Does the NHL need a Second Minor League?

Lowetide
September 06 2010 12:25PM

This is Serge Savard, age 20. The young defender had completed his junior career and began the long climb up the Montreal Canadiens depth chart. The Habs (and other NHL teams) had long since discovered many prospects were unable to adjust to the rigors of the AHL, so a second league was placed in the American south. Some of the best NHL players of the 1970's made their pro debuts in cities like Houston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The NHL might be wise to have another long look at the idea of a second professional league.

In the early 1960s NHL GMs noticed that the pipeline between the minors and the NHL had slowed down alot. There were several reasons for it (the WHL was gearing up to become a second major league, which was shot down by the 1967 expansion) but a lot of the problem came when new pro's fell out of the AHL because the step up was too difficult. The bottom line was that something had to be done to bridge the gap.

The NHL developed a second minor league, the CPHL (Central Professional Hockey League). It was a de facto development league. The clubs built all kinds of roster requirements (each club carried only 15 players and 10 of those had to be under 23) in order to fast track the cream of each organization to a higher tier. The result was a much better average in terms of developing young talent, as these kids had somewhere to go once they turned pro.

That 1966-67 Apollo team Savard played on delivered an enormous number of quality players to the NHL. Danny Grant, Jacques Lemaire, Pat Quinn, Rogie Vachon, Mickey Redmond and Carol Vadnais were some of the names that would eventually find their way to the NHL. Even considering expansion (and 120+ new jobs), the CPHL allowed many quality players to transition successfully during this time.

  1. Isn't that what the ECHL does? No, not really. The Oilers didn't send any top end prospects to Stockton last season. The best Oiler player on their roster was probably Cody Wild. The best player who was there all season might have been Jordan Bendfeld. The "AA" league might look like it did in the 60s: 10 young prospects and a few veterans to help the process. That means all teams would be providing much better prospects.
  2. Which Oiler prospects last year would have been candidates? A lot of them. Among the D, Johan Motin, Alex Plante and Taylor Chorney would have been candidates. Up front, Slava Trukhno, Bryan Lerg, Geoff Paukovich. Liam Reddox did spend his first pro season in the ECHL and would be an example of the type of thing I'm talking about in the new development league. For the coming season, Phil Cornett and Jeff Petry might be examples of players who could benefit from this league.
  3. What would be the positives for the players? They'd be getting playing time at the pro level and developing in a league where about 70% of the opposition is in the same age range. Their status as regulars (and the small roster size) would guarantee playing time. We don't have TOI totals for the AHL, but it is a certainty that someone like Paukovich would have played more in the ECHL (and had a bigger role) than he did in the American League. A player like Petry might be able to get his bearings during a 20-game stay and then move up to the AHL without getting run over ala Taylor Chorney. That has value to player and team.
  4. What would be the positives for the team? Teams would be able to sign more minor league veterans and therefore have better depth in the organization if injuries occur. The overall quality of the league would be better since the depth would be much better. The batting average might improve in terms of drafting success (fewer failures) and their AHL clubs would be stronger and better able to overcome a rash of injuries.
  5. Anything else? Yes. I think the second tier might be a good spot for junior players who are overqualified for the CHL but are ineligible to play in the  AHL. It would require a rule change, but the NHL does that kind of thing to suit their needs all the time (getting Lou his rifleman being the latest example).
  6. What leagues would be affected? Aside from the CHL (mentioned above), the Euro leagues would be impacted at some level since NHL teams would be adding as many as 15 roster spots.
  7. From the current group of Oiler pro players, recent pro signings and CHL/Euro/college bound prospects, which 10 players would you nominate for this season's experiement? G: Bryan Pitton. D: Johan Motin, Jeff Petry, Jordan Bendfeld, Kyle Bigos. F: Phil Cornet, Milan Kytnar, Teemu Hartikainen, Toni Rajala, Anton Lander.
  8. From the current group of Oiler pro players, which 5 players would you nominate in the "veteran" group for this season's experiment?  D: Jason Strudwick, Josef Hrabal. F: Chris Vande Velde, Matt Marquardt. The fifth veteran would probably be a goaltender.
  9. You've listed some very good young prospects, like Vande Velde, Hartikainen and Petry. If those players can't make the AHL as rookie pro's then there isn't much hope for them. It is a matter of changing your perspective. Lets take Johan Motin as an example. Last year, he was sheltered in the AHL at age 20 (he played his first 2 AHL games at 19) and might have been better served by playing more minutes at the pro level against players (mostly) his own age. You can make the argument it would have been better for his development. More sorties, more knowledge.
  10. Can you give examples of players who "got away" who might have benefited from this kind of thing? This summer, the Oilers sent away Bryan Lerg, Slava Trukhno, Josef Hrabal and Geoff Paukovich. A prospect's failure is a shared blame: player, but also scouts, coaches, injuries, shared affiliates (GM), not spending the dollars required to sign these kids in a timely manner (ownership) and a few more I'm not thinking of at this moment. But I think some of the blame for the Oilers kids (especially the AHL group) is that this decade's prospects simply didn't play enough once turning pro. A second team--at a lower level--makes certain the club gives each signed pro prospect a better chance to succeed by adding a rung to the development ladder. Or at least that's what I'm suggesting.

NOTE: I've written on this subject a few times before, but this particular post was inspired by an item at Oilers Republic. If you have the time, give it a read.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 PabstBR55
September 06 2010, 01:34PM
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This is a great idea, but I think the league should exist on European soil.

The NHL is missing out on a huge revenue- and fan-generating opportunity in Europe, and rather than create a "European Division" or a mirror league, I think it would be interesting to create a developmental league in 8-12 major European markets.

As mentioned in the article, teams would be forced to fill say 65% of it's roster with players under 25, and a few vets to round it out. Players like Hall and Paajarvi who are too mature for junior, but perhaps not ready to be solid NHL contributors could ply their trade in Cologne or Amsterdam, develop their skills and a following of fans, then hop over to the major leagues.

The IIHF would be a huge impediment, and it's not likely to happen, but the NHL does need to find a beach-head into the wealthy, hockey-mad old countries.

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#2 JayGray1980
September 06 2010, 12:36PM
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FIST

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#3 Ducey
September 06 2010, 12:52PM
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Great idea LT but too much money and politics to wade through.

The CHL would be negatively impacted as many of the higher round guys (say Eberle last year) not ready for the NHL would be gone. Those owners (some of whom are NHL owners) would scream.

US colleges would be pissed because a bunch of their good players would choose to be involved in a developmental league instead of playing 30 games a year.

It would essentially kill the ECHL who still sells the myth that their players are on the way to the show (when only goalies really are).

An easier way? Increase the draft age to 19. Sure you miss a player or two every year who is ready to make it to the show. But a higher drafting age would increase the odds of teams getting the right guys and would put less pressure on immature 17 yr olds. It would also increase the quality of the CHL product (so they would be for it).

If you have the same rule that 19 yr olds couldn't get into the AHL in their first year after being drafted, guys would be going to the AHL when they are 20 and physically and mentally more able to withstand it.

The only people who stand in the way of a 19 year old draft is the NHL - who are too stupid and greedy to do otherwise.

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#4 sumoil
September 06 2010, 12:54PM
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I think it will beneficial to change the rules of ECHL than creating a whole new league. I like the idea which you have. But then CHL teams and Euros will be quite against it. Also, players might not be open to it. If they are playing in the AHL, they have the belief that they can be called up anytime. So why then shall a player leave SEL and join this new league?

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#5 Chris.
September 06 2010, 12:58PM
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Ducey wrote:

Great idea LT but too much money and politics to wade through.

The CHL would be negatively impacted as many of the higher round guys (say Eberle last year) not ready for the NHL would be gone. Those owners (some of whom are NHL owners) would scream.

US colleges would be pissed because a bunch of their good players would choose to be involved in a developmental league instead of playing 30 games a year.

It would essentially kill the ECHL who still sells the myth that their players are on the way to the show (when only goalies really are).

An easier way? Increase the draft age to 19. Sure you miss a player or two every year who is ready to make it to the show. But a higher drafting age would increase the odds of teams getting the right guys and would put less pressure on immature 17 yr olds. It would also increase the quality of the CHL product (so they would be for it).

If you have the same rule that 19 yr olds couldn't get into the AHL in their first year after being drafted, guys would be going to the AHL when they are 20 and physically and mentally more able to withstand it.

The only people who stand in the way of a 19 year old draft is the NHL - who are too stupid and greedy to do otherwise.

I like it. A higher draft age will stabilize the CHL, make amature Scouting more accurate, and give the NHL teams the ability to develop their higher picks in the AHL.

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#8 ubermiguel
September 06 2010, 01:05PM
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Interesting idea for development of players, but at what point do we reach a saturation point for hockey leagues? Is there enough hockey support/fans/money out there for yet another league? I don’t see many markets that are under-serviced with semi-pro hockey and have owners lining up to finance it. Unless the NHL owns this new league wholly and is willing to take a 100% loss on it I can’t see it happening.

From a business standpoint a more likely scenario would be the NHL reaching an affiliation agreement with one or more of the existing leagues to align their roster rules and transfer agreements as you suggest. If they’re smart they do the same in Europe if only to stop the KHL from growing its prospects and fan base.

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#10 Tha Legion
September 06 2010, 01:19PM
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Ducey wrote:

Great idea LT but too much money and politics to wade through.

The CHL would be negatively impacted as many of the higher round guys (say Eberle last year) not ready for the NHL would be gone. Those owners (some of whom are NHL owners) would scream.

US colleges would be pissed because a bunch of their good players would choose to be involved in a developmental league instead of playing 30 games a year.

It would essentially kill the ECHL who still sells the myth that their players are on the way to the show (when only goalies really are).

An easier way? Increase the draft age to 19. Sure you miss a player or two every year who is ready to make it to the show. But a higher drafting age would increase the odds of teams getting the right guys and would put less pressure on immature 17 yr olds. It would also increase the quality of the CHL product (so they would be for it).

If you have the same rule that 19 yr olds couldn't get into the AHL in their first year after being drafted, guys would be going to the AHL when they are 20 and physically and mentally more able to withstand it.

The only people who stand in the way of a 19 year old draft is the NHL - who are too stupid and greedy to do otherwise.

problem with that is that once someone is 18 they could just sign with club, you can't prevent an adult from earning a living

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#11 BigE91
September 06 2010, 01:29PM
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Good post and a good idea. I can see where this would be beneficial for all NHL teams but how much of the Oilers current predicament has to do with them mothballing their AHL team several years ago and then resurrecting it in recent seasons? It's been said that the lack of an AHL affiliate really hurt Delauriers development, how many others were affected?

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#12 ubermiguel
September 06 2010, 01:49PM
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Lowetide wrote:

uber: Well the NHL teams are bleeding talent now to various leagues (most notably the KHL) and one way around that is to grow your own. One of the most successful teams during this summer's free agent season was SKA St Pete: Evgeni Nabokov, Maxim Afinogenov and Denis Grebeshkov.

Even a solid NHL defenseman developed on the cheap would mean a major investment + for an NHL team.

Ducey makes some great points about why a new North American league won’t fly. Add to that: the NHL is running a loss with enough of their major pro teams; they don’t need to be running a loss with an entirely new league.

I agree with you about losing talent to other leagues. I would rather see those three players in NHL uniforms. But you've identified an over-supply of talent, not a demand for more hockey leagues.

SKA St Pete is a sign that there is a demand for more pro-hockey and there is available ownership with deep pockets but it is not on this continent.

I suggest of a new development league, but make it in Europe/Russia and make it parallel to the AHL. Reasoning:

- demand (new market, new fans, new money)

- willing owners (i.e.: up-front capital)

- young European players can stay close to home (maybe allow easy transfer of players between NA and Euro leagues; I could see “you get to play in Europe and stay in our organization” as a real incentive to a young player)

- increased brand presence in Europe (need to kill the lure of the KHL, re-establish the NHL as the pre-eminent league)

Edit: I see PabstBR55 agrees with me, and is faster at typing his reply too.

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#13 PabstBR55
September 06 2010, 01:53PM
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@ubermiguel

Exactly.

If you are Brayden Schenn, wouldn't you rather play in Stockholm against men than in Brandon against teenagers?

And if the NHL brands and monetizes it, it would be far more lucrative for the league and players than the Dub.

Edit: Or rather than create a new league, NHL teams should try to build partnerships with European clubs. For example, the Oilers would have a partnership with Cologne of the DEL, while the Flames partnered with Helsinki of the Finnish league ... kind of like sister clubs. The NHL would have to build an outline for reciprocity, but the agreement would have our top young prospects develop in a more competitive environment. It would also be assumed that call-ups would be less frequest for these players.

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#15 Pajamah
September 06 2010, 02:14PM
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Some average prospects in Europe now don't like coming over to North America, and that is for the best pro league in the world (NHL)

I like the idea of another developmental league, but making some 6'5" spit-chewing bail-chucker from Ballslick,Saskatchewan play in Prague, not a great idea.

Too many middling prospects would rather quit (I know many ex-WHL, AJHL, CHL etc. guys who would rather quit than play in Europe just to hope one day making it to the AHL)

And we know we arent talking about NHL prospects, because most can make a seamless jump from major junior to pro.

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#16 ubermiguel
September 06 2010, 02:31PM
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@ PabstBR55

Affiliate partnerships would work. Ideally find a couple of leagues in need of a little cash and sign them up.

@ Pajamah

I was thinking more about a league on par with the AHL. So that Saskatchewan farm boy could be playing in Cologne one day and the NHL the next. On the flip-side: T.S. for that Saskatchewan farm-boy if he’s not mobile for his job. There are plenty of other real-world jobs where you have to be willing to move for advancement.

One problem that brings up: the ability to call up guys on short notice. Obviously the bubble-players would have to be kept close by (i.e.: in North America). That would immediately make the Euro league 2nd tier, more of a development league. Hmmmm, this might take some more fleshing out. Still, Europe’s where the money is.

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#17 Ducey
September 06 2010, 02:37PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I think the NHL is unlikely to open up the draft age thing while Ken Linsemen and John Tonelli are still alive.

I did a little research but couldn't find the story here. Is the concern another league will form like the WHA and steal all the high end 18 yr olds?

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#19 Pajamah
September 06 2010, 02:45PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

@ PabstBR55

Affiliate partnerships would work. Ideally find a couple of leagues in need of a little cash and sign them up.

@ Pajamah

I was thinking more about a league on par with the AHL. So that Saskatchewan farm boy could be playing in Cologne one day and the NHL the next. On the flip-side: T.S. for that Saskatchewan farm-boy if he’s not mobile for his job. There are plenty of other real-world jobs where you have to be willing to move for advancement.

One problem that brings up: the ability to call up guys on short notice. Obviously the bubble-players would have to be kept close by (i.e.: in North America). That would immediately make the Euro league 2nd tier, more of a development league. Hmmmm, this might take some more fleshing out. Still, Europe’s where the money is.

If it were on par with the AHL, it could be doable, in the sense that you have future NHL'ers, or borderline NHL'ers, these guys have to be used to living the life of a travelling professional.

But a 20 yr old hick kid, whos never played much outside of Regina, or western Canada, and doesnt have a shot at making a decent living outside of Pardubice, you'd see kids quitting the game altogether.

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#20 OilBaron
September 06 2010, 02:57PM
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You don't have to create a "new league", what you essentially do is divide a league and add to each. In 2001, with the IHL folding, the AHL took in the Chicago Wolves, Grand Rapids Griffins, Houston Aeros, Utah Grizzlies, Milwaukee Admirals and Manitoba Moose. Dividing the continent into East V. West.

The AHL has trended to teams moving westward. Teams now in Manitoba, Abbotsford, more in the US mid West, and into Texas.

The ECHL has successful teams in terms of attendance in Stockton, Ontario, and Toledo.

A realigning needs to take place.

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#21 PabstBR55
September 06 2010, 03:03PM
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@Pajamah

Yes, but given the existence of the AHL, ECHL, Junior, University / College, etc, it is fair to say that this "hick" at the very least has a choice.

Hick: "I ain't going to play in no Checkoslovakeeaa!"

NHL team: "Fine. Go play in Akron, Ohio where you'll be far far off our radar."

If taking a plane overseas is too much of a stretch for them, perhaps their lack of adaptability would hold them back from a meaningful pro hockey career, whether it's in Zurich or Zambia.

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#22 Mitch
September 06 2010, 03:21PM
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Lowetide this is a great idea if the C.H.L. was on board. Jordan Eberle for example should have played pro last year, with his talent he has nothing to prove at the junior level and would be a better fit developing within his age group of elite level players. Players in the CHL come into the leauge at 16 and can play till 20. If you could bridge the gap at say, have players turn pro when a guy is 19 it would probably help the development of players better.

Taylor Hall this year will be another great example of this, he may not be ready for the NHL but what is he gonna do in the OHL. Also a team can bring over a Euro developed player with no pro restrictions. This would be a better served system for elite NHL prospects.

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#24 Matt Henderson
September 06 2010, 04:16PM
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The Oilers only just figured out that having a Farm team was a good thing. Even more recently they figured out that stocking that club with decent players might be beneficial to the development of their prospects.

I think we're a long way out from anyone in Oiler Brass trying to figure out how to properly run another developmental club.

Asking these guys to run two quality farm teams is just asking too much. Would you ask madjam to win the Pulitzer Prize?

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#25 Matt Henderson
September 06 2010, 05:31PM
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*Not hockey related*

I cannot find a way to like Ricky Ray. My mind tells me he's pretty good on paper, but my inner fan just hates watching him play football.

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#27 Matt Henderson
September 06 2010, 05:38PM
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@Lowetide

Really? Because I was thinking this was more like Saw 8. At some point I will be given the opportunity to cut my own hand off if I want to change the channel.

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#29 Matt Henderson
September 06 2010, 06:17PM
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I've had root canals more entertaining than this game

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#30 stopyellingshootonthepp
September 06 2010, 07:04PM
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The theory of a AA league seems logical, I can't help but think that the NHL is simply not ready for it for a couple of reasons. First I tend to agree with the ideas stated earlier by ubermiguel, and others, regarding market saturation. Secondly, of the 30 teams in the league there are more than a handful who have been floundering below mediocrity for seasons, Oilers included. In markets with more accountability (Edmonton included), there is at least attempts at reconciliation of the issues facing the team, but the awful truth is that for some owners, an NHL team is vanity purchase, or an advertising opportunity for a larger brand, and an extreme development of minor league talent falls under the realm of irrelevant. I fear such a thing would allow the rich to get richer; a team like detriot with excellent scouting and development would only increase their wealth of talent, while the troubled southern markets would fall further into anonymity.

LT: Don't you think this second league would have a negative consequence on the European leagues? I see a lot of comments posted about the 'threat' of the KHL, but the truth is the KHL is not a desirable option for players without Russian Passports. I have been to games; they play in barns with cages, and the hockey is not great, and often underwhelming. Outside the Russian players returning home to follow the dollars, some players attempting to make comebacks, the league is not robbing the NHL of any real talent. See Jiri Hudler one-and-done tour of the KHL for proof. Don't you think a second North American affiliation league would debilitate some of the European leagues that actually create unique talent for NHL teams?

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#31 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
September 06 2010, 07:40PM
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beer? check

nachos? check

comfy chain? check

**clicks on eskimos game**

**clicks off eskimos game**

**sits in the dark sobbing...cuddling with beer**

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#33 a lg dubl dubl
September 06 2010, 08:36PM
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thank god i decided to take my son swimming instead of watching that so called football game. I could actually sit and watch last years oilers all over again than watch this years Eskimos

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#34 stopyellingshootonthepp
September 06 2010, 08:59PM
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LT: Good point on the NHL being scared of drafting deeper into the Russian talent level. I agree that there is a very reluctance to draft Russian that is hurting the overall talent of the league.

I still can't help but think that adding another official tier to the NHL would be against the interests of parity, and dissect elements of diversity that contribute long term benefits to the NHL. Take for example the Swiss National Team. In recent years Switzerland's national team has seen an increase in elite player development, and the Swiss league has gained in popularity at the national level. If there were to be a third tier available in North America, surely some players (both Swiss and other nationalities), would jump at the chance to be 'under contract' with an NHL franchise. The Swiss league would deteriorate to some degree, the Swiss National program would see the ripple effects, and eventually down the line a new generation of Swiss youngsters would lack in-country role models to idolize. A growing hockey nation would be somewhat (perhaps marginally, but still...) jeopardized by another league in a saturated market.

Just my thoughts, and I may be over-analyzing... Great, and interesting read though. As always, your topics and articles provide an excellent and relevant forum for hockey discussions.

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#36 GSC
September 06 2010, 09:47PM
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Those of you who watched the Esks/Stamps game hopefully just watched Boise/VA Tech. Would have put those pains of watching an abortion of a football game to rest, what a finish.

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#37 OilBaron
September 06 2010, 10:15PM
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Back to hockey... as a comparable idea, MLB develops players from both the AAA and AA level. Similar but different. Yes a player can go from AA to the Majors also AA to AAA and up to the bigs.

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#38 PabstBR55
September 06 2010, 10:50PM
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Unlike baseball or football, hockey has much less of a following in the United States. Already penching their pennies, I doubt you could sell the game to new American fans in markets that aren't already served by hockey. They would be too small to sustain a team of any professional calibre. The fact that Tulsa has a team is astounding.

There are an ample amount of leagues for a pseudo-professional hockey player to ply their trade, in North America, Europe, and even Japan. If a player happens to "fall through the cracks", its for the same reason that bad singers "fall through the cracks" and don't make it to Broadway, or past the 2nd round of Latvian Idol.

A possible re-alignment of leagues may yield more dollars and more interest, however The NHL, and the leagues feeding the NHL are saturated with talent. Scouts fulfill the role of evaluting that talent to make the NHL club competitive. Adding another league will not help in this regard.

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#39 geekay
September 06 2010, 11:58PM
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@ pabst

why not put these teams in places that aren't a hard sell, like saskatoon or regina? i am sure there are plenty of places in ontario and quebec that would support a team. the league would be full of canadian junior players anyway, let their fans and families have them for a few more years before they are off to american cities.

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#40 PabstBR55
September 07 2010, 07:32AM
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geekay wrote:

@ pabst

why not put these teams in places that aren't a hard sell, like saskatoon or regina? i am sure there are plenty of places in ontario and quebec that would support a team. the league would be full of canadian junior players anyway, let their fans and families have them for a few more years before they are off to american cities.

The answer: $$$$$$$$$$

Regina, Saskatoon, and every population centre in Ontario has at minimum a WHL or OHL team. Are you inferring that they bring in a semi-pro team to compete in the same market?

What folks need to understand is that the cost of running a team is not low. Many of the existing Junior, College, and Professional teams barely break even on the ledger, many operate at a loss.

You have to factor in coaching staff, players, and administrators salaries, a massive travel budget (especially if you're having SK teams play against ON teams), insurance, etc, etc.

It just won't make economic sense. Period.

If you want to create a lucrative league where there is none already, perhaps an East Asian league with teams in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. You could make a buck doing that.

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#41 VMR
September 07 2010, 09:01AM
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@Lowetide

I dont see how another development league helps with getting talented players out of Russia. If they're not coming now to play in the CHL or the AHL why would they come for another development league? Why would anyone in Europe that isnt coming over right now come to play in this second development league? Why wouldnt they stay and play in their own national league like Paajarvi was doing in the SEL?

It's a nice idea for having development options but there's no way the CHL supports it if it means they lose out on players and there's no way any of the national teams in Europe support it if it harms their leagues. Maybe there's a way to better use one of the existing leagues like the ECHL or the Euro leagues but I have serious doubts.

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#42 Ender
September 07 2010, 09:38AM
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PabstBR55 wrote:

If you want to create a lucrative league where there is none already, perhaps an East Asian league with teams in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. You could make a buck doing that.

Wouldn't work. Chris already established in the last thread that the Chinese don't watch hockey.

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#43 njdevilsfan_!7
September 07 2010, 10:35AM
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@Tha Legion

You can prevent an adult from making a living. The NBA has their 1 year in college (or Europe) minimum rule and the NFL has an age requirement too.

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#44 njdevilsfan_!7
September 07 2010, 10:38AM
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@GSC

Boise/VA was a great game. Give me college football over the NFL or CFL any day.

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#45 GSC
September 07 2010, 02:01PM
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njdevilsfan_!7 wrote:

Boise/VA was a great game. Give me college football over the NFL or CFL any day.

Hear, hear!

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#46 Bank Shot
September 07 2010, 04:16PM
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I like this idea Lowetide.

I guess there would have to be a low salary limit on the veteran players in the new league. If not, some team would be signing guys like Alexandre Giroux in a bid to win, and you'd have an identical situation as the AHL regarding kids leaving their jock straps on the ice.

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