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An Advisers Life – What Is “Sanctioned Hockey” Really?

I really enjoy a lot of the emails I get from readers asking questions that really should have common sense answers. Unfortunately though, those common sense answers are usually hiding behind layers of propaganda and marketing from various organizations.

So, lets clear up what a “Sanctioning” or “Governing” body is.

USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, AAU and all the other various governing bodies are insurance companies, or insurance providers who have their policies underwritten by larger insurance companies. These bodies create and rules of play and pick Olympic teams for various sports. That’s it.

This is all a governing body is. They are a business. They are not the “authority” of all things hockey. They are not the church at which people are told to worship, and they are run by people who make mistakes like the rest of us.

The term “Outlaw” or “Unsanctioned” was developed by the Governing Bodies and Sanctioning Bodies that are intimidated by anything that is not controlled by them. Because it interferes with their income and control.

NCAA Hockey is NOT SANCTIONED, by USA Hockey. The NHL is not sanctioned by USA Hockey or Hockey Canada.

High School Hockey in many cases is NOT SANCTIONED by USA Hockey or Hockey Canada.

These “Sanctioned” teams that promote themselves based upon that “sanctioning” regularly recruit and sign players from the alleged “Outlaw” or “Unsanctioned” teams.

The “Outlaw” or “not sanctioned” teams regularly poach players from “sanctioned” teams who find themselves unhappy in their situation.

Hockey, when operated in a professional manner in well funded conditions is the same regardless of what the governance is.

Make no mistake. This is big business. “Sanctioning” is a multi million dollar per year business. No one wants to have a single dollar leave, and that is all “sanctioning” is.

So when you find yourself looking at opportunity, remember that sanctioning has absolutely nothing to do with opportunity. Every organization needs to be evaluated on its own merits.

There are great teams in every league, and there are terrible teams in every league. Sanctioning from one body or another is not a protection against a bad experience. It is simply insurance in the event of on ice injury, and when that happens, good luck getting coverage because like any other insurance company they rarely pay anything unless taken to court.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser

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