Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Jarred Tinordi has become the latest player to show an unintended consequence of the NCAA insisting college hockey is amateur when some of its players are professionals.

Many would read the towering Montreal Canadiens first-round pick picking the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights over Notre Dame as the CHL scoring another direct hit on the NCAA. The rub is this keeps happening — fellow Habs first-rounder Louis Leblanc going from Harvard to the Montreal Juniors; Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jerry D'Amigo leaning toward leaving RPI; Atlanta Thrashers prospect Julian Melchiori de-committing from UMass-Lowell to join the Knights' rival, the Kitchener Rangers — thanks in part to the NCAA's byzantine rules. (Players can attend a summer developmental camp, but not a training camp.)

"What may have helped the Knights secure Tinordi was the fact he was picked in the first round by an NHL team.

"Under NCAA rules, a player cannot attend NHL training camp until he is signed and leaves college. Some NHL teams want their drafted players to have the kind of heavy schedule junior hockey provides. Junior players can also attend NHL camps. (London Free Press)

Not to be too abstract, but why is a NCAA player forced to make that all-or-nothing choice? No one ever said collegiate sport and amateur sport were synonymous. In Canada, for instance, a football player can remain on a Canadian Football League team's practice roster until Aug. 15 and still return to school without losing his eligibility. Plenty of university programs are classified as professional, and no one is scandalized.

The 6-foot-6, 212-pound Tinordi, who had registered for summer classes at Notre Dame, has to give that up in order to attend the Canadiens training camp, a necessary step in his development. It is fair to wonder if college hockey's advocates might be well-served to lobby for some latitude. Instead, another upwardly mobile teen player leaves school and hurt the perception of U.S. college hockey during in its running battle with the CHL.

That's not to take anything away from the time Knights coach Dale Hunter put in to sell Tinordi on joining London, but it's a reality. So how big is getting Tinordi for the Knights, who finished second in the OHL's loaded Western Conference last season before losing a seven-game second-round series to those reviled Rangers? Very.

"The most successful Knights teams have been able to produce points from the blue-line. 'When we were most successful we had a defence that was mobile and could skate,' [coach Dale] Hunter said. 'Guys like (Danny) Syvret who could jump into the play. Tinordi can do that. He's big and mobile but he does more than that. He's really tough as well.'

"Hunter intends to use the offensive skill some of his blue-liners bring, especially Tinordi. Imagine former Knights defenceman John Carlson, only add size and toughness.

" 'We're going to encourage him to jump into the play,' he said. 'We needed that last year and we’ll be doing it a lot more this year.' " (Ibid.)

The Knights' big and beastly blueline corps also includes 17-year-old Scott Harrington, who is playing for Team Canada at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament.

Meantime, speaking of D'Amigo, he's apparently decided he isn't speaking to the media until everything is set with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Some quotes attributed to him on various blogsites, [RPI head coach Seth] Appert suggested, were not uttered by D'Amigo.

"Among them is a statement reported on several sites that claims D’Amigo would only turn pro if he plays for the Maple Leafs.

"Obviously, the team can’t make that guarantee and D’Amigo has never stated flatly that he won’t accept an assignment, virtually across town, to the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies." (Troy Record)

Huh? The only quotes attributed to D'Amigo which fit such a description are from the Waterloo Record: "If I do sign, it’s to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs." So that wasn't the real McCoy? There's a can of worms no one wants to touch.

(Sticktaps on the Tinordi link to Steven Hindle and The Scout.)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

Related Articles

Buzzing The Net

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Blog Roll

Featured Sports Video