My colleague on the other site, wrote a piece on Major Junior and his opinion of why they should be classified as amateur athletes. While he is entitled to his opinion, it is not based on the facts of why Major Junior players are considered Professional.
Major Junior players are professional athletes under the LAW of the United States. They are paid athletes. Period. In the United states, every Major Junior Player from another country is granted admission under a P-1 United States Work Visa. P-1 Status is given to Professional Athletes…..Only after the TEAM applies for that status and the Visa.
So, in the United States, the Teams even say, by their actions and the Visa that the athletes are professional.
The “stipend” is only a small part of the discussion. Major Junior players are also under NHL contracts in many cases. That makes them professional.
Major Junior players very often attend NHL training camps, and while there they receive Per Diem pay and other non-amateur athlete items.
Major Junior player show are under NHL contract often get to play in NHL games in the regular season before being sent back to junior. These players get paid for those games.
Major Junior players often at the end of a season go to AHL and ECHL teams under ATO’s (Amateur Try Out) agreements. Though not professional contracts, players receive Per Diem and other cash value benefits.
All of these things and more make these players Professional players under the law.
I personally have done contracts for Major Junior players where many perks of cash value have been in the contract. Those items of cash value while not illegal do make the athlete a Professional.
The NCAA Rules on Amateur hockey players have been in place long before the USHL was an Amateur hockey league. They were never designed to protect the USHL or any other league other than the NCAA.
The argument that players don’t know what they are doing at 16 when going to Major Junior doesn’t hold water. There is too much information out there today for anyone to make that claim.
The argument that the stipend is the root of the problem is misleading at best.
Major Junior set the system up with the NHL to work exactly this way. It is designed to keep players in the league unless they go to the NHL. Period. Major Junior teams don’t want to lose players to the NCAA, and the NCAA doesn’t want to lose players to Major Junior.
There are two paths. Pick one. Deal with the consequences of your choice. Its called life. Don’t snivel about how you made a bad choice later if you make the wrong one. Its called a choice for a reason, you own it. Its your responsibility and your family’s responsibility to make an informed decision.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser