Sunday, June 08, 2008

Clarke Goes to Q

It was a bad sign when North Dakota recruit Garrett Clarke opted to attend the QMJHL Draft, as opposed to attending the Fargo Force Tryout Camp this weekend.

Today, according to Force head coach Dean Blais, Clarke will be signing with the Lewiston Maineiacs, who took him 6th overall in the draft yesterday.

Blais told the Grand Forks Herald:
“It’s disappointing for both us and UND. He committed to both of us. He went back up there (to Canada) and got caught up with all his buddies and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. Sometimes these guys get caught up in the draft and they forget the most important thing is an education. He basically backed out on his word.”
I'm not sure if I agree with the first half. Regardless of which route he chooses, he's talented enough that he has the opportunity to make it in hockey either way. But I completely agree about backing out on his word. It's incredibly disappointing to see a kid who basically spent the last 6 months lying to anyone that would listen.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

IMO, Blais shouldn't say anything about UND's loss. Just sounds kinda unprofessional on his part. Someone could portray that he might be pushing his players to go to UND.

Anonymous said...

and what would be wrong with a USHL coach encouraging a player to go to one of the best hockey colleges in the country??

Anonymous said...

its not his place to be commenting on a young mans choices. If he's upset with the kid why doesnt he talk with him rather than try and cut the kid down in the paper? Slightly unprofessional

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Toews backed out of a verbal commitment to the WHL's Tri City Americans to attend UND. Otherwise, the Ams would never have drafted him with the first pick of the Bantam draft that year

What comes around goes around.

Anonymous said...

Coaches recommending certain schools happens all the time, especially if they have ties to that school.
There's nothing wrong with that, ultimately it's up to the kid to pick where he wants to go.

Anonymous said...

""and what would be wrong with a USHL coach encouraging a player to go to one of the best hockey colleges in the country??""

Recruiting violation? Not sure if that pertains in this case because Blais isn't a UND alumni, don't know the actual rules on that though.

Anonymous said...

Blais is one to talk. He did some very unethical over recruiting and backing out on committments to players when he coached for the Sioux. This the pot calling the kettle black!

Anonymous said...

BooHoo! Welcome to the real world of hockey. Schools, coaches, programs, all back on their word everyday in the current state of recruiting players. Whenever a player decommits it is some kind of terrible, egotisitical blemish on his character. The reality of this is the players are figuring out the strategies of the recruiting game. Play both sides of the fence until you get what you feel is the best deal for your personal situation. Good for this kid and all the rest that " use the system for their benefit". As long as colleges commit to players at younger and younger ages these things are going to occur. Sorry about UND and all the other schools that lose recruits, but the sysytem is flawed.

SimonTemplar said...

Blais : He went back up there (to Canada) and got caught up with all """his buddies""" and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. ( CHL )

Oh those dastarly Evil Empire CHL guys too our kid.

Oh no wait, it was the influence from getting up their " with his buddies " that did it.

He lied, and did it for 6 months.

Today arriving in London are 4 high recruits visiting the London Knight's.

Adam Clendenning, Jarred Tinordi, Jared Knight and Chasen Balisy. The Hunters and media are prepared for their arrival with about 100 alumni and NHL players already in town.

The Blog world would melt if they all bolted north.

Actually I can see Balisy and Clendenning eventually landing up here. Clendenning best friend was London's first pick and worked out this weekend and should be here to greet his buddy arriving.

Oh no that buddies thing again.

Anonymous said...

Considering the "word" of a junior hockey coach is only good until they find the next best player - I have a real hard time with coaches making comments like Blais about a change in a decision....

Anonymous said...

Agree...very poor form to rip the kid and to have any mention of UND. It's bad enough to have sour grapes and take a swipe at a kid for spurning you team, but speaking on behalf of UND is way out of line.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Clarke committed to UND before Blais drafted him. All Blais said was that his team, and the college team Clarke verbally committed to were now going to be lacking a player. I think you're be pretty picky on pointing out issues to criticize. Are you saying Blais wouldn't have mentioned MN or Wisconsin had Clarke committed to them instead of UND?

Anonymous said...

I think if this kid was committed to Minnesota, Wisco, whoever Blais would've said the same thing. It's a tough loss for us and Wisco. People making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Anonymous said...

It seems more than a little unprofessional for a USHL coach to say, “It’s disappointing for both us and UND."

Blais should have spoken for Fargo and left Hakstol to speak for UND.

Anonymous said...

Was it Blais or Hakstool that left Beaverson high and dry after giving a kid their word?

Anonymous said...

I have said it before and I will say it again: college coaches (and now USHL coaches) (and those of you who constantly whine and complain on these forums) hold 15 to 17 year old kids to a higher standard than they hold themselves. What a bunch of hypocrites. How often do college coaches switch programs. This after recruiting and promising kids that they will be there for them through 4 years of college. Something better comes up and they are gone. Look at Miami, Denver, UND, Ohio, RPI, St Cloud, and on and on and on. They all had coaches leave after selling some kid on their program only to leave for another program. What a joke. Now when a kid decides to change his mind he's considered a bad person. Insert expetives here: $#&^(^(**^. Have any of you people changed your minds or made a chage in your life about: girlfreinds, jobs, areas of study? Didn't you promise her you would love her forever? How dissapointing of you to have the nerve to change your mind and do what's best for yourself and do what you want to do and not what some looser like Blais wants you to do. Get a grip people. Give these kids some respect to live their lives the way they want to and not the way some whinning coach wants them to.

Anonymous said...

This is the risk of banking on a 15yr old commitment. Lots of things can change over 3 years, this just happned to be right away. Best of luck to the kid, moves like this can really pay off. Look at Peter Mueller, it killed me that he didnt go to the UofM but who can argue with where he's at now...who knows where he would be if he ended up at the U.

Anonymous said...

Memo to Blais: Get your head out of your ass.

This isn't the first time a recruit changed his mind and it won't be the last. Yo Dean......not every kid wants to play hockey at North Dakota.

Anonymous said...

""Are you saying Blais wouldn't have mentioned MN or Wisconsin had Clarke committed to them instead of UND?""

Yes I honestly think he would have not mentioned UW or UM if that was the case. And it was Blais that took Beaverson's scholarship away.

Anonymous said...

Hakstol is not allowed by NCAA regulations to comment on Clarke.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone realize that the USHL produces as many if not more NHL draft than the QMJHL?

Anonymous said...

What is the difference when a NCAA asks a player that was recruited at 15 to defer for a year when he graduates from Grade 12? Or when a coach tells a 15 year old player that they will project as a 2nd line player or a Top 4 D in thier first year, but when they get there at 20-21 years old that isn't the case??

Folks, all of this is the reality of making early decisions on 14/15 year old players... you would think a coach would handle it with a little more class....

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone realize that the USHL produces as many if not more NHL draft than the QMJHL?"

Care to back that statement up? NO? Well allow me.

From the NHL CSB website

2007 Entry Draft QMJHL 25 USHL 21
2006 Entry Draft QMJHL 18 USHL 9
2005 Entry Draft QMJHL 23 USHL 13
2004 Entry Draft QMJHL 27 USHL 12

Note, this does not include numbers of European of Junior A players who were drafted and then went on to play in the QMJHL...had they been included the numbers would be even more lopsided for the Q.

Also of note, in all rankings for the current draft this June, the Q is far more represented than the USHL!

source http://centralscouting.nhl.com/csmenu.nsf/public?openframeset&login=1

Anonymous said...

The guy is a kid. Backing out on his word? Come on, give the guy a break. He made a decision, don't question the character of the guy. People have a change of heart all the time. This is just another example of that. This is coming from a college hockey fan!

Anonymous said...

Just read on the Sioux Falls Stampede web site that the WHL will not play any team from the USHL. That is too bad cause that would have been fun to watch. Wonder why they won't play the USHL.

Anonymous said...

VERBAL Commitments don't mean a darn thing and anybody new to sports at this level who thinks they do and puts too much stock in VERBALS needs a reality check.

Kids and coaches change their minds all the time with 2 or more years between the VERBAL and the actual signing of the letter of intent.

Its even natural for most kids who end up signing their letters and going the college route to second guess their decisions and mentally go back and forth between wanting to go NCAA or CHL.

Don't be fooled! NCAA Division I Hockey like Football, Basketball, etc. is not about education first, its big business especially hockey at a school like UND.

College coaches play games with recruits all the time and are salesmen and businessmen just like the CHL GM's, they just use the guise of education to make it seem like they are somehow more coddling and nurturing than their evil counterparts in the CHL.

For instance: Its common practice for coaches to tell a kid who VERBALLED thinking he was set to come in (for instance) for the 2008 freshman class off to 2009 or 2010 and have them play additional years of junior if the player isn't developing or if another player comes along who is better and the school wants to use the scholarship on that player instead.

This is oftentimes done in the hopes of forcing the player to go to another school (without actually giving the appearance of pulling the scholarship offer of course). Sometimes coaches might use the old bait and switch tactic and reduce and change the scholarship offer once the kid has VERBALLED and has his heart set on attending the school prior to the actual signing of the letter of intent.

On the flip side when college coaches ask for "VERBAL" commitments from 15 and 16 year old kids who will not step foot on their campus for 3-4 seasons they are playing with fire. This is especially true if the kid is a real high end talent like Garrett Clarke who is projects to be an NHL first round draft choice.

Colleges KNOW in advance that they are taking a gamble on these types of players and that for every one of these players that ends up at their school there will be one that decides to go to the CHL instead.

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with any kid who VERBALLY commits to a school and goes to the CHL instead. The kid is not breaking any laws and is not doing anything unethical. He has not signed a letter of commitment to go to the school. He has not changed his mind and chosen to go to another college (although even than I would argue there is nothing really wrong with that either). He is instead choosing to take is career in a completely different direction which he has every right to do without being publicly called out by those who disagree or are disappointed in his decision.

Those same college coaches would take another job at another college, junior, or pro team in a heartbeat if they thought it was a better career opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I think Blais would have been best off by simply saying no comment on it. Or at a minimum, he should only comment on how it was going to affect his own team. Beyond that, it does give off the impression of bias toward his old school. There is no way he would make similar remarks if this kid had been a Badger or a Gopher recruit.

I think that people should not be angry with the kid as much as the should be angry with the adults around him. What kind of a lessons are these adults teaching this kid when they use manipulation and lies to get what they want? What a sorry example these people set for the kid.

Anonymous said...

Come on now.....Do any of you think the kid made this decision??? Fact was Dad was playing the recruiting game the whole time. Won't be the first nor the last time.

Anonymous said...

Come on people!! At 15 years old he's caught up in the hype of UND, has a ton of offers from NCAA colleges to attend and he chose the Souix with strong advise from Blais and his coach, at the time, Herter (former Souix), then gets a ton of interest from the Q and ultimately changes his mind. Damn Him!! How could a 15 year old do this? We should hold this against him for the rest of his life. Blais and Hakstol should talk with their "buddies" and have him banned from any chance on going to levels beyond the Q.
The trials and tribulations of being a 15 year old in the world of hockey. From reading what is being said on this Blog and from what Blais said, looks like Clarke made the right decision. And if you read what the Q is saying, they really wanted him in their league and the Maineacs won the lottery on him. Great for him.

Anonymous said...

He better watch out, UND will send Joe Finley out to take a cheap shot at him, though he is not a mascot so I guess he doesn't have much to worry about.

Anonymous said...

""has a ton of offers from NCAA colleges to attend and he chose the Souix with strong advise from Blais and his coach, at the time,""

Sure about that? If Blais was in fact persuading Clarke to go to UND that would constitute a recruiting violation since Blais is a UND booster.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8:31PM said "I think that people should not be angry with the kid as much as the should be angry with the adults around him. What kind of a lessons are these adults teaching this kid when they use manipulation and lies to get what they want? What a sorry example these people set for the kid."

Dude are you serious? Its the complete opposite. This was a great example for the kid to learn at the start of his career. Welcome to the world of big time athletics. It isnt nice, it isnt fair, it is dog eat dog, and it is strictly business and you are nothing more than a marketable commodity. You use whatever leverage and do whatever you can to get what you want. The USHL teams, college coaches, CHL teams, pro teams, can say what they want but the truth is they treat it just like a business and the players should to.

The worst example for a kid to learn is that he is a pawn of the system.

Anonymous said...

Apparently anon 8:45 is not big on ethics. He probably worked in Enron's accounting department.

Advancing yourself by lying and manipulating is not the kind of lesson any parent with good morals should teach their kid. If anything, Clarke's situation is an example that parents should use when teaching their kids how NOT to be.

Anonymous said...

During the draft, Clarke hid in the portion of the arena where the zamboni is parked, until he heard his name called....While it's not all that uncommon for verbal commitment to be withdrawn, this situation is bizarre.

Anonymous said...

He better watch his back in the Q. I'm sure there are more than a few players who will want to prove something to Clarkie boy.

Anonymous said...

First of all blais didn't back out on the Beaverson. He simply wanted him to go to the USHL for a year and Luke didn't want to do so. So Luke went the opposite way. This happens all the time in college hockey! And as for you people who act like Dean is this terrible guy for saying all that stuff about Clarke. Wow! He stated that he "sort of backed out on his word." Oh my god the nerve he has saying that! Get a life.

hockeyfan42 said...

Blais didn't seem concerned about the UND education Clark would be losing. Aren't college coaches not allowed to speak with 15 year olds? So a kid and his family change their mind about going to a program where he didn't speak to the coach?

Lewiston is really the right choice for a Garrett Clark type of player. That is a player who could be NHL/AHL ready by age 20 and wants to pursue that career path. It has a proven track record in young player development and professional hockey preparation.

In each of the last four seasons, The Maineiacs have had a player drafted in the first round of the NHL draft (A. Picard, A. Bourret, J. Bernier and D. Perron). Two of those players were higher than third round picks in the Q entry draft.

David Perron was a 5th round pick in the Q draft on '06 and leapfrogged to a first round NHL pick in '07. He also stuck with the St Lous Blues all season in 07/08.

Also, based on the STANDARD education package available to every player in the Maineiacs organization, he will have enough cash to pay UND's tuition for four years with money to spare.

Anonymous said...

you actually think he would have had to pay tuition at UND? I think not

Anonymous said...

Those USHL draft numbers are wrong because you just counted the ones that were draft eligible when they in the USHL. Many players spent two or three years in then USHL and then were taken in their draft eligible year which was after their freshman season of college.

Anonymous said...

That's not the way Beaverson tells the story. Blais did recruit Luke and backed out AT THE LAST MINUTE, wanting him to play one more year of juniors (when he was clearly ready for the college level), because Blais over recruited. UAA was lucky to get him.

Blais also did some very unethical recruiting of players who had committed to other universities as well.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like some pretty big speculation. If your going to go around making accusations as big as that you'd better show some proof.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Beaverson's story with Blaiser was pretty well documented in media reports. His scholarship was pulled and pulled very late in the process. You can call it asking him to stay in the USHL another year, or you can call it what it was which was pulling a scholarship.

Anonymous said...

""Sorry but Beaverson's story with Blaiser was pretty well documented in media reports. His scholarship was pulled and pulled very late in the process""'

That is correct. Don't know if the uscho board goes that far, but you might find an archive of the story there. You also might skim the archives of ushr as well. Blais pulled it outright, it had nothing to do with spending another year in the USHL.