Coaches Conference

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The CHL made it official on Tuesday.
Teams will be allowed to select European goaltenders born in 1994 or 1995 only in the first round of its 2013 import draft. And they won’t be allowed to select them at all, beginning in 2014.
This is just wrong on so many fronts, not the least of which is the competition factor.
Major junior hockey is seen as being one step below the NHL. For 40 years, coaches have talked about the need for competitive training camps and wanting competition at the goaltending position. The theory being that competition only pushes elite athletes to be better.
If you are one level below the NHL, and if you are charging admission to your games, you absolutely should be trying to give your fans the best talent for their entertainment dollar.
But that’s not the case any more. The CHL cannot look its fans in the eye and, with a straight face, make the claim that it is working to ice the best possible product.
Someone should be embarrassed.
As someone pointed out, it’s a good thing that Canadian centremen aren’t being embarrassed by Euros in the faceoff circle.
And someone else mentioned that this is like Major League Baseball banning Dominican shortstops because there aren’t enough Americans in the big leagues at that position.
Yes, it is absolutely ridiculous and really, really short-sighted.
Like so many other things in Canadian hockey, goaltender development has to start in minor hockey.
With Hockey Canada’s decision to ban body checking in peewee hockey and below, perhaps it’s time to take a long, hard look at what is going on in Canadian minor hockey.
Perhaps it’s time to make a concerted effort to get rid of checking from behind and headshots.
Perhaps it’s time to make a concerted effort to get back to skill development. Fewer games. Fewer road trips. Fewer tournaments. More practices.
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Perhaps it’s time for Hockey Canada to share some of its wealth with the parents of aspiring goaltenders. Sunaya Sapurji of Yahoo! Sports details right here what it costs to outfit a minor hockey goaltender. Hey, my son wouldn’t be playing goal, not at that cost.
There also are some great comments in here from Detroit Red Wings goaltender coach Jim Bedard. Including this: “How about be better? Be better than them. In the NHL we can’t have import goalies eventually because we want to make sure that Timmy and Tommy and Bobby and Billy get a chance to play? If you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough. That’s the way it goes.”
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Kevin Woodley of InGoalMag.com takes a look right here at the CHL’s decision to get European goaltenders off its teams’ rosters. . . . There are a few statements here that just jumped off the computer screen as I was reading. . . . 1. “The Swedes and Finns both have a comprehensive national goaltending development plans. Canada has none.” . . . 2. “Goaltenders who have attended recent (Hockey Canada Program of Excellence) goalie camps said afterwards they were often told to do something one way at one station, and then the opposite way by a different coach at another station.” . . . 3. “The national models in Finland and Sweden are not just designed to develop better goalies, but also to develop better goaltending coaches right down to the grassroots level. It is about sharing knowledge and ideas to consistently improve and evolve, ideals that are hard to replicate in a Canadian system dominated by private, often insular, goalie schools.” . . . 4. “InGoal also had one former WHL goalie coach say that he learned a lot working with a European goalie that came over to the WHL years ago.”
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Chris Peters, over at The United States of Hockey, has his take on the CHL’s decision to rid itself of European goaltenders, too. That piece is right here.
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Just a thought, but goal scoring hasn’t been what it used to be for a number of years now. Perhaps the CHL could ban all coaches who employ anything that resembles a trapping defence.
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The Calgary Hitmen have restructured part of their front office. . . . Kelly Kisio, who had been vice-president, alternate governor and general manager, now is president of hockey operations and alternate governor. . . . Mike Moore, who had been director of business operations, has been promoted to general manager and vice-president of business operations. . . . Kisio had been the club’s GM since 1998, during which time the team has averaged 42 victories per season and won two Ed Chynoweth Cups (1999, 2010). . . . Moore, a former GM with the Kamloops Blazers and Medicine Hat Tigers, has been with the Hitmen since 2008. (He actually rejoined them, having served as assistant GM in 1997-98 before moving on to Kamloops.) . . . If you’re a WHL general manager and want to make a trade with the Hitmen, you call Moore. He’s now the man.
Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun has more right here.
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THE COACHING GAME:
The Everett Silvertips have called a news conference for Thursday, 2 p.m. PT, at which time a new head coach will be introduced. . . . That coach is expected to be Kevin Constantine, who will be returning for a second go-round with the Silvertips.

Aaron Wilbur has been named head coach of the Burnaby Winter Club’s Hockey Academy prep team. Among other interests, Wilbur spent this season as head coach of the junior B Richmond Sockeyes, who won the Pacific International junior league championship. . . . Wilbur also co-founded The Coaches Site – there is a link over there on the right – and is the head instructor at the Vancouver Hockey School. . . . The BWC’s academy teams – the prep team and the elite 15 team coached by Leland Mack – are scheduled to play in the Canadian Sports Schools Hockey League.
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From Mark Edwards (MarkEdwardsHP): “CHL goalie import rule is ridiculous. You can't claim to be the best junior league in the world without the best players.”
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From TSN’s Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger): “I'm all for developing North American goalies. However, if I were a CHL owner I would want freedom to utilize global resources to win games.”
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From WHL Facts (@WHLFacts): “15.08% - The percentage of the total minutes played this season by Import Goaltenders in the WHL (14,432 of 95,694)”
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More from WHL Facts: “3.06 - The WHL's combined GAA for the 2012-13 reg season... If you removed the Import Goaltender stats, that number would increase to 3.12”
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From Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin), the radio voice of the Swift Current Broncos: “I'm very disappointed to hear the CHL's decision on European goaltenders. It won't help Canadian goalies... just hurt the leagues involved.”
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More from Shawn Mullin: “If they think moving a few Jr A goaltenders up to the CHL every year will fix our national goaltending problem they're kidding themselves”
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From Adam Lowry (@ALowsyPlayer17) of the Swift Current Broncos: “Disappointed with the news about Import goalies being phased out of the CHL. We were privileged to have one of the best @eetu41 #suomi”
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From Red Deer Rebels G Patrik Bartosak (@PBartosak35), who is from Czech Republic: “@eetu41 it´s interesting how they talk about being the best, but when it comes to battleing with Euros, they want to ban us. Interesting”
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From Swift Current Broncos G Eetu Laurikainen (@eetu41), who is from Finland: “@PBartosak35 Yeap I don't how many people even want this rule to #CHL.. Well I don't that's for sure.”


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1 comments:

Anonymous said...

The reaction to this goalie decision is just a bit overwrought, don't you think? The competition argument simply doesn't follow. Goalies aren't tested by competition with other goalies. They're tested by competition with shooters, and that's the point that Hockey Canada is trying to make. Losing spots to Euro goalies means that some of our younger goalies aren't getting the minutes, facing shooters.

Not a perfect comparison, but the TSN soccer crew were talking about development in European footie, and how the the Italians, Germans and Dutch were developing their players better by requiring clubs to give playing time to under-21 age group players. They compared that model to the business-first model of the English premiership. The results speak for themselves. The premiership is the best league in the world, but England was last in their group at the U-21 tournament and has not done anything at the senior level in half a century. Meanwhile, Germany, Holland and Italy are consistently the top sides in Europe.

Don't get me wrong: I don't think the CHL goalie ban solves Canada's goalie problem. There clearly needs to be more development at the younger age groups and this focus on improving our goalies only works if it starts there.

And if the CHL really sees itself as a development league it will take a long hard look in the mirror. The CHL tends to take in creative, skilled players and mold them into players who can play good systems. Development for forwards and defencemen doesn't happen much in the CHL.

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