MHL: Russian major junior hockey?
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08-22-2012, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Originally Posted by
By the way I want to clarify that it isnt asif the pyramid starts at MHL and there are no lower tier junior leagues like one might understand from IJK principle. It just works a little different.
Each MHL, VHL, and even non-KHL pyramid teams have something called Schools.
For example Spartak Moscow has its own school where it develops all the players and categorizes them by age. Usually, the best hockey schools play in the best regional leagues. There are many of those.
A player can be enrolled in one of the schools from the beginning and learn hockey, or be added later on as they get scouted. The classes are sorted by birth year.
As mentioned, the level of the hockey school determines the competitiveness of the league. Although its true that further than birth year and league, there are no other ratings (ex A, AA, AAA, junior C etc.) if a player is exceptional, he can be moved up by a birth year. ('96 born playing with the '95s)
Once a player reaches 17-18, he graduates from the school.
This is where the major Russian problem came in. Upon graduation, players were rarely ready to join the adult RSL(KHL) team this made many quit hockey and drained and wasted alot of youth potential. from 1990's to 2008, it was extremely difficult for 19 year olds to find a place to play, and due to the severe inconvenience, many would quit.
* there were RUS-3 leagues so players could get a spot, but those leagues were unorganized, regional, and ultimately players saw no real point/future in pursuing it around 20yrs old.
The creation of the MHL, the Major Junior counterpart the the CHL, effectively closed this gap.
Upon graduation from the school, a player can go to the same team's MHL club. From there he can try to make the KHL or VHL
In Canada, you have various organized leagues below the CHL level. As was stated above, there is no equivalent to Midget, Bantam, Pee Wee and so on in Russia. You just have the hockey schools. They play regional tournaments, but don't have ongoing league competition like you have in the younger age groups. This is a disadvantage for Russia in the sense that a smaller percentage of kids get the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and potential, although you could also say that the good hockey schools do a better job of teaching hockey skills than playing for a team coached by a volunteer dad. There is interest in Russia in expanding the range of hockey leagues to uncover and develop more talent, but I doubt if there is much interest in de-emphasizing the role of the hockey school.
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