The COVID pandemic presented a very large set of problems for all hockey players. Perhaps the largest problem was created by the NCAA when it made a rule giving every NCAA player an extra year of eligibility. This extra year has become a completely misused and largely weaponized tool for players and schools to “game” the system.
The NCAA clearly did not think this rule through. It has created a complete disaster in recruiting and has left committed players out in the cold.
Allow me to explain;
Because every player has an extra year of eligibility, players who have already played four years of NCAA hockey are now transferring to schools of their choice for an additional fifth year! This is not what the rule change was intended to do, and it is an abuse of an incompetent system set up by the NCAA.
These transfers, even after playing this season, are going to a new school, and keeping those incoming freshmen who were supposed to start their NCAA career, off the ice. They are being delayed another year, so that players, who obviously could not earn an NHL opportunity, are taking another kick at the can.
Frankly, its BS. The NCAA should have been clear on this rule, and they allowed it to happen. Now, because of their continued displays of management incompetence, they are not even trying to correct it.
All is not lost though.
Those players who are being redshirted, can take their part time classes on line, and go to Europe while maintaining their amateur status.
If you are a 2000 born player, there are still options for you in Europe, and you would still be NCAA compliant. When the junior hockey door closes, its time to look for the other door that opens, and that door is in Europe.
Yes. There are expenses. There are also expenses in going to school part time and not playing, or going to school full time and not playing. Would you rather be playing and improving or not? On the ice or off? Another lost season or playing full seasons in safe environments?
These are the questions every red shirt freshman is now asking themselves. All of these questions are answered by playing in Europe.
The other advantage? Everyone says they want to play professionally in Europe after they play NCAA. There is no better way to make that happen than to get in front of European scouts. European scouts don’t go to North America to watch NCAA hockey.
Be effective with your planning if you are one of the players who will have to sit a season. Make the choice to continue developing, and be better prepared for next season when your roster spot opens.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser