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Jr96Dad

NAHL v. USPHL

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Jr96Dad

I have been hearing that players are moving (or will be) in increasing numbers from the NAHL to the USPHL. Has anyone else heard this?

The reason I have heard is that the quality of play leaguewide has become superior in the USPHL.

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jkozak

I haven't heard that nor noticed it... having seen (a little, but enough) of both, I can't see that rationale, either...

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minor life

Any player making that move is only making it from a weaker team. The USPHL is not close to the NAHL. The USPHL has some very good players but they could not compete on a regular basis with the NAHL. There are maybe 4 USPHL teams that would be competitive in the NAHL. The EHL is actually better than the USPHL right now as far as depth of talent and upside of younger players is concerned. This is likely just a rumor started by USPHL people who are hopping to recruit some NAHL 3rd and 4th liners next year.

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Mr Ricochet

Thanks for responding Jkoz and ML........... This got me to thinking a bit. I always watched the NAHL add teams as often as they could and wondered if they are watering down their product for the sake of expansion.

 

Do you either of you think in the future that with the NAHL having 25+ teams that either the USPHL or the EHL being smaller can surpass the NAHL has being the stronger league?

 

Also, what do you guys and the USHL, BCHL, NCAA and scouts consider the USPHL and EHL, Tier II? Are they playing at the Tier II level?

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minor life

Ric, I hate to compare leagues. There are good teams and bad teams in every league. There are a lot of Tier III players throughout the country that could make the NAHL but don't for one reason or another. I personally do not see any league that is pay to play ever rivaling a free to play league. Why would the best players want to pay to play when they don't have to? Parents make these decisions. The only time I see a Tier II player going the Tier III route is when it either involves a scholarship, or the family has enough money to not care about the fee and wants to keep the player at home.

 

Tier III hockey is very under rated though. Even some of the AAU teams have some exceptional Tier II quality players. There are some Tier III teams that could compete with some of the less talented Tier II teams, but in the end the Tier II teams do have more depth in talent and would carry the day.

 

I think with USHL expansion there will be a trickle up effect where some of the better Tier II guys move up, better Tier III players get a chance at Tier II and Tier III becomes more watered down.

 

You have to look at where teams are recruiting from. Midget AAA is still the prime recruiting ground for all Tier II and the USHL. Very few Tier III guys move up each year, and very few get drafted, unless they are the very best players or very good and very young. Because AAA is the recruiting ground, the USPHL started their own AAA program. They know this is the case and they are hopping to keep players in their systems. But the best players always go where the best scouting is. Bottom line is the USHL and Tier II always produce more NCAA players and they always will. The perceived pedigree value of the AAA players going into those leagues is higher than Tier III players.

 

Tier III is largely a D-3 and ACHA system which is as it should be, and there is nothing wrong with that. I do take issue with Tier III teams trying to say they can do just as good a job at promoting players as Tier II or the USHL because the numbers do not reflect that claim. Sure some USPHL teams will get D-1 commits out east, some of those players already have them coming out of Midget when they get to the Tier III team and the Tier III team claims the promotion.

 

The New Jersey Hitmen are loaded with 20 yr old D-1 commits, they just lost 3-2 to the NTDP 1996 dob team. I know its the NTDP, but it also a team of 16 and 17 yr old players playing against physically mature, more experienced players. If the USPHL was on par as some teams claim to be, the Hitmen should have won that game.

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Rparkerguy

Minor life....how would you compare the Canadian Tier II leagues. I know the BCHL has been argued to be as good as the USHL, but what about the CCHL, NOJHL, AJHL, etc..... It seems like some of those team do a good job of getting D1 committs.

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minor life

Rparkerguy, some may say the BCHL is as good as the USHL but it is not. Its very good, but the USHL has more depth. I really don't like to compare leagues as I said earlier. The BCHL does a great job of moving kids to school and the WHL. The other Canadian leagues you mention are extremely under rated! The CCHL for example is one very well structured league, with quality people in nearly every organization. The Carelton Place Canadians run a program that is second to none and rivals any USHL or NCAA program in how its structured. The NOJHL is very under rated, they are getting better, and need to learn how to publicize their NCAA commits better, they have plenty. The AJHL is also very good, though different in style to some of the other leagues when it comes to general comparisons, a very physical yet skilled league. The Maritimes, OJHL, and Manitoba are also very good though each has its own style as well.

 

The NAHL has done a great job of promoting themselves and is increasing their NCAA commits each year. The proof is in the results though and Canadian leagues still produce more NCAA players at the Tier II level than the NAHL does. By my best guess, the NAHL produces 3 D-1 commits per team on average, some Canadian leagues produce three times that amount per team. If you add in CIS (Canadian College) commits, the numbers of college bound athletes coming out of those leagues is amazing. If you then factor in how many players move up to Major Junior its hard to argue the quality of play in any Canadian Tier II league.

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Rparkerguy

Rparkerguy, some may say the BCHL is as good as the USHL but it is not. Its very good, but the USHL has more depth. I really don't like to compare leagues as I said earlier. The BCHL does a great job of moving kids to school and the WHL. The other Canadian leagues you mention are extremely under rated! The CCHL for example is one very well structured league, with quality people in nearly every organization. The Carelton Place Canadians run a program that is second to none and rivals any USHL or NCAA program in how its structured. The NOJHL is very under rated, they are getting better, and need to learn how to publicize their NCAA commits better, they have plenty. The AJHL is also very good, though different in style to some of the other leagues when it comes to general comparisons, a very physical yet skilled league. The Maritimes, OJHL, and Manitoba are also very good though each has its own style as well.

 

The NAHL has done a great job of promoting themselves and is increasing their NCAA commits each year. The proof is in the results though and Canadian leagues still produce more NCAA players at the Tier II level than the NAHL does. By my best guess, the NAHL produces 3 D-1 commits per team on average, some Canadian leagues produce three times that amount per team. If you add in CIS (Canadian College) commits, the numbers of college bound athletes coming out of those leagues is amazing. If you then factor in how many players move up to Major Junior its hard to argue the quality of play in any Canadian Tier II league.

Thanks Minor Life, some great info. Have a buddy whose kid is considering the CCHL with the very team you have mentioned. One of the issues they are grappling with is the pay to play. However, if the program is well run it may be a smarter choice versus a non-pay situation with a sub-standard Tier II organization.

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Mr Ricochet

As Parker mentions some real informative and helpful posts, ML. I'm sure this is helping more than a few readers navigate the near impossible waters of where to send a kid to play.

 

Help me out, ML. The EHL, NOJHL (US leagues) and the CCHL, NOJHL and AJHL (Canadian leagues) are pay to play leagues?

 

 

Hey ML if you were to ask me to rate and/or compare and contrast the Colonial Hockey League, IHL 2, CHL, AAHL and ECHL I think I could do so pretty well. Same with the USHL and the OHL.

 

Are the junior leagues you mentioned that much harder to do so than the above pro league, save for the USHL-OHL comparison? And for me there is any easy distinction between the USHL and OHL. The OHL is an older league where all but the top 5%, or less, of the players are made to age out before they can move on making it a more mature and deeper league. IMO a better comparison to the OHL is the NCAA, not the USHL.

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minor life

Some of the Canadian "Tier II" of Junior A leagues have gone to a limited pay to play model, some have not. What I am seeing is that people, even high quality players do not mind paying something for quality. In Canada there have been teams that charged some type of fee for the last 5 years or so. Small market teams with limited attendance and corporate support, but with great scouting and a well run organization can charge what ever they want if they deliver the goods.

 

I could in general terms rate leagues, but I don't like doing so because I could be placing a very high end organization in a lower position than they deserve because of the league they are in.

 

The Soo Thunderbirds are the #1 ranked team in the CJHL. They represent the NOJHL. Are they good? They are very good. Are they one of the best in the country? Definitely. But they also play in a league that has two very weak teams that IMO would bring the league rating down if I were to rate them because those two teams would represent a quarter of the league membership.

 

When our company speaks to players, we never compare leagues. In many cases its apples and pineapples. They both may have apple in the name but they are no where near close to being related. There are 10 "Tier II" or Junior A leagues in Canada, with 128 teams. Five times as many opportunities for players than the NAHL offer in the US. What does that say about the state of hockey in Canada? What does it say about the level of play in those leagues? That's not including any Junior B, C or D leagues, or Major Junior.

 

Player opportunity and determining where an individual players best opportunity may be is not a matter of comparing leagues and bouncing from camp to camp to camp. It is a matter of having the right information to make the right decisions. Unfortunately, far too often people listen to other parents, other players, and people who really don't understand how things work. Many times, those same people providing information give bad information, lie, or give information that is so old it is no longer accurate.

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Mr Ricochet

 

 

I could in general terms rate leagues, but I don't like doing so because I could be placing a very high end organization in a lower position than they deserve because of the league they are in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm at the Steel game yesterday standing with a guy who played a decade in the old IHL and he played a couple years in the QMJHL. We stood together for all 3 periods and talked about hockey from the lowest level, I was at a Mite Tournament in Orland to see a buds kid play, all the way to the Bigs. He also scouted and coached and looks at the game mostly from that view.

 

He tells me as a play is developing to watch this kid, a bottom 6 type, chase a puck down in the corner in the Steel's zone. I do and as it's happening the Storm are changing lines and he says watch this kid go heavy on the puck along the wall and make sure he mucks long enough for the line change to complete. I do, and it happens the line changes and then he says watch the kid skate off to the bench even though he's down low and may have a scoring chance. I watch and sure enough the kid skates off as the Storm retain possession showing tons if IQ, skill, grit and unselfishness.

 

I bring this up not only cuz these are things I'm drawn to in any sport, but in the context of this thread you would never, ever see this in a boxscore and probably not on film.

 

From a player personnel guy's, or a scouts', position how do they quantify numbers of people they barely see or maybe not see at all? You simply can't have bodies at all the arenas to see all the prospects. My guess would be networking is the #1 way of getting information on players but still how are numbers quantified? Now if I were a coach looking for some grit, size and IQ and the guy I was watching the game with called me and told me about the kid in the above paragraph I'd bring him in on his word.

 

I've seen a guy like talented kid like Landon Smith struggle in the USHL and go up to the BCHL and light the scoresheet up. Same with many other USHL guys. Not seeing the BCHL I'd quantify anybodies numbers up there with the experience I had watching USHL guys I've seen go up there and have offensive success.

 

Conversely I'd think highly of a goalie up there that had a modest .905 SPG. Cuz I know they play track meet hockey for the most part up there. Although I can't speak of knowing any top goalies that come out of the league, as I'm not in the business.

 

We all know that the QMJHL is wide open, the WHL is more a defensive league and the OHL in between. Of course the Major Junior leagues are scouted so heavily there are no secrets, but numbers earned in those leagues can be compared and contrasted based on the style of the league. For instance 125 points in a season in the Q might work out to 100 or 90 in the WHL. And the same for goalies in those league too.

 

If you're in the business of being an agent, scout or any kind of a player personnel/GM/coach at levels above juniors it would seem a monumental task to dig through numbers from so many leagues and quantify them pertaining to the players who earn them. That's the reason I asked how you rate the leagues, ML.

 

Your posts in this thread are helpful, very much so and appreciated. I can tell you fist hand by people who mention they are. ........By the way Orland Park had a big Pee Wee tournament. GB Jr Gamblers, Cleveland Barons, Chicago Fury and the Colorado Thunderbirds (all feeders of the USHL) are some I saw as I was leaving the Mite Tournament.

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minor life

Great post Ric. I really don't use numbers for anything more than a starting point for my level of interest, no matter what league a player is in. If a player is 100 point producer in Tier III, he will probably produce at Tier II as well, but not likely at such a clip.

 

What you describe in how the players actions were predictable, is what we look for. Hockey sense is doing the little things right. Feet facing the right direction, hip movement in transition skating, foot speed and placement when skating, body position, body control, and so many other little items beyond can the player skate shoot and score. It is the details of the game that separate the players.

 

Every scout has their favorite leagues too, so there is a little bias in some people, but we all know that going in and everyone jokes with everyone about it. What many probably don't understand is how scouts get along and work together. Sure at the drafts, and signing free agents there is competition, but there is also a lot of information sharing that happens long before that. If you hear a kid is a cancer, you let your friends know so they don't look bad. If a kid is not continuing to develop the way everyone thought he would, you share the info with each other. If a parent is a pain in the ass and not worth dealing with, you tell people that too.

 

Maybe we make things too complicated sometimes in how we look at players and dissect them, but it is how the game is played now.

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kwey24

Just because I know people are dying for someone to bite on this, I'll bite with some qualifications.

 

To start, everything Minor Life has said about it being more team (and community) than league is true.

 

With that said, you can kind of see what league stacks up where (overall as a league) by where players from one league who wash out land and by also comparing where different players from the high school, prep, and Midget AAA ranks play (and you know where they stacked up in their age group and level).

 

1. USHL

2. BCHL (only because of some high-end talent, the bottom end of the BCHL is no better than the bottom end of the NAHL)

3. NAHL (watch how many kids wash out to the Alberta or Manitoba leagues)

4. OJHL

5. AJHL

6. SJHL

7. MJHL

8. CCHL

9. NOJHL

10. MHL

11. QJAAAHL

12. SIJHL (really only on par with Tier III, in my opinion)

 

Now, to note, in my opinion, 6 through 10 are very close to each other (for the most part)

 

There is SO much that goes into picking a junior team, though, and academic goals can factor in, too. Certain teams with certain colleges or community colleges nearby that your son can attend while playing factor in, and that sort of thing can factor in with what league you look at. For instance, the Minnesota Junior Hockey League, with its compact geographic footprint in the Minnesota Division, that's a great option for a player to play and go to college part-time for two or three years before heading on to NCAA Division III or a respectable ACHA program. Coaching plays into the equation, quality of community, quality of billets, all sorts of things factor in. One factor may be if you have relatives in a certain place where you can stay for free.

 

What I will say is this--whatever your goal is, you can reach it through almost any route if you have the work ethic and talent necessary. Just because you only played Tier III junior hockey does not mean you cannot go on to play pro hockey out of NCAA Division III or ACHA D1 (for the most part) hockey. The top 18 teams in the ACHA D1 are pretty serious organizations. You will find that teams from 19th through 35th, or so, can hang, too.

 

Remember, Andrew Desjardins of the Sharks started in the Central Hockey League. He was undrafted and earned his contract with the Sharks organization after his rookie pro year with Laredo. He did play major juniors, but he was not a star player in the OHL (respectable, but not amazing).

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minor life

Kwey, I am glad you did that rating. I am not trying to pick it a part, but want to show the differences now based on someone else's perspective. If you look at the CJHL rankings now, they would make an argument for the team ranking we both agree is probably the best route. One could infer from that though, because they list the leagues next to the teams, that the Alberta league may be the best league in Canada this year. One could infer that the NOJHL is the top league because they have the top team and another team near the top.

 

There is a subjective nature to ranking as well, we all have favorites. Personally I love the OJHL, CCHL, Maritimes, and NOJHL. The BCHL really can be tough to measure because of where the players come from. A USHL wash out can sometimes go there and dominate, is that because he is that good or the league is not nearly as good? Lots to question sometimes, and I have had kids get cut from the NAHL and go to the BCHL and do very well.

 

The SIJHL top teams could easily compete in the NAHL. Fort Frances and Thunder Bay are legitimate Tier II teams. Even the bottom teams have talent that is better than Tier III, just no depth. The SIJHL beat up on the NOJHL in their cross over series last year. The MNJHL Dells Ducks lost to the Minnesota Iron Rangers in an exhibition game earlier this year. That's one of the top Tier III teams in the country playing the third place SIJHL team.

 

This has been a great discussion though. If parents are reading this thread the one thing I hope for is that they stop trying to grade leagues, and start looking at teams. A league does not get a player to college, the league initials mean nothing.

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Jr96Dad

Folks,

 

Thank you so much for all of the in depth answers and passionate responses you have given in this thread. As a newcomer to junior hockey with a young son I appreciate all of it.

 

Im glad I started the thread :)

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KingoftheCrease

I have been hearing that players are moving (or will be) in increasing numbers from the NAHL to the USPHL. Has anyone else heard this?

The reason I have heard is that the quality of play leaguewide has become superior in the USPHL.

Lets begin with the realities. The USPHL (Primier the only division worth talking about) is composed of only 4 teams that are honestly worth a damn. The Islanders, Hitmen, Jr Bruins and South Shore Kings. The Next four best teams on the East Coast are the Monarchs EHL, Philadelphia EHL, Northern Cyclones EHL and the Boston Bandits EHL. Why do these teams play in two different leagues? Money, rage, politics petty differences. Doesnt matter they all agree to disagree on about everything. Its the east coast. What I can tell you is this with great certainty. those 8 teams can play toe to toe with any teams in the NAHL, barring AMarillo, Fairbanks, Wilderness, Topkea, right now. Those games would would see the ice tilt heavily toward the NAHL in the middle of the second, and slide away. New Jersey and the Jr Bruins on the other hand could play all 3, but those teams are honestly upper middle half ushl teams, though a tad undersized.

There is substantial parity across jr hockey, more so when the conversations about the east come up in large part because many of the best players in the country have roots in the east. They go to eastern colleges and they do not want or need to leave. Other players who out of the gate are not top guys for the NAHL or USPHL go east for exposure ( which is better on a consistent live basis) and reaches more institutions. Other players who are 3rd line NAHL kids, in many cases can benifit from playing in the east because they are now top 6 and get special teams time, which aids development. There are people who believe all the BEST kids should be in X or Y league. These same people refuses to subscribe that some kids dont want to go, need to go, and that more development for other kids happens faster from being a top 6 kid. What is the difference between a 7-9 kid, and top 6 in the NA?

ability wise 0, in 1/2 the cases Id challenge. The top 6 will have double the production, and 1/3 more ice by the end of the year, will have had more exposure, promotion and development. Same the exact same applies to every league. Kids need to go where they play. The real difference is that coach z committed a top 6 spot to those kids, and those kids start the year with the benefit of the doubt. Do some kids get bumped. Yes. but why gamble when as a player you a life expectancy of 100-140 games in JRs.

JR 96 dad, check your messages.

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Nolan_Nike

Thought this may be somewhat relevant to the topic. SJHL team defeated CCHL team in finals. BCHL Vernon Vipers were host.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Royal_Bank_Cup

2014 Royal Bank Cup was the 44th Junior "A" ice hockey National Championship for the Canadian Junior Hockey League. The 2014 Royal Bank Cup marked the 44th consecutive hear a national championship has been awarded to this skill level since the breakaway of Major Junior hockey in 1970.

 

The five competitors that competed in the Royal Bank Cup included the host Vernon Vipers, the winners of the Fred Page Cup, Dudley Hewitt Cup, and the top two teams from the Western Canada Cup.[1]

 

The tournament was hosted by the Vernon Vipers of Vernon, British Columbia

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Mr Ricochet

Thought this may be somewhat relevant to the topic. SJHL team defeated CCHL team in finals. BCHL Vernon Vipers were host.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Royal_Bank_Cup

2014 Royal Bank Cup was the 44th Junior "A" ice hockey National Championship for the Canadian Junior Hockey League. The 2014 Royal Bank Cup marked the 44th consecutive hear a national championship has been awarded to this skill level since the breakaway of Major Junior hockey in 1970.

 

The five competitors that competed in the Royal Bank Cup included the host Vernon Vipers, the winners of the Fred Page Cup, Dudley Hewitt Cup, and the top two teams from the Western Canada Cup.[1]

 

The tournament was hosted by the Vernon Vipers of Vernon, British Columbia

 

Heard of the RBC before but guess I never really knew what it was. Love any format where champs of multiple leagues meet to crown a champions champion. Thanks for the info, Mike............

 

The International Scouting Service listed 3 players to watch from each of the clubs, thought a couple names sounded familiar. Players to watch

 

 

Dylan Chanter: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=123669

 

Brett Boehm: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=119262

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Nolan_Nike

The CCHL players you linked to put up some monster #'s in that league. Interesting to look at. Thanks.

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capswon

I am looking for some info on this league, any would be helpful. If a player was cut from the USHL tryout camp and was given the opportunity to try out with an NAHL team #1 what teams would be recomended #2. What caliber is the play on par with? Totally clueless about this league other than they have a team in Johnstown. I am sure that I will get some great feedback and answers.

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minor life

capswon, if your son was cut from the USHL as a main camp invite, you should have no problem finding a Tier II team in the US or Canada. If he was an open camp invite and did not have Tier II interest before going to the USHL camp, you will need some very strong references and connections to get serious consideration at the Tier II level. One thing I would not do, although this is a great board with educated hockey people involved, is ask for recommendations on specific teams. Every player and their situation is different. What might have worked for someone else is not likely to work for you. If you would like some more specific info, on a specific team message me and I will provide what I can.

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Mr Ricochet

capswon, if your son was cut from the USHL as a main camp invite, you should have no problem finding a Tier II team in the US or Canada. If he was an open camp invite and did not have Tier II interest before going to the USHL camp, you will need some very strong references and connections to get serious consideration at the Tier II level. One thing I would not do, although this is a great board with educated hockey people involved, is ask for recommendations on specific teams. Every player and their situation is different. What might have worked for someone else is not likely to work for you. If you would like some more specific info, on a specific team message me and I will provide what I can.

 

Thank you for responding to this fella, ML... As always you point folks in the right direction and clear up a lot of confusion.

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pond

I am looking for some info on this league, any would be helpful. If a player was cut from the USHL tryout camp and was given the opportunity to try out with an NAHL team #1 what teams would be recomended #2. What caliber is the play on par with? Totally clueless about this league other than they have a team in Johnstown. I am sure that I will get some great feedback and answers.

Caps are you in canada? Nahl has some great clubs and some you want to stay away from - like every league out there. Teams and divisions prefer different types of players so a lot of it depends on the type of player you/your son is. Always good to do homework. Talk to as many people as possible. "Typically" the Nahl is an equal pace as USHL, is more physical, older in age, has better goaltending, but is below the Ushl in puck control and puck skills. Key word is typically.

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