Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bavis takes lead in promoting U.S. college hockey

The American Hockey Coaches Association, facing increasing competition for talented players from the aggressive marketing tactics of Canadian major junior teams and leagues, plans to embark on its own campaign to counter what it believes is misinformation. In an effort to level the playing field for recruiting, the NCAA has approved a rule change that allows earlier contract with a prospect.

According to USHR, "Under the new legislation coaches will be allowed to make one telephone call per month to a prospective student-athlete on or after June 15th at the conclusion of the player’s sophomore year in high school. A year later – on July 31st after the player’s junior year in high school – the rules revert to what is the current norm, i.e. one call per week."

A Boston Herald news story reports that BU assistant coach Mike Bavis is taking a leadership role in the effort and quotes him as saying “We’re in the early stages of trying to reach people in the NCAA and let them know that there are things that are unique to college hockey. We’re the only sport that competes against an outside entity.”

UMass head coach—and two-time NCAA champion as a Terrier—Don Cahoon points out “It’s a real problem that we all have to step up and address. They’ll start speaking to them at 12 or 13 years old. We think they’re misrepresenting themselves on selling the academic issue. Every kid that goes that route, they’re inundated with the hockey issue at the expense of the academic side of it.”

The Ontario Hockey League has produced a brochure that contends it offers players the best combination of hockey and academics.

A post in the Western College Hockey blog, however, pokes holes in the OHL’s academic argument and reveals the details of the WHL and QMJHL academic allowances, as well. The post points out that:

In the OHL, they have a tiered benefit system. First round draft picks get their tuition, books, and board covered. Second through fifth round picks get tuition and books, and everybody else only gets tuition covered. The OHL also caps expenses at $15,000 per year.

We’ll follow the AHCA’s efforts are they evolve and report on them.

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