The only solution is to flush the system and start over again... and we know that is never going to happen. What do I mean by flush? USA Hockey needs to strike the MEANINGFUL WORK loophole from the Tier III standards and becomes the entity that collects and disperses player fees.
posted Sep. 28th, 2012 - 8:15am
John Holt says:
Why would he go to Dubuque, he is from Mass? Any time a kid has the opportunity to play near his home he should. Especially if it is in one of the best Jr leagues in the USA. Being set with one of the best NCAA programs in the country, that is near your home, is more reason. The EJ is far from inferior? I would like to see some cross over games, and even a US National JR hockey cup. Where the best teams from the US JR hockey ranks would come together in 4 pools and compete. Putting an end to this name calling nonsense.
well stated John!!!
John & Bobby,
Not inferior? You guys are kidding right? USHL vs EJHL would be like the Boston Bruins against the Danbury Whalers...it's not even close.
Just because an EJHL team can poach a few players from the USHL and NAHL does not make it an elite product. Harris has six such players on his team, but still has 15-18 more that could not make an NAHL roster.
Do you REALLY believe that these elite players like Vatrano are paying to pay in the EJHL?
Now about that head-to-head competition, the last time it happened, the EJHL got beat and crawled into a shell and screamed, "we are not playing anymore." They did not get beat by NAHL or USHL team, they got beat by a Central States Hockey League team.
But just for giggles, and to mute some very loud mouths up in New England, why not let them play? There is a few holes in the schedule for a few cross-over games between the Hitmen and a few NAHL teams. Do you think the EJHL would like to put their money where their mouth is? That's what I thought.
Do you really think it is fair for Masters and Harris to get away with this crap while the other teams, like the Revs, have to try and compete against them?
What is the advantage of playing against an inferior opponent? NOTHING.
This smells like a huge pile of bear crap. The kid better hold on to receipts/cancelled checks because if Boston College is smart they will make sure to vet the kid before allowing him back on to the team (if he can make NCAA clearinghouse requirements).
Stephen- I agree with you that this situation should've never occurred. I can't believe that a kid playing for the NTDP wouldn't be able to make the academic requirements. The team has an academic mentor on staff, in my opinion it would make sense to either expand their role or hire a separate educational advisor to serve as the team's NCAA clearinghouse administrator.
posted Sep. 28th, 2012 - 12:23pm
John Holt says:
You know, I enjoy your blog here on Jr hockey. You guys post some very good things. I have a few things for you. One it doesnt matter if they are or are not paying, or this payment disparity, as long as the team can pay the bills is all that matters in the end. It is a business right, does it specifically state all players in tier III must pay the same equal share? Nope.
Take any of the top team Stephan, and yes I am sure the EJ's Top will come and play, and there is good reason as well that the U is looking to expand to the east. Its where the schools are, and the top players.
Now question, like I said I appreciate your blog, but I wonder. I really wonder just how many games your watching every year? Last year I was in personal attendance, at nearly 500 games. And watched over a duce on Fast Hockey. I know your in Mexico, and that being independent, and international limits your real exposure to the NA south.
I also feel like you spend way, way to much time whining about this or that when you could be doing so much more that is beneficial reporting on these athletes who giving their all to advance in their sport. Nothing is a bed of roses, and if you really look at Jr hockey and its purpose, especially that of USNDTP you too would have posted about the real issue. That being "How did a kid in USNDTP, USA hockey's show piece for scholar athletes, not meet clearing house in the first place?"
Then be happy he is near home in Boston which is home to over 50 higher education institutions and the most NCAA hockey teams with in 3 hours any where in the country. Where his EJ coach and staff and family will get his life and education right on track. Rather than riding endless bus rides to play a game. Because he like most will have the game taken away from him and need his education to live the dream and pass it on to the next generation.
No John, it says this:
No team scholarships/financial discounts shall be allowed to any individual player based upon his skill and ability or game performances, without that individual player performing meaningful, productive work in exchange therefore off the ice and away from team competition. See NCAA Division I Manual, By Law Article XII - Amateurism, Section12.1-General Regulations, Sub Section 12.1.1 - Amateur Status (a).
Pretty darn cut and dry I think. You just can't do it.
The fact that this site has a number of other writers that do exactly what you suggest I do is the reason I don't. My readers apparently like that I am not afraid to express an opinion, five days a week.
I'll be happy when all the leagues and team operate within the guidelines established for their level of play. If they don't like the rules, change them.
There is a word for teams that can't follow the rules...cheaters.
Just a thought here. while I agree all must play by the rules each situation must be looked at individually as to what works. This player was sent away to Ann Arbor to further his hockey career and get some education. Obviously the education part lacked as he could not pass the clearinghouse. What purpose would it be to send him away from home again just because he is good enough to play in the U. If he can never pass the clearinghouse he is never going to play for any college. In this instance doesn't make sense to pay for a year, close to home where the parents and his future University can help him become eligible? Remember these are still young men and all are not cut from the same cloth, some may need more guidance than others. Again his hockey ability is not the problem here so let's get him the help he needs to be able to continue his hockey career in college.
Certainly respect your opinion and find the blog to be a must read, as does everyone commenting or we would not be back to check each day. That said, just a few things I think are worth bringing up:
1.) I do not know whether or not Frank Vatrano is receiving a pass on payment to play in the EJHL. However, do we know why Frank Vatrano was dismissed from Boston College? Perhaps a year at home is a better situation to rectify the situation rather than going out to Dubuque and living on his own. I do not know what happened, but just something I would certainly consider in evaluating his decision. Perhaps there is some needed structure in Boston that would not be present in Dubuque. As such, this situation in my opinion is far different from some of the other situations highlighted given the circumstances.
2.) As someone touched on, if it was indeed an academic issue, there is no denying that there are far more resources in the Boston area to fix this problem than there would be in Iowa. Also, perhaps he is working with another Boston area school on the time sensitive issue of getting enrolled for 2nd semester. There's no arguing that to accomplish this, it is probably far more beneficial to be located in Boston.
3.) A CSHL team beat an EJHL team under a handful of times, right? The CSHL, nor the WSHL, NA3HL, AWHL, or AJHL can hold a candle to the EJHL. A majority of these players are EJHL cuts. Yes, other tier 3 leagues have beat EJHL teams a very few times at the end of the year when there isn't much to play for in EJHL teams eyes. I can not prove any instances where EJHL teams have given free rides. But, I do know of some players who have paid full boat in the EJHL and received a Div 1 commitment. This simply does not happen in the WSHL, NA3HL, or the other Tier 3 leagues - except the AJHL from time to time. EJHL players play for big time Division 1 commitments, not a Tier 3 national title. Do I agree with that mentality of not having much to play for? No. I'd give anything to go back and be a young player and play every game like it was my very last. But, the reality is that is how some EJHL players view the situation. No one regards the other Tier 3 leagues as highly as the EJHL and for good reason. NHL and NCAA D1 scouts are regularly present at EJHL games and it is merited due to the high level of play. Do we think NHL and NCAA scouts completely missing the boat? The players they recruit out of the EJ seem to be doing quite well. Do we honestly think that NHL teams, ECAC and Hockey East schools should shift their recruiting efforts to the NA3? Robert Morris NCAA D1 previously lost to Penn State ACHA D1 awhile back. I know we can all agree that NCAA Div 1 Hockey is superior to the hockey offered at the ACHA level.
Just my two cents.
If you, or anyone else, feels that this player is going to pay to play for Masters, I have some land available on the moon for sale as well.
posted Sep. 28th, 2012 - 3:10pm
John Holt says:
To Mr. Heisler:
So which EJHL teams have documented that player is x discount because of Y performance reason? Remember you need hard evidence. Further it does not say that all players must pay equal shares, anywhere. Cheaters, you can not say that whey they are operating with in the rules, and untill such time as a case goes against this legal operational procedure, it will continue as it is with guidelines.
So how many games did you attend last year?
What does it cost a kid to be on your A list. Because if you are receiving financial gain to promoting said players its a violation of NCAA Agent rules.
Actually John, if Stephen is getting paid to promote those players and every player is paying the same amount then the player is simply paying for marketing himself. Its no different than a player paying Kinkos to print of his resume for distribution. An Agent under NCAA rules works for future earnings and that is where the improper benefit lies. If the player were being paid by Stpehen he would be receiving an improper benefit. If the player receives preferential treatment in the form of a financial discount it is an improper benefit. Consult your local NCAA Compliance officer for clarity.
You are mistaken. There is no need for hard evidence that a kid was given anything for their performance. The only thing that matters is that they were given a discount or played for free. It could be a bench warmer who was given a freebee because he's the coach's cousin. If the NCAA finds that an athlete receives inappropriate compensation, the athletes amateur status could be in question and they could be disallowed from the NCAA.
I don't know if any of Heisler's allegations are true or not and I've never seen an EJHL game. I don't care about how many D1 commits came from the EJ 25 years ago, I was in Blaine watching the NAHL a few weeks ago and I like the chances for my son to be seen by just about all the D1 scouts in the nation. I don't care who's dog is bigger, who could beat who or how far anyone can piss. What will matter is if/when a top prospect heading to an uppercrust school on the east coast is rejected by the NCAA because of his amateur status or lack thereof.
If my student athlete was part of any Tier 3 progam, I would keep everything documenting my payments because if there is any truth to this, sooner or later, the hammer will fall.
I hope that your son finds success in obtaining an NCAA scholarship this season, as many do in the EJHL each and every season - not "25 years ago".
Hey Stephen, did it ever occur to you that some families are wealthy enough to be able to afford the costs of the EJ? Do you know how much money Vatrano's mom and dad make a year. If Vatrano's dad makes 250k per year, what the hell does he have to lose by giving 8k to the jr. bruins? Nothing, because he can AFFORD it. And he gets to watch his kid play in front of him for another year while he is the stud on his team. Yes, some kids have played for free in the past. But don't make accusations if all you have for evidence is that the kid is "good."
There are a lot of "if's" in there.
I've polled 20 different junior coaches today on the subject... 20 of 20 are saying that the kid, and others are not paying a thing.
Hey Stephen I polled 20 different anonymous tranvestites, and 20 out of 20 said you're really a woman. See how that logic works...
Actually there were 2 "ifs," and one of them was referring to you and not the situation. But do you know how much Vatranos parents make? How about Jordan Masters? Or Eric Sade? The EJ commits more players D-1 players per team than the NAHL. That is a fact. If you have the money to play in the EJ, why wouldn't you choose to play there...
Do you want to solve this issue? Send an *auditor* to all these teams and have them open up their books. Audit each team and determine the findings. If you do this once a year, every year, you will keep teams honest, or at least close to honest.
Sending up smoke signals doesn`t help anything, because you can`t find the fire. Even if you find the fire, will it matter?
You know 20 trannys? That explains a lot.
The USHL is the boss. Everyone, including the EJHL knows that. However if you ask me what league im sending my son to play in if it isnt the USHL, it sure is gonna be the EJHL even if I have to pay. If Vatrano isnt gonna play in the USHL then the next best thing is the EJHL. Only you seem to think otherwise. You claim to get phone calls and talk to coaches and owners who all complain about the EJHL and this and that. Prove it. Post an article or an interview with someone backing your claims. Put your money where your mouth is. You sure can accuse alot of people of wrong doing yet you have nothing except "alleged" phone calls and emails to back it up. What are your hockey credentials Stephen?
Why don't you just get on the phone and call John Vanbiesbrouck and ask him if he has heard any accusations.
Your next call can be to Marc Boxer.
The complaints are not only from everybody outside of the EJHL, they often come from within. I really can't blame them.
Do you feel it is really fair for a few teams to beat up on the rest, year after year only because they are somehow miraculously able to attract veteran players from higher levels of play? Veteran players that could be playing elsewhere for free?
My credentials? I broke my nose going through the glass ceiling to establish this site. I brought on key partners, writers, and advertisers to help grow the site to the point it is now.
I took my own successes (and failures) from the Anchorage (now Alaska) Aces,Pacific Hockey League, Alaska Arctic Ice, Alaska Division of the Western States Hockey League, Peninsula Hellfighters, Florida Gulls, Southern Elite Hockey League, Texarkana Bandits, and even the Gulf Coast Hockey League and applied it as content for this site.
Enough about me...what about the situation?
On Monday we are going to talk about all the Empire Hockey League veterans that have stepped up to EJHL rosters this season.
I have read a lot of your articles and I find a lot of them to be very informative and interesting. But I think its time that you start backing up at least some of your accusations with hard evidence. I read your article that listed players, in your mind, that were not paying to play in the EJHL because they were on NAHL rosters last year. I play in the EJHL and I played in the NAHL last year, my parents pay for me to play out here for the highly increased visibility. I spoke with 2 coaches all of last year, while here I have spoken with 6 DIII coaches and 2 DI coaches; to me, and more importantly my parents, the costs are a good investement for my future. You accused a good number of my teammates as well and I talked with every single one of them named in your article, each one of them told me that their parents are paying full dues to play here. Before you say "do you really believe them" or "who are you going to believe more" I trust all of them and what they tell me more than somebody who sits at his computer and makes unbased, sweeping accusations about a whole league.
Anybody hear about potnetial EJ-Midwest with a Cleveland team, several Michigan teams? I imagine it will be similar to the EJ -South?
This expansion would seeem to be a direct attack on the NAHL. Is the pay to play model going to take over junior hockey in the US?
Here is that article...
...and do not have a problem openly questioning the choice to go to the EJHL.
"...unbased, sweeping accusations about a whole league."
These same exact allegations have been discussed for years and it is the worst kept secret in the game.
Do you believe Mark Frankenfeld and the rest of the NAHL board of governors that grilled Boxer and Vanbiesbrouck over the exact same issue at the NAHL Showcase?
Stephen, if a player is not paying to play when the league requires the players to pay to play, does that in a way turn the player into a professional? In theory the player was enticed to play for a financial gift. Not to mention, that if the player decided to play in the Q, he would get to play at the highest level of Junior Hockey, he will have time to mature and is eligible for a superior educational package upon completion of his junior career.
If the player does not have the skills to go further in his hockey career after playing junior and if he does not have the academic skills to further himself at the university level, the Canadian education package allows the player to pursue a a blue collar trade type of education.
@John Holt, it is clear that Stephen cannot get to as many games live in Mexico, but I have been reading his columns for quite a while. It is clear that Stephen watches many games via television, over the internet and through other means. He also is very well connected and understands the game well.
You may watch 500 plus games per year, but honestly, do you even understand the basics about player evaluation?
Just my two cents.
I'm not going to get in to my thoughts about Frankenfeld and the rest of the NAHL BoG, but no I don't necessarily believe everything they say. But when my team had one of the most listed players on that list, and not a single one of them did what you said, it makes me wary to believe many of the other players are guilty. I don't doubt that it has happened in the past, or maybe a very, very few cases still (1 or 2, maybe 3) happen in the league. But when you have the influence you do on the many readers of your website, I believe that you also must have the responsibility to respect the players and not just throw their names in the dirt because you have a hunch.
@ Dave, Yes, if a player receives financial benefit for his playing ability he is considered professional. Thats not to say that if the player received some small gifts from the team that the other players were eligable to receive that he would be considered professional. But if a player does not have to pay 8K to play based on his ability, he is then essentially being paid 8K to play the season which is more than most Major Junior players receive on the books. Thats how the NCAA is looking at these instances.
posted Sep. 30th, 2012 - 7:21pm
John Holt says:
Bill the EJ was founded in 93, and has consistently had proportional numbers of placements, and in recent times to "better" institutions. You may construe that in terms of education and hockey. It is easy to review and scope out the final destinations of NA players, and EJ. Ej Showcases share equal numbers of scout representation and faired better.
Again if the EJ was violating the rules as interpreted, there would have been action taken.
Stephen needs to spend some time in the rinks, shale we mail the cheese to Pensico, care of a displaced hockey fan.
I spend a minimum of 50 hours a week staying connected to the game.
My contacts run from Fairbanks to Miami and San Diego to the Maritimes.
There may be a few, but not many, that do what I do at this level of play.
The problem is that many folks have their eye on a single region or league where I have to keep the big picture in perspective.
That is my problem with the EJHL, the league throws the system off balance with their antics.
Somebody is going to split New England. At this point I think that Mark Frankenfeld and the NAHL have the inside edge. If what happened in Johnstown on Saturday is any indication, the NAHL brand can sufficiently replace low-level minor-professional hockey in many Atlantic markets. That includes New England.
Look for that exact scenario to play itself out over the next few months when current minor-professional teams get a peek at Johnstown's books.
You say "that is how the NCAA is looking at these instances" and I am curious to know of players that have been barred from playing on NCAA teams following playing for EJHL teams.
Is this something that has happened, or is it something that could and folks are pointing out so others are wary?
Admittedly I don't know anything about this.
@ John, I am aware of NCAA looking into current allegations and those that have been made within the last three years or so since this has become a hot topic. I am also aware of a few players who have been caught, and have had to give up their scholarships and pay to attend school as a sanction. I am aware of two players who were released from their teams when this was discovered within the last few years, those players were said to have been released due to academic reasons. Schools and the NCAA have been very forgiving to most players since most players were not aware that this is a problem. That time for forgiveness has now passed. Any player at Tier III, no matter what the league, needs to save every receipt and cancelled check. More than one league and team is being looked at for "scholarshiping" players. If you do not have a paper trail and there is suspicion, you will face an investigation.
Thanks Joe. These stories are not widely known. The NCAA is a small organization with a tiny enforcment arm. It's gotta be hard to administer so many sports.
Do not blame USA Hockey or the NTDP for Vatrano’s problems with the NCAA.
The kid hired someone to take his SATs for him and when caught failed to reach BC’s qualifications. He waited out his ineligibility with the Jr Bruins and will play for UMass when he becomes eligible again (Jan '13). He can play hockey but he’s a piece of work. Scouts are sour on him and his family for the stunt he tried to pull. He will still find his place but he blew some major opportunities by cheating.
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