There were junior hockey games played this past season where both sides dressed a total of 25 players or less.
Was that bench clearing brawl the night
before and half the team was suspended? Nope.
The fact is, both teams only have that many players to dress.
We’ve been talking about the effect over
expansion would have on the tuition-based levels of play.
Aside from the high number of teams that simply went away, there are
more that are playing with a ridiculously low number of players.
The standard for what is acceptable
is simply unacceptable. Junior teams
should have to address a minimum of 17 players.
Anything less than that should result in a forfeit and forced removal
from the league. Now there should be
excuses that are acceptable. Accidents,
suspensions, or a wild outbreak of a flu.
Not being able to recruit a full-time is not a good excuse.
So what are the leagues going to do about this? My guess is absolutely nothing. Remember, the inmates are running the
asylum. Team owners are the ones making
up the rules and are doing so with no regard to player safety.
Ironman hockey? No, just ridiculously bad situations.
It’s time for the remaining leagues to exercise their authority and put an end to the madness.
USA Hockey is down to the North American 3 Hockey League and Eastern Hockey League. The Western States and United States Premier Hockey Leagues operates four other tuition-based leagues that are free from USA Hockey's oversight.
While the NAHL and EHL appear to be circling the wagons when it comes to expansion, the WSHL and USPHL can do pretty much whatever they want, and have.
The further consolidation of leagues could be the
only solution. Teams that can’t
fill rosters by the middle of September should simply go away. The problem is the fact that the leagues operating outside of USA Hockey (and Hockey Canada) are in the business simply for the money. Little things like player development and safety are not high priorities.
Where's the development in a team with a full roster clobbering one with a very short bench by ten goals? There's not. Enough is enough.
That’s just my opinion.
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