Hockey fans we have a problem. Maybe it is just too much sun, the fact that we are in the game's off season, or that Maria and the kids are at the ranch, but the weekdays are starting to get confused with the weekends. It still feels like a Sunday here at the beach.
Had a discussion on Monday with Randy Russon, he lives on the red and white side of Sault Ste. Marie ( we now refer to these talks as a two-line pass), and he is complaining that all the sun and surf is making the Dish a bit on the soft-side. Well, I had to add a few more jalapenos to the diet to try and maintain the balance.
There are a few things that will always raise my irritation level, and one of them is...
I am suppose to be trying to get along with Marky Mark but it is now very apparent that he also has USA Hockey's Junior Council in his pocket. This is what I am getting out of the meetings, commissioners exist to protect their owners, owners can do whatever the heck they want to do, and USA Hockey wants to sweep every issue under the rug. Just how did Thom Brigl come out of the meetings with both his wallet and backside intact?
Eastern Junior Hockey League
The USHL is coming, the USHL is coming. The EJHL's business model, as we know it, is in serious jeopardy. There is only one way for the EJHL to come out of this with their collective heads, and that is to fold the tents and support the USHL, and even the NAHL, teams in the area. The other key factor is their youth programs as a feeder to the higher level leagues. If the EJHL cannot do a better job of policing themselves, look for the league to eventually just fall by the wayside as the USHL and NAHL come through.
Like Thom Brigl, the EJHL came out of Colorado Springs unscathed but warned; if the NCAA starts pointing fingers, USA Hockey is going to have to react.
Was last seen at the front desk of some hotel in Ontario...we are sure that his daydream of being a respected hockey executive continues.
Authorities within the structure of Central Hockey League and AAU are telling us that everything looks great for the new junior league to launch for the 2013-2014 season. The CHL has taken a few hits recently with the loss of Laredo, Evansville, Ft Wayne, and Dayton. Meanwhile a number of CHL teams have elected to add AAU junior teams to their organizations. The CH1L has taken on a lot of interest in recent months and we expect to see some type of official movement from the CHL quickly.
One of my old stomping grounds is back on the junior hockey radar as a potential market. The issues that plagued the Texarkana Bandits are still there, but it appears that a new group has decided to pursue the market. The Bandits biggest problem as a junior team was the lack of a adequate practice facility. That issue was compounded by the high number of players that were attending high school or college classes. The new group would not accept undergrads and would schedule themselves to be out of town during those type of schedule conflicts. The discussions also includes another new team in Bossier City.
Los Angeles Kings
Tap the sticks for the Kings for capturing their first Stanley Cup. Founded in 1967, the Kings rolled over the New Jersey Devils 6-1. Goalie Jonathan Quick nabbed the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP.
Personally, I feel this is great news for the game. The significance of the Kings being the first #8 seed to raise the cup goes beyond measure when there are so many strong players coming out of talent rich California.
I expect to see new Los Angeles Jr Kings and Anaheim Jr Ducks franchises in the North American Hockey League by 2013-2014.
Checkmate hockey and JuniorHockey.com have teamed up to drastically change the way prospects are identified and evaluated. One of the key elements is to host free evaluation events in markets around the country. The next event is scheduled for Trenton, Michigan's Kennedy Ice Arena on June 22-24. This is an excellent opportunity for junior prospects to get a fair evaluation of their abilities while being seen by participating coaches from teams across the United States and Canada. For more info http://checkmatehockeycamps.com
What do you think?
Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico with his wife, Maria, and their two children, Sonia and Tomas. Friend him on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/stephen.heisler for more information and pictures from Mexico.