I was going to save this until Monday, but I have a busy weekend scouting planned. and we already have a story for Monday, so I figured I wouldn’t have time to write.
We are always getting questions and tips emailed to us. Some of them make it on TJHN, some don’t. A lot of people are emailing now, as they have in the past, and asking me why I am negative toward the NA3HL.
In order to be able to simply hit my delete button in the future I will answer this reader question now.
I am not “against” the NA3HL. I do not “hate” the NA3HL. I am not “out to get” the NA3HL.
I don’t hate the GMHL either. And although I know their paranoid minds think I am “out to get them”, I am not.
What I am “against” and “hate” are make believe, artificially inflated, and down right deceptive recruiting practices.
What most people don’t know is that I owned part of a franchise when the NA3HL was formed from the CSHL. So, I was completely informed when the whole “scheme” was developed about “affiliations” with the NAHL, and “tenders” with the NAHL.
Simply put, it started out as a player sales gimmick, and that’s what it is today. Nothing more. It was at that time, and learning of this deceptive practice, I asked my partners in that team to finish buying me out.
Now though the NAHL is forcing teams to draft one player from the NA3HL as well. Artificially inflating the appearance of development and advancement from the NA3HL to the NAHL.
The NA3HL used to be the most competitive Tier 3 league in the country. Not the best talent in the country, but most competitive, there’s a difference. I know, because I used to send dozens of players there every year. It used to be very good hockey from top to bottom of the league.
That stopped when the NA3HL over expanded, diluting the product in talent, and team operator quality. It became a business of franchise sales and not hockey player development.
The NA3HL is a shadow of what it was 5 years ago. It is, in terms of over all quality, simply on the same low level as the GMHL.
Quality. Not absolutely misleading development numbers is what is important.
While there are a small handful of teams that do everything right, the league tries to use those team reputations to prop up the rest of the teams. Unfortunately those good operators then have the rest of the league holding them back from really being great.
When they stop using the deceptive recruiting tactics, and start focusing on quality maybe then they can become respectable once again.
When NAHL rules require teams to “draft” and “tender” NA3HL, it is not “development”. It is complete deception to brag or say players were promoted when NAHL teams have no choice but to draft and tender these players.
Forcing your child to drink lemon grass smoothies as a young man, and forcing him to eat a plant based diet, is not him making a conscious choice about “living healthy”.
Forcing the NAHL to “draft” and “tender” NA3HL players is not the NAHL saying it wants to draft and tender these players. It is only the NAHL teams following the rules under penalty of a fine.
If the NAHL actually valued the NA3HL, the bulk of the drafted and tendered players would come from the NA3HL. The fact is that in multiple years the NAHL did not draft any NA3HL players. So, the NAHL made a rule that all teams must draft an NA3HL player in order to make the NA3HL look better than it actually is.
When you have 34 players drafted out of a 34 team league, its not real impressive. When the majority of those players don’t survive a full NAHL season after being drafted, it becomes even less impressive.
Maybe instead of using these smoke and mirror tools, the NA3HL should simply stop. Focus on the actual on ice product, and maybe then the league could return to what it once was.
I would have the same opinion of any league who had the same practices, the set of initials on its website would not matter.
Celebrating true achievement is what every league should do. Celebrating that the NAHL followed rules it has no choice but to follow is simply dishonest advertising without telling the consumer the whole story.
Anyone who thinks that point of view is unfair either works for the NA3HL, or simply doesn’t have common sense.