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The GMHL’s Road To Respectability

The GMHL will soon be celebrating their twenty year anniversary. Twenty years in hockey is a long time by anyones measurement. Not many junior leagues, particularly at the pay to play level come close to reaching a twenty year milestone.

For many years, everyone at The Junior Hockey News has been critical of the GMHL. Collectively we had written well over one hundred and fifty articles calling out the many issues with teams in the GMHL’s past. Teams in every league have a way of defining how every league is perceived by its potential customers.

One way The Junior Hockey News evaluates teams and leagues, and whether or not we write stories on them is by the number of complaints or compliments we receive in our emails and social media. We receive complaints on nearly every league every year. Most of them based on facts, and some of them from disgruntled players and parents who sometimes have an agenda.

For two years now, The Junior Hockey News has not received a single verifiable complaint about the GMHL, its teams or league management. Two years is a long time, in fact we have had more complaints about higher level leagues in the last two years.

How is this possible?

League leaders Ken Girard and Bob Russell have clearly made very large efforts to improve ownership groups, quality of service those ownership groups provide, and quality of player they recruit. These changes came at great expense financially, but are proving to be a great investment in quality.

I have to admit, spending time recently watching a lot of GMHL games on line, the quality of play across the board is considerably better than many Tier 3 teams in the United States. There are a lot of very high quality players in the league now, and some of the import players are playing way below the level they could play in other leagues that do not allow, or have import player limits.

Shocked is the word I woud use to describe what I have watched. More shocking to me was learning that the GMHL broadcasts all their games online for FREE. Imagine how much money the league and teams have given up to do this, and how much money parents and family members have saved by not paying for watching online. This one thing alone is an incredible benefit for players families, and scouts.

Speaking of scouts. The GMHL is now attracting more scouts than it ever has. NCAA D-3 and plenty of ACHA scouts from every level can now be commonly be seen at GMHL games. The end result is added value for players and parents.

The road to respectability has been a long one, yet the GMHL has risen to the occasion, and has now joined the ranks of leagues that legitimately offer development and advancement opportunity to players.

Respect is given when it is earned, and the GMHL has earned it.

Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher

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