Is 18-year-old Brendan Gaunce better off in the AHL or OHL? (OHL Images)
According to the proposed Canadian Hockey League Players' Association, the Niagara IceDogs should just say no to Dougie.
So to speak.
After two months of sound and fury signifying mostly nothing, the group might have a point about the legal possibility of major junior players retaining their eligibility for the NCAA, as executive director Georges Laraque alluded to at some point in his rambling late last week. Just saying that needs to be copiously footnoted. It sounds extremely farfetched, for one thing. The NCAA would have to make that change and its wheels grind very slowly. Also, there's a potential unintended consequence, as Dean Millard noted last weekend, that achieving NCAA eligibility might leave many CHL players high and dry: if some players could get full rides south of the border, why would there have be education packages available for the rest of the 98 per cent who don't have a significantly long professional tenure?
Guy Flaming of Team 1260's The Pipeline Show in Edmonton has done some phenomenal legwork giving a fair portrayal of what the group wants. Its contention is that because Hockey Canada bylaws designate the Canadian Hockey League as amateur, it simply should have the moral fibre to turn away signed NHL draft picks. That might make sense to a lawyer, but it's enough to make others wonder about the group's grasp on how hockey works.
Apparently we're to believe, to use (sorry, eh) a few easy Ontario-centric examples, 18-year-old Vancouver Canucks pick Brendan Gaunce would be better off as an 18-year-old living in Chicago, playing against men with the AHL Wolves, rather than be in Belleville, a hour away from his family. Or that the aforementioned Dougie Hamilton should have gone directly to AHL Providence when the Boston Bruins signed him instead of playing for the IceDogs, not far from his family's Niagara Falls, Ont., home. To say nothing of less emotionally and/or physically mature players chosen later in the NHL draft; maybe they could go to the ECHL. Being blind to this is why the CHLPA undermines its own bid for credibility.
Read More »from CHLPA contends signed NHL draft picks should be barred from major junior