USA Hockey 2012 Annual Congress Junior Hockey Agenda

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USA Hockey 2012 Annual Congress Junior Hockey Agenda

Mark your calendars junior hockey fans, players and parents. January 12 through the 15th, 2012 at the Hilton Walt Disney World will be the site of the USA Hockey Annual Congress. There is much on the agenda, some simple book keeping items, some simple rule clarifications and some general language house keeping to be done.

The meat a potatoes can be found under the "Miscellaneous" items to be discussed and voted on when looking at how the face of junior hockey could be altered at these meetings.

Under the proposal submitted by USAH Executive Board Member John Tobin Tier III hockey would be limited to players aged 17 to 20, completely eliminating Tier III from being able to sign 16 year olds. While the USHL, NAHL and other recognized Tier II teams would be allowed to contract up to 2 players aged 16. Take note of the final sentence in the proposal, "No 16 year old player may participate in any game of a Junior team unless and until a petition has been approved in conformance with this paragraph."

This proposal is problematic in several ways. It does not account for players currently playing junior that next year would be excluded from playing junior based on the age change limits.

The discrimination in favor of Tier I and Tier II jumps off the page showing USAH clearly favoring these levels which could be interpreted as a conflict of interest at the executive level. This kind of favoritism would promote more Tier III teams leaving USAH and seriously damages any credibility USAH has as being administrators that treat its members fairly.

Glenn Hefferan makes a proposal for a National Card and uniform contracts. This proposal is long over due, and will force all teams to be above board in how many players they are signing and keeping. a proposal submitted by the USHL as a league offers clarity on many items, and offers many changes that improve what is already the best junior league in the United States. One item that jumped out was the financial resources needed to become a USHL owner in the future.

Under the proposed USHL changes, an owner would have to have a net worth of TEN MILLION DOLLARS, doubling the previous Five Million Dollar standard. The letter of credit required will be Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars.

Minimum amount of games to be played would be raised from 48 to 56. Staff upgrades and other expenditure increases would also be in place should this proposal pass. The USHL clearly is protecting its league, its owners, and in doing so is raising the standards to those rivaling Major Junior Hockey in Canada.

The question to be answered; Why would the USHL do this? Raising ownership standards within the league could easily be done through bylaw changes. simply change your bylaws to reflect the changes your owners would like to see and send off the new rules to USAH.

What is truly at work here is not a change to the USHL as surely almost everyone will read this proposal to be. This is a change to "Tier I" standards. But the USHL is Tier I right? Yes. Currently the USHL is the only recognized Tier I league in the United States.

The NAHL has been talking about, and not making a secret of its desire to have some of its teams form a Tier I level of the NAHL. The NAHL has expanded to arenas that now meet Tier I arena standards in some very nice cities throughout the United States. This piece of legislation within USAH looks to be a direct shot at curbing those Tier I desires and aspirations.

The new standard would disqualify nearly every NAHL owner from Tier I ownership based on financial standards alone. If a current group could meet the new standard and the NAHL did not have the newly required 8 teams to form the NAHL Tier I league, those owners would be forced to the USHL if they wished Tier I status. Requiring 8 teams is a raise from the current 6 team level required, which tells us that the NAHL may be getting close to 6 locations and ownership groups to make their Tier I league.

The additional financial reporting proposed along with minimum standards for nutrition, training and practices will also make it very hard for the NAHL to start its Tier I league.

The Junior Council has yet to submit its agenda, and the items listed are just a few agenda items to be addressed. TJHN will keep you up to date as more information becomes available.

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