I'm not sure how many of you have been paying close attention to USA Hockey's Add/Drop lists, but there is a common trend of moving the same players on and off various teams' active roster.
How does the word development fit into this system?
USA Hockey needs to consider a number of changes to the system to prevent teams from retarding prospect development in this fashion.
Create a Waiver System
USA Hockey could easily add a Waiver List to the existing add/drop reports. Dropped players are initially added to the Waiver List. Interested teams, with empty roster slots, should be able to submit a claim for players on the list within a set amount of time, once the list is released. If more than one team is making such a claim, the team with the worst record is awarded the player. That team must absorb the transportation expenses needed to move the player to his new team.
If a player is dropped from the Tier I level, teams from the Tier I level have the first priority, than Tier II. Players must clear the waiver process before being traded or picked-up by a Tier III or pay-to-play league, this includes teams playing at the youth level.
Players should not be allowed to move back up until he has played five games or more at the lower level of play.
This concept would eliminate the practice of parking players on lower Tier rosters. Many of these players never actually report, creating a system that limits the prospects' options.
I have to believe that the creation of a waiver system would increase the over-all level of development of each effected player. It would also go a great distance towards creating more parity in the leagues.
Now, who wants to run this idea up the flag pole with USA Hockey's Junior Council?
Author: Stephen Heisler
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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