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Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – NCAA And Canadian University Scouting Bias

I am Canadian.  I have been a Head Coach, Assistant Coach, Scout and consultant for team at the highest levels of junior hockey.  I have worked with the pro and the amateur player.  I have been round the world watching the game and the global development of the game.

It is only within the last ten year or so that I really watch the NCAA hockey and learn what it is and can do for the player and student.  For me it is a wonderful level to watch.  The talent is fantastic, and the development speak for itself.

I also love Major Junior and Canadian Junior A.  It too is fantastic level of play.

Last week TJHN finish it publishing of league ratings.  The boss here write his piece and touch on a subject I do not think about.  Scouting bias.

After reading his opinion, I sit and think.  I look at my own behavior.  I ask my friend their opinion.  I ask some coaches their opinion.  I say to myself is this true?  Is this some unconscious thing I do?  I examine my own habit.  Where do I go to watch the game?  Where are the NCAA scout I see a lot of?

I start to look at NCAA roster over the weekend.  I start to look at commitment number and locations for future NCAA player.

To be sure the USHL is the top NCAA prospect league.  There is no question.  The NAHL do fantastic job as well.  But when I look at all the number it become clear that scout go to Canada for Canadian player still more than they do in the United State.

So I look at where NCAA coach are from, where scout are from.  If they play before where did the play.  The result is shocking to me.

The more Canadian Coaches and Scouts, the more Canadian player at the school.

For some program is the opposite.  Some recruit almost exclusive from United States.

There are obviously clear bias in some program though.  The public report do not lie.  Commitment for each NCAA program are announce for both D-1 and D-3.

So I ask myself;

“If USA Hockey and Hockey Canada have import limit in every league for the amount of out of country player, why do the NCAA school not have such a rule?”  A hard question to answer is it not?

An even harder question to answer for myself, and for the other friend I ask as well was “If these NCAA schools are all in United states, and most are funded by citizen tax dollars, how do those tax payer feel about the money they pay not going to local player or American player first?”

I know some people will now say that is a terrible question to ask.  Some will say it is inappropriate.  Some time, the most appropriate question to ask is the one that make people squirm in their seat is it not?

If Hockey Canada want Canadian born player primary in their leagues, and USA Hockey want American born player primary in their league, then why not Canadian player go to Canadian University primary and American player go to NCAA primary?

After all, you do not see Canadian University recruiting many American player.  Everything I say here about NCAA scouting, the reverse is true for Canadian University.

Are you uncomfortable with those question?  Are you angry?  Are you saying to yourself that it should be that way?  Or are you saying that NCAA opportunity should not be limited to anyone?  Are you saying it is an international game and there should be option for everyone around the world in NCAA?

If everyone should have the NCAA opportunity, should not everyone have the opportunity to player junior in the United States and Canada without restriction?

Perhaps some people now be pissed off at me.  But is this not questions everyone should be asking?  Maybe some people need to have this conversation.  I doubt I am the first to have these question.  But I think I am the first to ask in the public.

Coach

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