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06-11-2007, 03:51 AM
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Falconone's Avatar
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Location: Suburb of Boston MA
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Lemming like rush


The point that you and others make in comparing the various options for players is a good one in an intersting discussion. However, how would you frame your positions when adding in the huge upsurge in "pay as you go" junior programs across North America?

I swear there are more "P.A.Y.GO" Junior Leagues now in the USA than there were Teams 10-15 yrs ago. It is having a debilitating effect on New England HS hockey without the real benefit of improved development. This is in part due to the earlier explosion of P.A.Y.GO youth hockey development programs ( METRO, EHF, etc) that have conditioned parents to write checks to fund little "Johnny's" dreams.

Factor in the fact that few 15-16 yr. old (and maybe even 17 yr. old) players are mature enough physically and emotionally to handle the rigor of a junior hockey career and you get an opportunity for failure not only of a hockey career but of social, emotional and educational facets of an adolecent life.

Shouldn't there be some control in place that considers what is best for the players? One that takes into consideration a recommended player development model and the various existing 'options' and then provides the structure for players to succeed in.

Sure "P.A.Y.Go" Jnr. leagues evolved in the East so quickly as there wasn't a USHL or NAHL (or for those so inclined CHL) type option. That coupled with the aformentioned pre-conditioning of youth hockey and as Jackie Gleason would say "And Away we go". Nature abhor's a vacuum.

Perhaps a dictum from USA Hockey prohibiting signing of 15, 16 yr olds to USA sanctioned junior leagues would do the trick. I bet, for American born players (and maybe more than a few Canadian born ones too) that if the NCAA prohibited a scholarship offer to anyone who signed a junior hockey contract before his 17th (or even 18th ) birthdate, most of this stuff would 'go away'.

For those who really might benefit from a junior hockey career, the few hundred or so players each birth year, I'm sure that a combination of the improvement in HS programs (if kids aren't leaving these will be better) Fall hockey programs and off season tourney's will still provide ample development challenge. IF they still need (operative word is NEED) a more challenging rnvironment then there is always the CHL.

But hey, this is only my opinion, everyone has one.


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