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The NCDC – Business Model Part II

I am really enjoying the debate I am having over yesterdays article. Some people have contacted me with some very intelligent topics of conversation.

Some on the other hand are social media gangsters who want to push their own programs or those programs they support. That’s ok too, and I am getting some laughs.

Getting further into this, let me be clear, I have supported every other league for decades, not just the NCDC. What I don’t support is the absolutely asinine decision of USA Hockey to not embrace the NCDC business model approach. And I will explain why….

The NCDC is opportunity. Free to play. So is the USHL, NAHL, and BCHL. All four of these leagues operate differently. Three of the four leagues can not survive without ticket sales, sold sponsorships, camp revenues, and the generous donations of successful business owners who own the teams.

After all USA Hockey uses the same exact model to fund the NTDP! Where do you think all those registration fees go? Every youth player in the country paying up so that the few can play for free in a closed environment. Millions of dollars funneled to a few players. But no one complains about this approach?

Every league is a business. This is not a hobby people. Very few of these teams are philanthropic ventures. They are there to make someone money some how.

Now some people don’t like that youth hockey players are paying extra to support the NCDC. Actually the bulk of that financial support is coming from Tier 3 players, and the average markup is $750 per year. The cost associated with potentially moving up or creating opportunity for future advancement is minimal. Refer back to the NTDP comment if you dont understand.

People are complaining about this funding model while other teams are charging every player $450 per camp for a lottery ticket to win one of the three on average open roster spots?

People complain about the cost of Tier 3 and AAA after wasting thousands of dollars every summer on team camps where there wasn’t real opportunity?

That sounds a bit like people complaining about their own poor choices to chase the dream after a good sales pitch.

Still others want to say but its not USA Hockey. Who cares? Independent hockey has been around for decades. NCAA Hockey is not USA Hockey either, but everyone is trying to get there. USA Hockey is an insurance provider and brand marketer.

Yet, even though the NCDC is not USA Hockey, the USHL, NAHL and BCHL are regularly trying to get NCDC players. The draft results and rosters are all public information.

What about all the other Tier 2 leagues in Canada that are charging upward of $10,000 to play? That was funny to see one coach who charges players in Canada chime in.

Yes. Every team after this pandemic will have issues recruiting at the pay to play level. Simply based on people not having the money this year. This will cause some teams in Tier 3 to fold. Its an over due market correction.

Will it impact the NCDC? Not really. The USPHL is so large it will be like a mosquito bite.

Someone still has yet to explain to me what happens to the Tier 2 leagues in Canada who charge these fee’s when players cant pay them?

Someone still has yet to tell me what happens to teams who are told they cant sell tickets or have fans at games? Or they can only sell socially distanced seating that will remove 50% of ticket revenue?

Someone has yet to tell me what happens to teams and leagues who are told by sponsors that due to their shut down and layoffs, they don’t have the money to sponsor the team this year? Or that because of the lower ticket sales numbers, the sponsorship value isn’t the same and they wont pay as much?

The BCHL has already publicly stated that they have gone through their emergency fund. They are applying for government aid. Every team has the option of going dark for this coming season. Why? Because the BCHL see’s that this emergency is just beginning.

Sure, the NAHL and USHL as business operations will get some of the governments money. That’s great. Because all free to play hockey is great.

But lets not forget that these teams couldn’t finish the playoffs for this past season. All that revenue was lost. These same teams now are trying to anticipate the market in ticket sales, and sponsorships, and it can not be done accurately.

So, owners will either come up with more cash out of pocket, or they wont. Then what happens?

So, rather than USA Hockey saying “my way” or the NCDC saying “my way” doesn’t it make a lot more sense to embrace new and different business operational approaches?

Lets not forget, the USPHL is still USA Hockey.

Only the Junior Hockey section is self managed. They are the largest organization in the United States under USA Hockey. It’s time people remember this and understand that it was smart business to not rely on sponsorships, tickets, and owners money.

So all those players and parents who eventually spend an average of $5000 going to camps this summer, only to learn you have to go back to AAA or Tier 3, here is some more math for you.

Going to all these camps for an average of three years as a player, getting more desperate each year will cost you approximately $15,000. Playing in the USPHL for 10 years paying $750 to support the NCDC will cost you $7500. Assuming you don’t make any Tier 2 team in either scenario, which is the most cost effective opportunity?

Hockey is a business. Not a charity. Successful business operators in any business do things differently than their competition. There is nothing wrong with it.

McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s are all competitors. They all do something a little differently. People have a choice. In the end though, a cheeseburger is a cheeseburger.

And hockey is hockey.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser


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