Before I get started, I want to be clear that the USPHL has not asked me to write or voice my opinion. I don’t favor the USPHL over any other league. If anything, I have allowed TJHN to be very critical of the USPHL in the past because they at the time deserved the criticism.
As my clients know, and hockey people understand, I am here for the players, and the players alone. Player opportunity is what we are talking about, not my personal opinion of the people involved in these decisions or the organizations these decisions effect.
Yesterday we discussed the denial of the USPHL application for Tier II status within the USA Hockey structure. Much of that denial was based solely upon how the USPHL proposed to raise prices, or “tax” the USPHL players below the free to play league next year.
The “tax” proposal would have amounted to approximately $100 per person per year to help fund 11 new free to play teams. Opportunity costs money. Shared costs are usually reduced costs for consumers. No different from ice arenas that sell all their ice having lower costs than those who only sell some of their ice.
The problem with the denial and the idea that the tax system is wrong to be implemented by the USPHL is that USA Hockey already has the tax system for the National Team Development Program.
Millions of dollars are spent on less than 60 players. How many millions? Well that’s not easy to figure out based on USA Hockey financial records. But it is at least THREE MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR.
Three million dollars per year spent on less than 60 players is more than FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS PER YEAR PER PLAYER.
That money comes from you. That’s correct. You pay for it with every USA Hockey membership, and every contribution. You pay for it with every showcase and event you support.
So, someone needs to explain how the proposed “tax” for the USPHL teams to offer more than 200 more FREE TO PLAY roster spots is any different than the USA Hockey “tax” to provide less than 60 NTDP spots.
Someone needs to explain how the NTDP “tax”, when the NTDP plays in the USHL is any different than any other USPHL team “tax” to play in the USHPL. Other than a set of initials, its sure doesn’t look any different.
While I respect Bob Fallen, the USHL should have recused itself from this vote simply because they already benefit from the NTDP “tax” that allows the NTDP to play in the USHL.
The Mark Frankenfeld, and NAHL also should have recused itself because of the exhibition games its teams play against the NTDP.
Anyone involved with the USHL, NAHL or NTDP should have recused themselves because it was a conflict of interest to vote or even discuss anything that could have a negative impact on your business.
The only people who should have voted on this were those who had no conflicts of interest. Who is that? Maybe you should ask USA Hockey.
Since when does any business tell any other business how they can fund their business? McDonalds sure doesn’t tell Wendy’s how much to sell their burger for. Why? Because they can’t. Only in hockey does this type of consumer benefit denial take place.
When only half of a league is within a reasonable driving distance of NCAA programs, that league will fear another league who is surrounded by some of the top hockey programs in the country.
Want to play in Texas where there are zero NCAA programs or Massachusetts where there are 10? Want to play in Minnesota where there are 5 NCAA programs or New York where there are 10? We know the answer.
Its appalling really. Sickening to think that families could be denied opportunity because people who don’t actually pay their bills are telling them how they will pay.
Top down management. Do as we say, and when we say, or don’t play. That is not inclusive, it is exclusive. It is the thought process that is killing the game with declining registration numbers in Canada, and the thought process has now crossed into the United States.
It is the “haves” telling the “have nots” that they are not deserving.
If there is one thing I learned in this business is that if you always do the right thing, no matter how it will effect you immediately financially, you will survive and grow. The second you start acting solely in your own self interests is when you signal the end to everyone around you.
The bottom line is that this decision was completely self serving. It was wrong, it hurts the game, and it hurts the players. The good thing that can come from this though……
Now, we all finally know who really is in this for the players.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher