When it comes to putting on the greatest junior level Showcase on ice, there's not a league on the planet that compares to the North American Hockey League.
From day one of their annual event in Blaine (MN) to Amarillo's Saturday's finale win over the United States National Team Development Program u17 Team, the event elevated itself will beyond the reach of all others.
NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld knows how to put on a show and has a knack for making every college (and National Hockey League) scout in attendance excited to be apart of the annual event.
There are a lot of pretenders that try to represent themselves as equals to the NAHL, when it comes to NCAA exposure (think Boston), but the reality is that the others don't even come close. The Tier I United States Hockey League should consider trying to get Frankenfeld to put on a similar event for them, or even better, combine both leagues into a single event. That's about the only way to make it even better.
In other news from Blaine...
There's going to be additional expansion for next season, and if recent additions are any indication, look for the newest team to hit the ground running. The name I'm hearing as the new team's first GM is an epic hire with tremendous experience at the professional level.
With a career full of mistakes and blunders, it appears that Minnesota Wilderness General Manager Dave Boitz relieving himself of the coaching responsibilities was the smartest move he's ever made. New bench boss Jon Vaillancourt looks like Scotty Bowman compared to the job Boitz did last season. All that pre-season talk about going after the Robbie came crashing down as Boitz steered the talented club to a fifth-place finish, missing the playoffs by thirteen points. If Vaillancourt can keep Boitz out of the locker room, it looks like the new coach can pick up where former Head Coach Tim Madsen left off the year before last. Yea, I know, that's a mighty big IF.
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