Saturday, January 24, 2015

Juniors Leagues vs. High School Hockey

Every now and then we need to talk hockey on a blog titled "A MNHockeyMama's World."

The sincere care that your high school coach has for your social, academic and athletic growth and development is overridden by wins and losses in the business world of (Juniors) hockey. ~ Wes Bolin, Woodbury High School Boys' Hockey Coach, "The Privilege of Playing High School Hockey,", November 26, 2014
In the above article, Wes Bolin attempts to elevate high school above Juniors hockey by describing his view of a hockey utopia. Every year, multitudes of talented hockey players leave the Minnesota State High School League hockey to play at the junior league level. Because of this, there is an effort to keep the best talent playing at Minnesota's high schools, so Bolin, in his article, claims that high school players will "...maximize your skill potential in front of scouts at every level and fans who are passionate..." at high school games, and that "When you leave high school hockey, the game becomes a business..."
Players who have left MSHSL for the greener pastures of juniors hockey are generally quite happy as the "business side of hockey" is one that eliminates the political minefield that must be navigated from Mites through Bantams and into high school hockey.   In juniors, players experience caring coaches, great GMs, attentive owners and passionate fans. The outstanding coaching combined with talented players on both sides of the ice provides entertainment for hockey fans and increased experience for the players.  Absent is the favoritism found in high school where players of parents who "do" for the team/coaches are rewarded with choice positions and ice time. Instead, in juniors, the coaches choose players based on skill and merit, rather than on whom their parents are.  Bolin states that in juniors, hockey becomes "cut-throat"  as all the players are competing for a spot on the team, as if that doesn't happen on high school teams (did Bolin quit holding try-outs this year?  I don't think so.). Furthermore, unlike on some high school hockey teams, team/player discipline is meted out fairly according to the stated team/league rules.  And, contrary to many high school games, with the exception of the well attended State tournament, scouts are at the juniors games, and future prospects, including opportunities to play in Canada, Europe, college, or on other juniors teams are within players' grasp.
If high school hockey coaches wonder why they lose players to Juniors Leagues before those players graduate, perhaps this will give those coaches some insight:


I'm disappointed in our competitiveness and our compete level on one-on-one battles...Just individually we didn't compete well enough...We're not talented enough to just go out and skate... (emphasis added) ~ Coach Bolin, Woodbury Bulletin, January 7, 2014
So much for "sincere care"....

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