Finns in U.S. College
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02-19-2004, 05:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Originally Posted by
How does it work? I mean, take Kaltiainen for instance, he played in SM-Liiga before coming to the NCAA. It's a pro league.
No Finnish player mentioned in this thread has been an SM-Liiga regular before moving to the NCAA. In fact, I think none of the Finns currently there has ever played a single SM-Liiga game. They all left for North America as Jr.A players or second tier semi-pros. The best immediate success had by a Finn after college (in the last ten years or so) is by Toni Söderholm, who was the SM-Liiga rookie of the year at the age of 24 last season.
I dug up a couple of articles (JKL 6/02 and 1/03 for those interested) about Finnish collegiates, but the actual process of moving overseas was ignored. It seemed that pretty much everybody were on partial scholarships.
NCAA is the weaker league because the talent is spread so thin and due to the nature of the league, there are hardly any veterans to speak of. As the age distributions of other leagues indicate, they are the best players. For example, out of the top 25 scorers in SM-Liiga only three are NHL prospects.
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