When players and parents are looking at their choices in the Tier III hockey market, many are now looking at the Eastern Hockey League.
The answer to why is much more simple than you might think. Sure the EHL is in a great footprint for NCAA scouting. That’s easy enough for anyone to see by looking at a map. It one of the reasons why they have lead the nation in NCAA D-3 and D-2 placements.
The other reason why, and perhaps one of the most important reasons is that the EHL sticks to “age specific programing”. Meaning that the EHL teams do not regularly raid, or try to convince players that leaving AAA programs is good for their development.
The proof is in the EHL numbers.
The 16 member teams of the EHL have a grand total of 20 players from the 2000 or 2001 birth years on their rosters. That’s it. Those that are on rosters are either very highly regarded Tier II prospects for next season, or had no AAA team close to them to play on.
Some of these younger players have already signed Tier II tenders for next year, signed Tier II Affiliate Player agreements, or have been contacted by Tier II teams regarding their draft prospects for the spring.
In speaking with EHL Director of Hockey Operations Mark Kumple at an EHL showcase earlier this season one comment he made said everything you need to know about the EHL development philosophy;
“You can not rush, or speed up the development process by playing junior at an age where the player isn’t ready to compete at that level. Our teams know this, and they recruit older players because of it. They want more physically and mentally mature young men who are closer to attending college. This is what the schools tell us they want. You can not rush the development process.”
In a world of trying to provide instant or more immediate gratification, the EHL subscribes to an older axiom that time and the proper usage of it will allow for more successful development.
While many leagues give themselves “tag lines” for marketing purposes, the EHL has its “tag line” in their development platform. The Eastern Hockey League – Development The Right Way.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher