advantage of their educational packages. Many of these players would be better than average NCAA players. However, the exceptional players from the CHL that sign either an NHL or AHL contract are no longer entitled to the educational packages from the CHL. So those players receive healthy contracts and or signing bonus which would allow them to afford any education they desired. Also, many players in the CHL are attending colleges and universities during their playing careers in Major Junior as the teams are paying for the schooling. Ask yourself why so many US college players are leaving early if the education is their main reason for playing NCAA. Instead of being negative, how about just being supportive and understand each kid makes decisions based on his needs and what he thinks is best for him. And as a side note, NCAA coaches have been feeding kids a line of crap forever, your the greatest until someone they like better comes along.

Anonymous said...

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Its funny how you say that most of the CIS players are better than the average NCAA player but it seems like almost every time an NCAA team plays the CIS. The CIS teams get smoked.

Anonymous said...

"However, the exceptional players from the CHL that sign either an NHL or AHL contract are no longer entitled to the educational packages from the CHL"

That's any pro contract. Be it NHL, ECHL, UHL, etc. If you sign a $1,000,000 or $10,000 deal the package is null and void. More times than not CHL do not use their educational packages.

Anonymous said...

Actually players are allowed to sign ECHL (or lower level pro hockey) contracts and play up to a full year before the contracts are null and void. Thats a heck of a deal because it gives the player a taste of pro life and what it really takes to play at a high level and its not surprising that many players return back to school.

This past season there were over 500 former CHL players in the CIS. This does not include the many more who used their education package and did not play hockey. Its obvious that many of you pro NCAA folks have no clue as to what the CHL is about and the opportunities it affords young people.

There is a reason that more and more American players are deciding to go Major A folks....its time you clue yourselves in.

Anonymous said...

3:31pm

It's a NHL or AHL contract.

If you sign in the ECHL, you get a year. Then u lose your $.

If u sign in CHL or IHL, then you just dont want to go to school.

Anonymous said...

7:03

First off, please don't tell me what I do and don't know. I know a lot more than you think.

Second, you also need to do some homework. Just because a player leaves his school, doesn't necessarily mean he's dropping his education altogether. While it is true that there are a growing number of NCAA players leaving early for the pro ranks, there is also a growing numbers of those that do that are continuing their education to get their degrees via summer school, online, etc. while playing in the pros. A perfect example is San Jose Shark and former DU Pioneer Matt Carle.

You come in here and say:

"Instead of being negative, how about just being supportive and understand each kid makes decisions based on his needs and what he thinks is best for him."

and then go on to say:

"And as a side note, NCAA coaches have been feeding kids a line of crap forever, your the greatest until someone they like better comes along."

not to mention this:

"You show your lack of knowledge every time you post."

So whose being negative here?

All I'm doing is questioning the CHL's educational package system and why we almost never publicly hear more about the 'details' of these packages from the Canadian press or even the CHL teams themselves.

And yes, I've personally researched it quite extensively. I've even had some discussions about it with a couple of CIS coaches, who seem to be the only ones willing to share with me how the system does and doesn't work without getting their feathers ruffled because of my questions. So I guess all of the information that I'm getting from these CIS coaches is not valid, right?

If you don't like someone questioning what you feel is a better system, then don't post such comments.

Frankly, I could care less if a player choses to go the NCAA route or the CHL route. Whatever he feels is best for him is just hunky dory with me. I just don't like seeing a player take up a coveted scholarship from the school who offered to him either very late in the summer or in the middle of the school year bolting to the CHL. If a player doesn't want to be at an NCAA school and do the necessary required work both on and off the ice, then he shouldn't be here in the first place, and he shouldn't be taken up a scholarship that could be given to a player who does want to be here.

Anonymous said...

My dad can beat up your dad.

Anonymous said...

Rumor on the street.

Omaha-USHL Adam Comrie is going to Saginaw-OHL.

Chicago-USHL Andy Miele to Plymouth-OHL.


Any Info?

Anonymous said...

444 said...

Obviously neither kid is from Minnesota.

Your right 444. That would never happen *cough cough Jim O'Brien cough* in Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

some of these kids can't cut it scholastically in NCAA. Unice would sit behind Spratt, and then the others are all basically hockey morons. Who would want to hang in Canaaaada anyway?

Anonymous said...

yeah learning how to party, which is about 60% of the college life-style these days is real difficult to learn. "Learning how to drink 101" and "How to not schedule a class in the AM" is not as great a payment for a kids athletic prowess as people on here tend to make it out to be.

Anonymous said...

Most people writing on here have no idea of how the CHL contracts work and they don't get the full answer because the players' CHL contracts have a clause in them that states that the contract is void if the player discusses it. Hence, no one knows what a player is getting in terms of $ or back-end scholarship other than his family or agent. So, I think its safer to assume that the players leaving the NCAA ar negotiating good deals for themselves. Also, if the NCAA wasn't in such a hurry to land a 9th or 10th grader to a verbal perhaps there would not be as many players bolting on them?

Anonymous said...

NCAA is a business so why would any of the departures be a surprise? In this country, people can break a contract at any time as long as the financial aspects are covered. IMO, if a student is more concerned about his education over his hockey development, then he should go D3 where school comes first. Oh, but wait, he has to pay if he goes D3.

Anonymous said...

Why is a player not allowed to discuss his own contract?

Anonymous said...

"Why is a player not allowed to discuss his own contract?

11:18 AM:"

Simple, in the OHL each player receives what is known as the "standard" contract that basically enures a year of tuition + books for every year paid (1st rounders are given residency cost as well). Players and their agents begin negotiations from this starting point. Thus a player who was drafted in the 3rd round but has 1st round talent or really develops and shows his worth in training camp often commands much more than the standard package.

This could cause hard feelings for the players who cannot receive more than the standard package. In short think of the basic package as the starting point or floor with the cieling often being what the player and agent can fanagle from the team.

Its not that much different in the NCAA. You have some full ride players, some 80% players, some 1/2 scholy players and walk ons who pay the full cost.

In short

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:38
How many games is a player required to play per season to get the year paid for?

Anonymous said...

As a BG fan for many years I was truly hoping Unice would come in and play for two years as he stated he would do after the NHL draft. I understand he signed for no money with Kitchner as well. He is from Toledo which is about 20 miles from Bowling Green and had committed to them two years ago, so he's somewhat a hometown boy so it make the disappointment even greater. I hope Eno goes on to prove Unice made a mistake and the Falcons go on and have a great year.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the fact that Kitchener is hosting the Memorial Cup this year might have a little to do with his decision?

Anonymous said...

Eddie Neville got busted for stealing alcohol from a local bar in February.