Has USA Hockey
inspired the National Collegiate Athletic Association into keeping players from
the Canadian Hockey League ineligible for NCAA competition?
NCAA rules in
regards to hockey oppose those that protect minors. While the law generally
protects minors from himself, his immaturity, and against other people, the
NCAA holds minors accountable for decisions they make as early teens. The
amateur standards for hockey are the opposite with the standards of law.
Is Major Junior Professional Hockey?
The answer is
no. The leagues deny that they are professional hockey and present themselves
as amateurs. Players receive a modest monthly stipend for spending money that
they would otherwise collect from part-time jobs. The standard is $35 a week
for sixteen and seventeen year-olds, $50 for eighteen year-olds, $60 for
nineteen year-olds, and as much as $150 for twenty year-olds.
noticeable difference between what the Canadian Hockey League and the United
States Hockey League is the stipend. USHL
players are permitted to use part-time jobs during the season to earn spending
money. One would think that situation would fall under as much scrutiny as the team
supplied stipend. Did the USHL player obtain the job opportunity because he
plays for the local team or was it obtained because of an particular skill set
for doing the job?
the major junior leagues are giving young players more time to concentrate on
academics while the USHL is adding the extra pressure of a part-time job to the
I can't help
but think that the USHL system is subject to more abuse than that of the CHL.
Having players work jobs in the same community as they are playing in could
certainly become a problem.
similarities between major junior and minor professional hockey end after length
of the season and games played. Major junior players have minimal
responsibilities, no expenses and are dependent on the team and billet family.
In contrast, professional players live alone, with a teammate, or with their
own family. They are responsible for their own bills, do their own shopping and
cooking. Players at the professional level are able to earn enough money to
provide for themselves and others. Many major junior players are still in
school while professionals play hockey as a full-time job.
Why does the NCAA Determine Amateurism
on a Sport by Sport Basis?
regulations allow an individual to play professionally in one sport and to maintain
eligibility in another. Many minor professional baseball players have gone on
to play college football. It certainly does not make sense to allow an adult athlete
to collect millions of dollars from baseball to play football as an amateur
while preventing minors who have collected slightly more than fast-food money
from playing their sport at the college level. The NCAA is telling that minor
age player, "you made a choice now live with it," while allowing a twenty-eight
year old to win the Heisman Trophy (Chris Heinke) after six years of playing professional
Who's to Blame?
It's the entire
system. From the National Hockey League to the NCAA. The NHL likes to sign
players and return them to the major junior team. The NCAA equates this to
feces in the punch bowl, and that the entire league is tainted. That's for
hockey. At the same time, college players can play in pro-am golf and tennis
tournaments, Division I soccer players compete against professional players and
teams with club programs every summer. Why is it so much different for hockey?
Let's face it;
USA Hockey is heavily influencing the NCAA's position. The issue is more about
protecting the USHL than it is about punishing kids for getting hamburger money.
If CHL players were eligible for NCAA Division I hockey there would be a lot fewer
opportunities for American players.
It would make
much more sense to lock both schools and players into four-year agreements. If
a player agrees to play for a school and wants to withdraw after two-years, he
should be financially responsible for all expenses leading up until his
departure. At the same time, the school needs to be responsible for all
educational expenses for that same duration, regardless if the player makes the
team or not. This should apply to all NCAA sports.
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Hockey Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida
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