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The decline of the QMJHL

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11-19-2010, 09:47 PM
  #1
arrbez
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The decline of the QMJHL

I was watching the Canada-Russia Superseries last week and I noticed that the Q was once again losing to the Russians. In fairness, the Russians seem to have brought their "A" game this year, as they also beat the W twice and took Ontario to a shootout in one of the games.

I went and looked up the stats since the tournament's inception in 2003. The results for each league:

OHL: 16-0
WHL: 13-3
QMJHL: 9-7

Goals for and against:

OHL: 72-25
WHL: 73-33
QMJHL: 70-55


While the three leagues were pretty equal in terms of scoring, the Q lags way behind in terms of keeping the puck out of their own net. Which makes sense I guess, considering the lack of top-end talent the Q has produced on D and in goal over the last decade. The Canadian World Junior teams are a good resource too, as there usually only seems to be 3 or so QMJHL players on the roster each year.

I googled around a bit for more info, and found this link, which indicates that not only has the number of QMJHL players drafted stagnated since the 80's despite league expansion, but that less and less of the Q is actually made up of Quebec-born players every year.

In the last 5 drafts the OHL and WHL have produced nearly 40 first-rounders each, while the Q has produced just 10, with only 5 of them being from Quebec. The highest a QMJHL player has gone over that span is 7 (Voracek), and the highest a Quebec-born QMJHL player has gone is 11th (Bernier).

So what gives? the Q used to be goalie factory, but aside from Fleury and I guess Leclair really hasn't produced much of note in the 2000's. The trend of very few quality defensemen has continued from the 90's, and there really haven't been many (any?) superstar NHL forwards from the Q in the last decade (off the top of my head, Bergeron might be the best?). And highly-skilled finesse forwards used to be something you could always count on coming out of Quebec.

Any theories as to why the Q, and Quebec specifically, is lagging so far behind the other two Canadian junior leagues? Is it coaching? A decline in registered players? Internal league politics?


Last edited by arrbez: 11-19-2010 at 09:59 PM.
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11-19-2010, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrbez View Post
The trend of very few quality defensemen has continued from the 90's, and there really haven't been many (any?) superstar NHL forwards from the Q in the last decade (off the top of my head, Bergeron might be the best?). And highly-skilled finesse forwards used to be something you could always count on coming out of Quebec.

Any theories as to why the Q, and Quebec specifically, is lagging so far behind the other two Canadian junior leagues? Is it coaching? A decline in registered players? Internal league politics?
Crosby? Didnt he play for Rimouski?

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11-19-2010, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzothe7thDman View Post
Crosby? Didnt he play for Rimouski?
Yeah, sorry, I was thinking Quebec itself

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11-19-2010, 11:22 PM
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hockey quebec

end of thread

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11-19-2010, 11:36 PM
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Could it be that hockey has become so expensive that many parents just can't afford it?

But then we don't need to grow the game in Canada, do we?

Maybe we can petition Hockey Canada and Gary Bettman to give a few dollars to kids hockey in Quebec.

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11-19-2010, 11:37 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrbez View Post
I was watching the Canada-Russia Superseries last week and I noticed that the Q was once again losing to the Russians. In fairness, the Russians seem to have brought their "A" game this year, as they also beat the W twice and took Ontario to a shootout in one of the games.

I went and looked up the stats since the tournament's inception in 2003. The results for each league:

OHL: 16-0
WHL: 13-3
QMJHL: 9-7

Goals for and against:

OHL: 72-25
WHL: 73-33
QMJHL: 70-55


While the three leagues were pretty equal in terms of scoring, the Q lags way behind in terms of keeping the puck out of their own net. Which makes sense I guess, considering the lack of top-end talent the Q has produced on D and in goal over the last decade. The Canadian World Junior teams are a good resource too, as there usually only seems to be 3 or so QMJHL players on the roster each year.

I googled around a bit for more info, and found this link, which indicates that not only has the number of QMJHL players drafted stagnated since the 80's despite league expansion, but that less and less of the Q is actually made up of Quebec-born players every year.

In the last 5 drafts the OHL and WHL have produced nearly 40 first-rounders each, while the Q has produced just 10, with only 5 of them being from Quebec. The highest a QMJHL player has gone over that span is 7 (Voracek), and the highest a Quebec-born QMJHL player has gone is 11th (Bernier).

So what gives? the Q used to be goalie factory, but aside from Fleury and I guess Leclair really hasn't produced much of note in the 2000's. The trend of very few quality defensemen has continued from the 90's, and there really haven't been many (any?) superstar NHL forwards from the Q in the last decade (off the top of my head, Bergeron might be the best?). And highly-skilled finesse forwards used to be something you could always count on coming out of Quebec.

Any theories as to why the Q, and Quebec specifically, is lagging so far behind the other two Canadian junior leagues? Is it coaching? A decline in registered players? Internal league politics?
A few nitpicks:

-The highest drafted Q player and Québec-born player in the last 5 drafts is Derick Brassard at 6th.

-There's definitely been better players than Bergeron from the Q in the last decade, unless you meant drafted in the last decade, in which case Crosby would qualify (after that... maybe Hemsky or even Giroux at this point).

The Q has definitely had a bad decade. Still, even though the number of 1st rounders from the last 5 years has dropped, those that have been drafted have done relatively well (better than the 2000-2005 crop at least).

As for the explanation for the decline, I've heard a few reasons, including those you've mentioned. Unqualified minor hockey coaches, kids moving away from hockey, Hockey-Québec ignoring the development of elite players or being simply incompetent... But I'm not involved in minor hockey so I couldn't give you a definitive answer.

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11-20-2010, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SympathyForTheDevils View Post

-There's definitely been better players than Bergeron from the Q in the last decade, unless you meant drafted in the last decade, in which case Crosby would qualify (after that... maybe Hemsky or even Giroux at this point).
Yeah, I got my points mixed up on that one. I guess I was talking about Quebec in particular, and not just the Q. But I think it's telling that none of Crosby, Hemsky, or Giroux is from Quebec. In the last decade, Bergeron is perhaps the best Quebec-born skater I can think of off the top of my head. I guess you could argue for Bouchard, Vermette, Lombardi, Burrows, Letang, Vlasic, etc, but I think the point still stands as I wouldn't consider any of these guys to be true star players. I think the only Quebec-born player I'd consider a star over the last decade is American-raised Paul Stastny.


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11-20-2010, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
hockey quebec

end of thread
explain

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11-20-2010, 06:52 AM
  #9
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Winning only 1 of the last 10 Memorial Cups is a clearer sign of decline.

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11-20-2010, 07:54 AM
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Winning only 1 of the last 10 Memorial Cups is a clearer sign of decline.
It is? A QMJHL team has only won 2 cups every decade since the 70s.

2006 - Quebec Remparts
2000 - Rimouski Océanic
1997 - Hull Olympiques
1996 - Granby Prédateurs
1981 - Cornwall Royals
1980 - Cornwall Royals
1972 - Cornwall Royals
1971 - Quebec Remparts

Wouldn't say this is a big decline.

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11-20-2010, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by arrbez View Post
Any theories as to why the Q, and Quebec specifically, is lagging so far behind the other two Canadian junior leagues? Is it coaching? A decline in registered players? Internal league politics?
The Soviets always get to play Quebec first, when they're freshest. As they get tired, they move west and get beat up.

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11-20-2010, 08:33 AM
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It is? A QMJHL team has only won 2 cups every decade since the 70s.

Wouldn't say this is a big decline.
By that same reasoning the Q may simply always been poor against outside teams. The Russian team games don't show a decline either unless there's a history of play against Russian/outside teams to compare it with.

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11-20-2010, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
The Soviets always get to play Quebec first, when they're freshest. As they get tired, they move west and get beat up.
That could be true. But in 2003 the first games were in Ontario, which the OHL won by a combined score of 11-1. The middle set of games was against the Q, and the Russians won the first one.

I'm sure it's a grind for the Russian teams, but I can't imagine it accounts for the massive goals-against discrepancy when comparing the leagues. Quebec basically goes 50-50 vs. the Russians while Ontario is 16-0, giving up less than half as many goals. I can't imagine the difference between the second and third games of the series being that great.

But even if we ignore the SuperSeries, the signs are everywhere. Of the 700 or so skaters who have played an NHL game this season, just 41 are from Quebec. For comparison's sake, Ontario has over 150. Saskatchewan, with a population roughly 8 times smaller than Quebec's, has 46.

Does anyone with some knowledge of the Quebec minor hockey systems have some insight? Are the issues with the Q itself, or do they start at younger ages? I don't believe that the people of Quebec just don't like hockey as much. There must be some systemic issues going on.


Last edited by arrbez: 11-20-2010 at 03:27 PM.
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11-22-2010, 10:55 AM
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So nobody has any insight or theories as to what the problem is?

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11-22-2010, 11:13 AM
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Aren't players in Quebec not allowed to hit until the age of 16? If that's the case, there's one reason.

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11-22-2010, 11:17 AM
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So nobody has any insight or theories as to what the problem is?
People (that have better insight than me into the Q) I've talked to seems to think that the league has been destabalized by expansion.

Some of them also mentioned that the decline of goaltenders were because of Roy, or rather the lack of Roy. When Roy was in his prime lots of Q goalies wanted to be like him which inflated the goalie numbers in the Q which later declined.

But they don't really think it (the league) has declined either.

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11-22-2010, 11:29 AM
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Aren't players in Quebec not allowed to hit until the age of 16? If that's the case, there's one reason.
Until they reached bantam double letters. Which would be 13 I believe.

A few years ago before Hockey Quebec changes the ages it was 14. You'd see every once in a while a really talented kid jump from Pee-Wee AA to Midget AAA right away. Not only was it a big leap in terms of talent and speed and everything but also that kid had never played contact before.

Anyways, the province is against developing competitive players. A few years ago they removed Atome AA across the province because it was supposed to be bad for kids that age to be too competitive. At the same time they increased the amount of BB and CC teams. So instead of having talented kids play against other very talented kids. You ended up having really talented AA kids play CC because of a lcak of options play against kids not only inferior, but kids who had no business playing CC prior to all these changes .

For example, my hometown would usually send 3-4-5 players to the regional AA. Then there would be 17 kids BB we had our own BB program) and then local A and B.
Now what you see is 34 kids playing CC so about 10-15 that should really be playing A.

That ''new generation'' of kids is probably entering Midget AAA next year, so in a few years we'll see the effect of it in the Q


Last edited by jacklours: 11-22-2010 at 11:31 AM. Reason: I wrote that during lunch break and noticed it wasn't that well written. I just hope people can understand my point.
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11-22-2010, 11:56 AM
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remember the good old times in the 90s when granby and hull won back to back memorial cups

best nhl players from any of those teams are francis bouillon, colin white, and martin biron

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11-22-2010, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacklours View Post
Until they reached bantam double letters. Which would be 13 I believe.

A few years ago before Hockey Quebec changes the ages it was 14. You'd see every once in a while a really talented kid jump from Pee-Wee AA to Midget AAA right away. Not only was it a big leap in terms of talent and speed and everything but also that kid had never played contact before.

Anyways, the province is against developing competitive players. A few years ago they removed Atome AA across the province because it was supposed to be bad for kids that age to be too competitive. At the same time they increased the amount of BB and CC teams. So instead of having talented kids play against other very talented kids. You ended up having really talented AA kids play CC because of a lcak of options play against kids not only inferior, but kids who had no business playing CC prior to all these changes .

For example, my hometown would usually send 3-4-5 players to the regional AA. Then there would be 17 kids BB we had our own BB program) and then local A and B.
Now what you see is 34 kids playing CC so about 10-15 that should really be playing A.

That ''new generation'' of kids is probably entering Midget AAA next year, so in a few years we'll see the effect of it in the Q
Great stuff, thanks for the insight guys.

It sounds like it's a product of the youth system failing to nurture the elite talent properly. So you think things will be looking up again in a couple years as players from the old system graduate?

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11-24-2010, 11:52 AM
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Actually I believe it might be even worse since kids at a young age won't have played as much against tougher opponents. You don't learn anything playing with players below your hockey level.

The canadians U?? should be good indications. If we see more QC kids it will have paid off. However I don't see it.

From what I can see, it seems like the super raw talent kids still find a way to make it to the big league, while those who are borderline get tossed aside for WHL or OHL kids.

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11-24-2010, 06:59 PM
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Could it be that hockey has become so expensive that many parents just can't afford it?
But then we don't need to grow the game in Canada, do we?

Maybe we can petition Hockey Canada and Gary Bettman to give a few dollars to kids hockey in Quebec.

I think over the next few years you will see Canada on a whole get kicks to the groin when it comes to hockey

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11-25-2010, 05:44 AM
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Does anyone with some knowledge of the Quebec minor hockey systems have some insight? Are the issues with the Q itself, or do they start at younger ages? I don't believe that the people of Quebec just don't like hockey as much. There must be some systemic issues going on.
Without really knowing what's happening in Quebec, I wanted to give some more recent examples by looking into the 2009 draft. First off, from the article you linked to in the original post:

Quote:
Because of the restrictions, Quebec-born players looking to leave the “Q” are seeing an increase in the recommendations made by their family advisors to enter US hockey programs offered by high schools and college prep schools as a viable alternative to the “Q”. It should be noted that the same scenario is developing in the OHL and WHL though with far less impact due to their ability to each produce on average, twice the number of draft picks compared the QMJHL. It jumps to three to four times the amount if you focus on just Quebec-born players within the “Q”.

These days, Quebec-born players can actually increase their chances of being drafted out of the US, a surprising revelation that will be discussed in my next article. The costs are prohibitive to all but more affluent families unless they manage to have a significant portion of their education covered by scholarships.
Quebec/QMJHL players drafted in 2009:
Dmitri Kulikov, Russian import, highest drafted QMJHL player at #14.
Louis Leblanc, highest drafted Quebec-born player at #18. Played in the USHL in his draft year.
Jordan Caron, highest drafted Quebec-born QMJHL player at #25.
Philippe Paradis, drafted at #27.
Simon Després, drafted at #30.

Charles-Olivier Roussel, #42
Éric Gélinas, Ontario-born player, #54.
Andrej Nestrasil, Czech import, #75.
Nicolas Deslauriers, #84
Gleason Fournier, #90
David Savard, #94
Jean-Francois Berube, #95
Nick Petersen, #121
Mike Hoffman, Ontario-born player, #130.
Gabriel Bourque, #132
Olivier Roy, #133
Gabriel Dumont, #139
Nicola Riopel, #142
Dave Labrecque, #153
Ashton Bernard, Nova Scotia-born player, #174.
Steven Anthony, Nova Scotia-born player, #187.
Maxime Legault, #194
Benjamin Casavant, #205
David Gilbert, #209

If I missed someone or made any errors, feel free to correct me.

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11-25-2010, 11:05 AM
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Actually, I'd be interested to hear your experiences as a Swedish hockey fan. There was a period there where Sweden didn't seem to be producing any skilled players anymore. The early 90's core of Sundin, Forsberg, Lidstrom, Naslund, etc were still around, but there really wasn't anything in the way of new blood outside of the Sedin's (who took a long time to develop). But now it seems like Sweden is producing star-calibre talent again pretty regularly.

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11-25-2010, 11:28 AM
  #24
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Originally Posted by arrbez View Post
Actually, I'd be interested to hear your experiences as a Swedish hockey fan. There was a period there where Sweden didn't seem to be producing any skilled players anymore. The early 90's core of Sundin, Forsberg, Lidstrom, Naslund, etc were still around, but there really wasn't anything in the way of new blood outside of the Sedin's (who took a long time to develop). But now it seems like Sweden is producing star-calibre talent again pretty regularly.
Isn't the conventional wisdom that they stopped teaching skills and focused on systems. And the move back to skill development has paid dividends the past few years.

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11-25-2010, 11:32 AM
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Actually, I'd be interested to hear your experiences as a Swedish hockey fan. There was a period there where Sweden didn't seem to be producing any skilled players anymore. The early 90's core of Sundin, Forsberg, Lidstrom, Naslund, etc were still around, but there really wasn't anything in the way of new blood outside of the Sedin's (who took a long time to develop). But now it seems like Sweden is producing star-calibre talent again pretty regularly.
Yeah, that's when I thought when I watched the WJC during the years they had Christopher Heino-Lindberg as their starter...

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