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Junior Hockey is here to stay. Too much of a business now and will not be eliminated over night. College coaches like the system. If a kid ages out of juniors, he has played an additional 120 or so games. 120 games is the equivilent of a whole college career in experience. With this amount of game experience, a college coach taking a kid directly out of high scholl, puts his program at a distinct disadvantage.
There is a great book out there called The Road to Respectabilty: Maurray Willianson's Role in US Hockey. It has a whole chapter on the creation of US junior hockey. Briefly summed up, when there were fewer college hockey programs the top programs would recruit Canadien players becasue they played junior hockey in Canada. Because US high school players did not have this experience, there was no room for the US high school hockey player to play. Only the very few elite high school players would get the opportunity. The very good to excellent high school player had no avenue to develop as did the Canadien player. Therefore, junior leagues tried to develop with law suits from the NCAA etc.(payments to junior players). A long road ..... Good read and helps understand the current situation of college hockey.
I think the biggest problem is the commitment process. As we know, there is no real commitment being made. Kids commit and are told to go to juniors. In some instances, kids play 2 years and in the middle of their second year, for a variety of reasons, the commitment is pulled from the kid by the school. Devestating because now there is very little time left to find a new school. This can be a 2 way street as kids who reach some succes at juniors can take a risk and decommit themselves in the hope of finding a better situation.
If the junior leagues are here to stay then I think the best way to change this might be to make it mandatory that if a college commits a kid in high school, they must take that player regardless. This would reduce greatly the amount of early commitments and future decommits. Currently, commitments made in juniors are more viable anyway. This probably would not change as more kids would commit in juniors going forward. It might actually make the system better. If you look at lists of college commitments, some schools obviously over commit and knowingy have to decommit players every year. This might stop this practice of "hoarding" players by committing them early.
Don't hate the player hate the game.
Junior hockey does serve one good purpose. It gives players from non-traditional markets or smaller, less known hockey areas an opportunity to develop and to get noticed. You have to admit, hockey has grown in this country and players are coming from a lot of different places.
My son spoke to the most honest coach from NE-10. Coach has watched him play 3 games this season. Coach tells him "Game 1 your compete level was off the charts, Game 2 you were average and Game 3 your compete level was back up. If your going to be successful here that compete level has to be consistent. We might not win every night but we compete every shift or we sit." The funny part is the game he didn't like the compete level my son had 4 points. I don't know what my son is going to do as its 100% his choice but that coach gets mom and dads vote.
I share your wish that hockey players could stay home, play high school, and then head straight for college. Unfortunately, however, the system isn't set up that way.
A big difference between hockey and the other sports you mention is the quality - and in many cases, the existence - of high school play. Some programs are better than others, of course, but almost every school has football, baseball, soccer, basketball, etc. Very few schools outside Minnesota have quality high school hockey programs. The ones that do tend to have only a few good teams, meaning that most of the games are laughers and only a few per year are truly high-level and competitive. Indeed, aside from a few hockey-hotbed areas, few schools even offer varsity ice hockey.
So, while football, baseball, basketball, soccer and lacrosse players can stay home and develop - usually with descent competition - in high school, Hockey players need to play high level AAA and/or junior to develop and be seen.
More than that, the colleges probably just love juniors. It allows them to stock their program with more mature, more developed, hardened men instead of young teenage boys.
I am actually shocked D3 - especially Nescac- hasn’t instituted an age limit
Heck, they limit the amount you can practice
You can’t tell me having 25 yr old seniors enhances the school experience
Man, I didn't realize how messed up this sport really is at the NCAA. I have a bit of time before I have to worry about this but I feel for all of these Jr level players, what a crap situation. I also understand the parent frustration as the kids get older.
First, most freshman football players at Alabama are 20 when they take the field, very few true freshman play power-five football, they all redshirt.
Second, NIL is available for any level of college athlete, not just D-I. So tell your kid to work hard on his social media presence, develop a decent following, and start lighting it up during his D-III season & I'm sure some car dealer or local sports shop will be willing to pay him to shill their products.
You guys realize junior hockey is FUN right? you all seem to think it's this horrible burden on these kids when in fact 90% of them love it.
We living it right now and its a nonstop grind, more like 20% fun, 80% what the F are we doing here playing in front of nobody
These kids will be in the real world soon enough. Budget meetings, project deadlines, conference calls, etc. Enjoy playing hockey while you can. You have the rest of your life to work.
Kids have always reclassed for an advantage, but hockey, for some reason, has carved its own specific loophole with the NCAA. They have modified the rules to be a developmental league rather than collegiate athletics. If the NHL wants players to be better prepared for pro they should have a post-college developmental process.
While juniors existed before, they most certainly were not a requirement. 21 year old freshmen is dumb for tons of reasons.
NCAA Age-limiting factors: Division 1 (D1) and Division 2 (D2) colleges require high school student-athletes to enroll in college no later than 12 months post-graduation. Upon acceptance, these students have five years to compete in four full years of college sports, as they can opt to redshirt (sit out of competitive gameplay for a season) for one of their four eligible years.
Note: The D1 and D2 eligibility grace periods for ice hockey players and tennis players differ:
Men’s and Women’s Tennis
D1: 6 months
D2: 12 months
Men’s Ice Hockey
D1: 21st birthday
D2: 3 years
Nope it hasn't changed, that's correct. Hockey is the only sport with that crazy grace period though, which doesn't make sense considering the very high level of competition in other NCAA sports like basketball and football.
Men’s Ice Hockey
D1: 21st birthday
D2: 3 years
I enlisted in the Army straight out of HS and didn't start college until I was 24 and yes I played a sport in college. Heck Chris Weinke was 28 when he won the Heisman trophy. I don't understand, outside of the cesspool that is Tier-III juniors, why you are so upset at the age a kid is entering college. It's a choice, if it's not right for your family situation or your son, you just don't do it.
If Worchester State, Framingham State, Franklin Pierce, Suffix, and many other DII and DIII schools are not for your hockey player look at ACHA - Most ACHA higher division schools will beat many of the small New England DII & DIII schools.
Juniors is not necessary for D3. My son plays D3 at a NESCAC school and didn’t play juniors. Many will go to chase the D1 dream though.
D3 coaches are clowns who are empowered by desperate players. Sad truth is when junior players take a step back and visit an actual nice college, why the hell would anyone want to go to fitchburg? This will never happen and until then the power trip continues
The numbers of kids coming right out of high school to D3 schools could increase if people realistically listened to what D1 coaches do or do not say to them about the player. If it is anything less than, do a year of juniors and if we see x, y and z we will take him next year, actively seek D3 opportunities. D3 coaches will also not chase you down if you are intent on pursuing the D1 dream. They will wait until reality hits home. That is why those 03 and 04 numbers direct to D3 exist the way they are. If you are coming out of prep this year with nothing concrete, you should actively be reaching out to D3 schools. If you have good grades, NESCAC coaches are making decisions right now.
While its possible to be a rostered player without playing junior, you have to remember in your decision there's a difference between being rostered and actually playing. Being in the stands watching getting spot games the first year or so sucks.
Not all D3 schools play in dumpy state rinks dummy! Elmira, Oswego, Plattsburgh-Great rinks, great fans, great teams and great hockey...not D1, no, but not too shabby either..