Before I say what’s about to be said let’s get this out of the way.
JuniorHockey.com (and .ca) has contractual agreements with the North American
Hockey League, British Columbia Hockey League, Canadian Junior Hockey League,
and Western States Hockey League.
Over the past twelve months I have seen an extensive number of games
from all of the above leagues, both live and on video, and can say without any
doubt that the bottom five teams from both the NAHL and BCHL would have their
way with any of the top five teams of the WSHL.
Since teams from the WSHL and other leagues can’t play each other,
let’s take a good look at the next best thing…players.
There are several Heisler Hockey Group players that have had
opportunities within the BCHL, CJHL, and NAHL this season but for one reason or
another, were unable to win a roster spot. Some of those guys are now everyday
players within the WSHL. On the flip side, we have moved players from the WSHL
to both the NAHL and CJHL. What do those guys say about the comparison of
One player spent considerable time with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express
this fall and played against Springfield, Casper, and Colorado at the WSHL’s
Showcase in Las Vegas.
“I do not think that Springfield's defenseman could keep up with
Coquitlam's speed up front,” the player said of the two teams. “If those two
teams played a game, the BCHL team wins 6-2 if Coquitlam had a couple of bad
What about the other teams?
“I believe Coquitlam would have had the hardest time with Colorado,
although I still believe that Coquitlam would win,” he concluded.
Trying to say that ANY WSHL team is better than a BCHL team is simply
foolishness. It’s irrational and ridicules for anyone to state otherwise, so
why would they? When all else fails, follow the money.
For example, how subjective would a McDonald’s executive be while
ranking competitors with his own brand among fast-food establishments?
The LAST thing any player should ever do is allow such foolishness to
influence decisions in regards to the best leagues to play in. Players have to
research every option and decide what’s the best opportunity for themselves.
With that said, I’ll chime in with this VERY general statement.
The USHL tops my list as the World’s best opportunity for college bound
hockey players. It is also my opinion that the BCHL edges out the NAHL for the
The Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba leagues provide an overall
better developmental opportunity than the rest of the CJHL, WSHL, United States
Premier Hockey League, and Eastern Hockey League.
That dividing mark (between Manitoba and Ontario…) is just about where
the money flow reverses as well. Aside from the Maritimes, every remaining
league is operating with some type of pay-to-play model.
Blindly poll every CJHL, USHL, NAHL, and WSHL coach and I’m certain you
would find that 95% of them are in full agreement with my thoughts.
In other words, just cut the BS.
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.
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