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Daily Dish: Time for the IIHF to Crush the Cockroach? Junior Hockey News

Published: Wednesday, 22 Apr 2020  
By: Stephen Heisler,

When it comes to cockroaches, you can’t be too careful. If you see one darting under your fridge or scuttling across a baseboard, don’t assume it’s alone. Cockroaches are nocturnal and do their very best to conceal themselves, and for this reason among many others, the sight of one is often cause for concern. When there’s one in plain sight, you can bet plenty of others are hiding close by.

Just ignoring the roaches will not make the problem go away. Sometimes it takes a professional exterminator to eliminate the issue all together. 

With both the United States and Canada making temporary decisions to curb immigration (and spread of the virus), combined with a globally impacted economic situation, the non-sanctioned junior hockey leagues will be forced to turn to domestic players to fill rosters. Is it not the perfect time to ask the International Ice Hockey Federation to punish players that elect to play outside the sanctioning of the IIHF?

The most effective punishment would be an 18-month suspension from any IIHF sanctioned activity. Such a rule would discourage most players from participation in the non-sanctioned leagues. Such a rule would force players from non-sanctioned leagues into a very narrow collegiate path (NCAA only) as American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) is a USA Hockey sanctioned program. The reality is that the bulk of players from these leagues are more likely to play at the ACHA level than NCAA.

Having the IIHF be the body that cracks down on players from non-sanctioned leagues eliminates the potential of domestic legal battles, the biggest fear that has kept USA Hockey from doing anything to stop the growth of unsanctioned hockey here in the United States. 

There is a real threat to sanctioned programs across both countries if nothing is done. The non-sanctioned leagues will be forced to rely on domestic prospects to fill roster spots, something that will ultimately drive the lowering of fees for pay2play teams. In a robust economy last season, it was commonly known that skaters could secure roster spots for $5,000 or less after September 1st. How low will that price drop with so many other opportunities opened up? 

The time to act is now. Will USA Hockey’s Pat Kelleher now make the call to the IIHF? I can’t help but wonder why it has not been done already.

I’ll close with this private message that was recently received from a non-sanctioned league team owner: 
USA Hockey is already irrelevant. Does not matter who else joins (our league). Our group will run entire nation’s amateur hockey within three years. But before that the target will be youth and all pay-to-play junior. The money is flowing, USAH is already irreverent, they will soon not have enough money for those shrimp cocktails at the Hilton. Once we have all the nation’s youth money, the NAHL (North American Hockey League) will be easy pickings. The USHL (United States Hockey League) will be a longer play because of of the national team tie in.

Go ahead and read that again, let it sink in, and know it's time to call the exterminator.

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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