Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Some observers probably wonder about the staggered start to the Canadian Hockey League season — the opening puckdrop for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is typically a full two weeks prior to the two leagues to west of it getting underway.

Wouldn't it be better if all three could start around the same time? Well, in a one-size-fits-all world, maybe, but Willy Palov argues the QMJHL should actually start the regular season even sooner. It goes back to improving the player experience, a talking point that did come out of the World Hockey Summit.

"The majority of the league's players are from Quebec, where the CEGEP school system requires them to be registered by the start of the final week of August. This deadline typically puts extra pressure on the teams to make decisions on any player who is older than 16, which is to say about 90 per cent of the Quebec kids.

" ... It makes me wonder if there is a way to work within the existing parameters to make camp less of a marathon. My only thought is to open the regular season even earlier. I concede that the Q already starts pretty early — Sept. 9 this year. So why not push it all the way back to the first week of the month?

"By that time, Labour Day has come and gone and teams have already given their fans two or three weeks of training camp hype to get in hockey mode. Just get on with it already. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

One outsider observation, based on reading training camp stories, is wondering how efficient it is for major junior teams to hold massive training camps. The Everett Silvertips, just one example, have 93 players attending their camp, including 65 rookies. It's a little different in the Western Hockey League since teams are looking for a promising player who might have slipped through the cracks during the bantam draft. Still, with all the scouting and video, one wonders if it's really necessary. The odd free agent does make the team, but it's a low percentage.

Meantime, Palov pointed out at least one Q team, on its own, did commit to finalizing its roster earlier.

"On that note, I found it interesting how Cape Breton Screaming Eagles coach Mario Durocher committed to having his team picked by Monday [Aug. 23 — Ed.]. He chose to use the CEGEP deadline as his own personal time frame, an approach I like."

Durocher will have a young team in Cape Breton, so perhaps there was less pressure to sweat out out some decisions. You see the point, though.

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

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