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DAILY DISH: General No-No Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 14 Aug 2017  
By: Stephen Heisler, JuniorHockey.com


After years of complaining about programs operating outside of USA Hockey, Eugene Generals General Manager Flint Doungchak has found a way to have his cake and eat it too.

The Generals announced a schedule last week that includes a dozen games against United States Premier Hockey League teams at showcase events. In the same announcement, Eugene announced plans to play another 20 games against USA Hockey competition. These include dates against youth level midget and college club teams from the area.

Last season the Generals, along with the short-handed Tri-City Outlaws, Seattle Ravens, and West Sound Warriors sought the friendly arms of Richard Gallant and the USPHL after the Northern Pacific Hockey League fell apart under Doungchak leadership.

Eugene found themselves on the outside looking in again this off-season when the USPHL elected to leave USA Hockey, giving the Warriors and Ravens a good excuse to jump to the Western States Hockey League. Doungchak’s smear campaign against the WSHL a few years back forced a lawsuit that eventually led to the demise of the NPHL, so there was no way the Generals were going to be getting into the AAU league with Doungchak still running the show.

It was not too long ago when the Dallas Ice Jets eventually lost their USA Hockey charter for allowing their midget team to scrimmage their WSHL junior team. All players on the ice were insured through AAU, but that fact had little bearing on the Texas Amateur Hockey Association’s decision to yank the Ice Jets’ charter, shutting down one of the region’s most successful programs at the time.

I asked TAHA President Reggie Hall a general question over the weekend in an effort to help clarify the situation for today’s Dish.

“The issue of games against non-registered teams is one that has been addressed specifically by USA Hockey in the Annual Guide,” the TAHA president opened his response. “I have included the relevant passage for you here.”

Registered USA Hockey ice hockey teams shall not participate in games against nonregistered teams without prior written approval of the appropriate registrar. The district risk manager and district referee-in- chief shall receive a copy of such written approval. Violation of this rule shall subject the team to suspension by the appropriate affiliate. - USA HOCKEY Annual Guide (pages 146-147)

“In general, USAH and the Affiliates discourage such games because of the confusion that can occur over insurance coverage, playing rules, discipline; adherence to USAH guidelines on background checks, SafeSport, and compliance with certifications of coaches and officials,” Hall continued. “Of course, in some circumstances USAH may permit games against unregistered teams and the process for such exemptions are spelled out in the Guide. It doesn't happen often, and should never happen without agreement from USAH, but it can occur in special situations.”

So, let me get this straight… the only way the Generals can do this is to get USA Hockey to sign off on the scheme. So how are they going to register with USAH, Adult, Junior, or Youth?

And why would USA Hockey allow such a thing in the first place? I’m certain the Rocky Mountain Hockey League would have allowed Eugene to play within the league as an affiliate; there was no need to travel all the way to the east coast. In reality, I’m also certain that the North American 3 Hockey League would have entertained the same plan to help out a USA Hockey partner.

The easiest solution of all, simply play at the midget 18u level and call it a day. Obviously there are other motives, like rumors the USPHL is returning to USA Hockey a lot sooner than anyone wants to admit. There are other factors to consider, there is a real youth program operating within the home arena and its going to be difficult to sell tickets for what really is youth hockey.

Considering all the USPHL player poaching and toilet bowl talk aimed at USA Hockey programs, I find it downright infuriating that allowing the USPHL and Generals to do this is even being considered.

Regardless, wrong is wrong and the precedent is already set. I’m thinking Fred Seal, Paul Taylor and the other folks with the Dallas Ice Jets will be busy talking to the attorney today, and they should be.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

 

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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Author: Stephen Heisler from JuniorHockey.com
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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