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DAILY DISH: USPHL-NAHL Showdown? Yea Right Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 5 Dec 2016  
By: Stephen Heisler,

I have one very specific message for the United States Premier Hockey League, the North American Hockey League and the rest of USA Hockey’s Junior Council. Get over yourselves already.

Everybody is all up in arms and lawyered up over an absolute ridicules issue, tier labeling. Here’s the newsflash, the label is irrelevant. Obviously, so are tier standards, but let’s save that battle for another day.

The open market system allows brands like Tesla to compete with General Motors and Ford without the government telling the consumer that any specific brand is better than the other. Maybe if USA Hockey spent more time worrying about insurance coverage instead of trying to determine which league partner or the other not to piss off, we would not be in this mess.

The consumer really does not care. Value is perceived. Since the concept of a National Championship has been completely diluted to a point of laughter at all levels of play across USA Hockey’s platform, and junior hockey does not even bother anymore, we should go ahead and eliminate the tier structure for junior as well.

Seriously, what’s the point, to educate the market? The kids know more about what they want than anyone on the junior council.

Branding is everything. The top leagues have all put a tremendous emphasis on branding, to a point where the market obviously knows what brand does what and for who.

The USHL is free across the board. NAHL players have to cover billet expenses and get less perks. The USPHL is all over the board. The fact is that there are already free-to-play opportunities at all three tiers. With so many teams on the ice, the better players have the ability to negotiate any fees, and have been doing so for twenty years.

Let’s just end the charade. If the USPHL Super Premier wants to take out the player fee, that’s their business decision. If they decide to charge every other player in the system more to cover that cost, it’s up to the players to determine if the league(s) still presents adequate value in exchange for the added cost.

The leagues should be the entity policing their own standards because we are all too well aware that USA Hockey will never do it.

Enough already.  I'm going to the beach. Let me know when we go back to Junior A, B, C, D.....


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 and his family spend most of their time in Florida.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
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 Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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