Michigan, and the Detroit area in particular are considered by many as one of the prime areas for hockey player development.
Detroit however is one of the most over saturated markets in the country, if not the most over saturated markets in the country when it comes to Tier III junior hockey.
Between the NA3HL, and MWJHL there are five Tier III teams in the metro Detroit area. Just down the road the MNJHL has a team in Bay City Michigan that recruits from the Detroit area.
Also in the Detroit area are two OHL teams, Plymouth and Windsor. The NAHL is just up the road in Flint and Port Huron. A little south and you have another NA3HL team in Toledo Ohio.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Prep and very high level High School hockey being played in the area as well.
Considering that Midget AAA hockey is second to none in the Detroit area with teams such as Victory Honda, Little Caesars, Honeybaked, Belle Tire and others, its hard to argue that there is a lot of hockey going on at a high level in the area.
With seven NCAA Division One College Hockey programs located in Michigan, it is not only a prime training ground, but a prime scouting area. Having the USHL in Muskegon certainly doesn’t hurt either. Every level of hockey is represented in the State of Michigan.
Why, with all of the hockey already here, would anyone even attempt to place another Tier III junior hockey team in Detroit?
Why when teams are already fighting for players, with some not reaching full rosters until October?
It simply doesn’t make sense.
Brownstown Michigan is the latest expansion target. A proposal has been made to a the MNJHL to place a team in Brownstown for the 2014-2015 season.
Brownstown was once home to the NAHL with the Motor City Machine, a free to play team in a higher level league could not make it work. Prior to the Machine, Brownstown was home to the Bombers of the CEHL. The Bombers also failed in short order in a free to play league offering a higher level of competition.
While teams come and go all the time, one would have to ask, why Detroit? Its been done and done again.
Why not other markets that are completely under serviced? There are more than enough arenas in other Michigan cities that would be much better suited to expansion.
The MNJHL certainly wont be the last to look at this type of proposal for a Detroit area team. The MWJHL or another start up will come in and capture the arena thinking they can do it better than those that came before them.
The unfortunate bottom line for all of them will be a resounding negative response from other teams and players. Can you eventually fill a roster? Sure. But is it really Junior Hockey when all you are doing is recruitng bodies to fill a roster? I dont think so.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher