Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A 'major' debate (update)

This is in no way intended to rip Tyler Pitlick for making the decision to leave Minnesota State for Medicine Hat. Whether he doesn't like school or wants to play more games, he has to make the decision he feels is best for him, ultimately. I do think he was due for a breakout sophomore season in the WCHA and, like many who follow the Mavericks, a tad disappointed we won't get to see that in Mankato.

That said, his decision seems to have quietly turned into a referendum on college hockey, at least in the minds of those who drafted him and others in Edmonton and around parts of the NHL, where there still seems to be pockets of anti-college bias.

The debate between college hockey and major junior hockey is a big reason why the college hockey commissioners hired Paul Kelly last November to promote their sport around North American and to prospective players. When one of NBC's most visible hockey analysts takes his digs at "university hockey," you can't plan those running the college game that they need a forum to rebut.

Anyway, here's a take on what happened over the weekend.

UPDATE: Check out this page and the audio link at the bottom that shows how College Hockey Inc., is trying to sell college hockey to prospective players in California.


Dford44 said...

I recently moved to Lake Crystal from Canada and my Home town is the reigning Major Junior Champs for the past 2 years and I have seen some great hockey but having said that I have been to many MSU games already and think it’s also great Hockey. Probably 1 of the best Penalty killing teams I have seen in a long time. Now I read the article in the paper today June 29th and I think what the Management team in Edmonton is saying is that the Major Junior system is a lot closer to the NHL rules and style of play this makes players better prepared when they make the next step. If you look at most players that come straight from College to Pro they really tail off in the second half of the Pro seasons because they only play half as many games and are not ready for 82 games. Major Jr. play 72, and in Major Jr they have the trapezoid behind the net as they do in the NHL and fighting is allowed in Major Jr. It’s not that college has less talent or it’s the wrong way to go, that’s not at all the case, the games are highly intense and very good hockey. But players are just more prepared for the long 82 game grind that is Pro Hockey. Go Mavericks!

Mike said...

In your Free-Press article on Pitlick's decision to move to Major Juniors, you quote Pierre McGuire and paint his words as anti-college hockey.

McGuire, on draft day however, had this to say about Brock Nelson's commitment to play for UND: "I'm just glad he's going to North Dakota, because again, we talk about how they develop hockey players there. It's a tremendous institution if you want to be a hockey player. They'll help you along. Jonathan Toews went there and did very, very well."

I wonder if he truly doesn't like college hockey? Or if maybe he just doesn't think as highly of Mankato hockey?

Minn17 said...

Does anyone know if there is any equivalent to baseball's Cape Cod or Northwest League for hockey? I know some NHL teams have week long development camps...but what would happen if college players played in summer hockey leagues that were geared towards development? Couldn't that work to make up the disparity in games played between the college schedule and major juniors?

Shane Frederick said...

Interesting idea, Minn17. However, I think the grind of hockey - the wear and tear on bodies - might be a little much to play such a league in the offseason. The equivalent might actually be the USHL, NAHL and other Junior A leagues, which players play in while retaining full college eligibility.