The fireworks come to Colorado Springs a month early
every year when the powers of USA Hockey make their way to town for the Annual
The Junior Council, led by John Vanbiesbrouck, is
likely the smallest group in the last 25 years. This situation has eliminated
the need for tier caucuses with really only four leagues remaining.
Now that the United States Premier Hockey League
has left the building, the usual fireworks should be little more than backyard sparklers.
There are still a few issues to sort out
so let’s take a quick look at the biggies.
I think it’s pretty fair to say that there are
plenty of players to go around so we can eliminate the need to protect one
league another. Everybody knows that the United States Hockey League is the
king of the hill, the North American Hockey League is generally considered the
next step on that list.
What I’m trying to wrap my head around is the reason
to keep United States based Canadian Junior Hockey League teams from having the
ability to have Affiliated Players.
The last time I looked, these teams are also in the
business of developing prospects while under the direction of USA Hockey. The
only reasons anybody on the council would be against this are purely about the
fear of competition. Let’s take this one step further; the issue is not the US
based teams of the Superior International Junior Hockey League or even the
Buffalo Sabres, it’s all about the British Columbia Hockey League’s Wenatchee
If that’s the case, the issue is also a personal
one. I find it hard to comprehend that the powers that make up the junior
council, and the USA Hockey Board of Directors, are going to continue to deny great
developmental opportunities in an effort to reduce the number of players that
get to experience the environment that is junior hockey in Wenatchee.
The 10,000 Pound
Elephant NOT in the Room
Yes folks, the USPHL has left the building. They
are also leaving a wake of debris on the way out the door.
Aside from an apparent organized effort to absolutely
confuse the markets, the group is telling any and every one that the exodus is
only temporary and that USA Hockey will be begging for the group to come back
under the umbrella.
I don’t think so.
When coaches like Jeff Worlton and Butch Kowalka
are able to land jobs in the league, after causing the NAHL and NA3HL so much embarrassment,
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the USPHL is going to be on the outside to
There are other indicators as well. When the threat
of lawsuits is the only way to force reluctant clubs from even exploring the
option of remaining in USA Hockey, it’s pretty safe to assume they are never
Good riddance. Now watch, I’ll probably get sued
for voicing the opinion.
Now only if we can keep the junior council from going
into executive session every time we walk into the room, maybe we can keep you
all updated on this progress this week. It should be fun!
Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working as
a consultant with individual teams, coaches, and players with the Heisler
Hockey Group. When not on the road, Stephen and his family spend most of their
time at home in Orlando, Florida.
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