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DAILY DISH: Tier II Rankings? Cut the BS Junior Hockey News

Published: Friday, 6 Jan 2017  
By: Stephen Heisler,

Before I say what’s about to be said let’s get this out of the way. (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 leagues? 

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 turnovers.”

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 runner-up slot.

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.

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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