OHL Draft College Recruits

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OHL Draft College Recruits

Think the battle between the NCAA and Major Junior Hockey in Canada is going to slowly fade away? Think again.

Looking over the OHL draft results this weekend its clear that the OHL vs NCAA war is still being waged. Even when players have publicly expressed the that their plans do not include Major Junior Hockey, and that they have already given commitments to schools, teams still spent picks on them in the draft.

The Plymouth Whalers used their 9th round selection to draft 2014 Badger recruit Jake Linhart. The Brookfield, Wisconsin native is a defenseman who currently plays for the Chicago Mission U16 team.

Plymouth took a shot at another Badger later in the draft when the selected 2015 Badger recruit Seamus Malone in the 14th round. Malone, a forward from Naperville, Illiinois plays on the same Chicago Mission U16 club with Linhart.

Christian Novak (Chicago Mission U16), and Ryan Mantha (Belle Tire U16) were also selected on Saturday. Novak was taken in the 8th round by London, and Mantha in the 5th round by the Soo Greyhounds.

Does this mean that these players will be heading off to the OHL? No, it does not, and in most cases, the team selecting these players realy didnt publicize the pick over the weekend. The OHL teams dont draft players in the later round if they think they can sign the player and get them to report. The earlier the pick the more confident the team.

So why make the selection then? On the odd chance that a player starts rethinking their career path, on the odd chance the player gets selected in the NHL draft and the NHL club suggests the player go to the OHL for a year before tunring professional. There are many reasons for this and many ways to look at it.

If a player commits to school, he should be allowed to keep that commitment without interference. A commitment is a written one though, and not a verbal commitment. The NHL could help with this as well, it wouldnt take too much to say, "hands off signed recruits".

A contract is a contract. Major Junior, College, or Pro, if you sign a contract you should honor the agreement. You cant just up and leave an NHL club if you dont like it once your drafted. There are certain time frames to sign an NHL drafted player, and once that contract is sisnged the player is obligated. Why would it be any different for NCAA programs?

What would happen, if NCAA changed the rules and any player who left after accepting a scholarship had to repay the scholarship money accepted if they left early for a competing program such as Major Junior? Think players from big schools getting $30,000 a year in scholarship money would want to return $90,000 to leave for the OHL in their senior year? That would certainly make some players rethink things.

Could they leave for the NHL? Sure because thats not a "competing program". Few people woould complain about a player moving up to collect regular large paychecks.

So in a game of honor, and one controlled by contracts, why would anyone try to get a player to break a contract, even as a long shot? Is it a wonder the NCAA vs. Major Junior is such a problematic issue? Not when these types of drafts keep taking place, and NCAA programs keep loosing prospects to Major Junior even after the player is already in school. This issue is not going away any time soon.

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