Tenders, Drafts Protected Lists & Standards

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Tenders, drafts protected lists & standards August 10, 2012 9:01 AM

By Michael Fatis and Harry Urschel
MnJHL Executive Committee Members

The Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MnJHL) has been at the forefront of adopting rigorous standards. Last season, before being mandated by USA Hockey, each team employed an educational coordinator to monitor player’s school progress and provide advice when needed. The league for years has required screening of all adults who come in direct contact with players including staff, billets and coaches. The league is currently in partnership with USA Hockey officials, preparing to further progress to transition to college hockey playing rules. The league’s discipline committee has increased suspensions for players engaged in dangerous play as safety is a top priority.

As a Tier III league, the MnJHL has kept player tuition costs as low as possible. The league average tuition is around $5,400 but varies from team to team. The tuition includes all travel costs, travel meals, off-ice training and everything included in the Tier III standard of play (see below).

For prospective junior hockey players, summer is often the most challenging of times. While they prepare and hope to play at Tier I or Tier ll levels, many experience frustration when they, at the last moment after exhausting try-outs, must seek playing opportunities at Tier III. The demands, ambiguity and expense of tryouts are not the only problems that they encounter. Several terms and procedures such as ‘tender,’ ‘draft,’ ‘protected list,’ ‘tuition,’ ‘contract’ and ‘standard of play’ often confuse and limit their understanding of options. Many players fail to consider the full range of possible choices.

This is especially the case at the Tier III level. Players and their families, all too often, feel constrained by being drafted or tendered, etc., and thus limited in their choices. Let’s try to shed some light on all of these terms and procedures.

What you should know:

Standards of Play – USA Hockey mandates standards of play such as practice time, medical requirements, travel, etc. These include Tier I (USHL), Tier II (NAHL) and Tier III (MnJHL) standards. If a league website displays the USA Hockey logo, they are responsible to adhere to the standards of play. The standards of play are available at usahockey.com.

Tuition – Tier I and Tier II standards do not require tuition. Only Tier III teams charge tuition. Leagues that advertise they are Tier II and charge tuition do not follow USA Hockey standards.

Tenders – A player signing a tender is obligated to a team in a league. The player is still free to pursue other leagues.

Draft – A player drafted is bound to a team in a league. The player is still free to pursue other leagues.

Protected List – Once the season starts, a team files a protected list with USA Hockey. A player must be on the protected list to appear in league games. Early in the season, teams may carry more players than the protected list allows. A player may always check his playing status by visiting usahockey.com. If a player is not on the protected list, he may pursue another league.

Free Agents – During the summer months, May-August, all players are free agents and may pursue other leagues, but not other teams within their former league.

Contract – A player who signs a team’s contract is obligated to the team financially. Contracts may be broken, but financial obligations must be fulfilled.

A word on player advancements – Many Tier III leagues list advancements as a measure of their success. The MnJHL list only includes players who actually play on Tier I, Tier II teams or college hockey programs. The list does not include tenders, draft picks or players attending try-outs as other leagues may do.

To learn more about the Minnesota Junior Hockey League, please visit mnjhl.com.

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