In keeping with a report on Thursday morning, the OHL season is being put on hold as soon as once more (from OHL season benched till additional discover as Ontario struggles with COVID-19, QP Briefing, April 15, 2021). At this level, it’s actually beginning to appear to be there received’t be a season even because the league continues to attempt to make one occur.
Time is working out to get a season in and it’s time to begin desirous about what you do if nothing occurs. Extending the eligibility of gamers just isn’t one thing the CHL need’s to must do, however it’s price not less than a dialog.
Why Ought to They Contemplate Prolonged Eligibility?
Each participant within the OHL has been off the ice for over a yr now losing plenty of opportunities to enhance their sport and probably even their likelihood to be chosen within the NHL Entry Draft. After their final sport within the OHL, some gamers may by no means play one other hockey sport at a excessive degree. Life isn’t all the time honest, however the way in which some may finish their OHL profession is simply merciless.
Discovering a strategy to enable not less than among the league’s older gamers to get somewhat bit extra sport motion within the league can be a large step in righting among the wrongs. Clearly, there can be points that crop up and can get to these later, however these may be solved adequately.
Hockey Canada has already had their voices heard on the matter, however that got here earlier this winter when leagues have been starting to get again on the ice. Slowly, different leagues round Canada have began enjoying even when it’s an on and off deal, however the OHL hasn’t even devised a strategy to get gamers on the ice collectively.
“Hockey Canada doesn’t anticipate altering its age classifications for the 2021-22 season,” the group mentioned in a statement to rdnewsNOW. “Hockey Canada has empathy for any younger one who has been disadvantaged of the chance to expertise important occasions of their lives over the previous yr because of the COVID-19 pandemic, corresponding to attending their highschool commencement, leaving dwelling for the primary time to attend college, or collaborating in extra-curricular actions, together with enjoying hockey.”
“Whereas our members in a number of elements of the nation proceed to carry out hope that they are going to be capable of provide our gamers the chance to return to the ice earlier than the tip of the present season, it has change into obvious that no matter hockey actions these members could possibly provide, will differ considerably from these which might be provided throughout a typical hockey season,” provides Hockey Canada.
The above assertion to rdnewsNOW was printed on Feb18, 2021, and serves as one of many solely instances Hockey Canada has talked concerning the prolonged eligibility choice for his or her member leagues. To date, Hockey Canada has primarily mentioned too unhealthy so unhappy to all of their gamers and thrown their palms up within the air as a substitute of taking a look at methods to clean issues over.
There Are Many Points With Prolonged Eligibility
Though on paper it appears nice to provide among the older gamers within the OHL longer within the league, there are such a lot of points that may make it extremely powerful to tug off. The very very first thing to think about is whether it is even attainable for Hockey Canada to provide enable gamers the additional yr within the OHL however not within the QMJHL or the WHL. The three leagues run an identical guidelines and laws and altering them for one however not the opposite might compromise the integrity of the league and in flip the Memorial Cup for years to come back.
One other subject to think about is what permitting gamers one other yr might do for these not but enjoying within the OHL. For the gamers who’re about to be drafted this spring/summer season, making a roster beneath regular circumstances is tough sufficient, now you add one other handful of 21-year-olds to the fray and it’s much more tough and probably even unimaginable for some.
In the event you determine which you could enable gamers an additional season, there are nonetheless extra points to consider. You must determine what number of gamers are allowed to proceed enjoying every season. Usually, CHL groups can costume three over-agers every sport however that must change. Do you simply enhance that quantity and contemplate the 21-year-olds as a part of that overage restrict? Do you create a complete new class for them? In that case, what number of are every crew allowed to hold at one time?
Moreover, would everybody at present on a roster have this prolonged eligibility? It will solely make sense that if somebody will get it, everybody will get it and that would come with gamers like Ty Nelson who have been simply drafted and have by no means performed a sport within the OHL. How far down the chain are you keen to go? This will surely take time to develop away from among the youthful children for years to come back.
So many points, however that doesn’t imply there shouldn’t be a dialog concerning the idea of prolonged eligibility. There’s a strategy to make issues work and make most individuals completely happy and though it received’t be straightforward, the gamers deserve the league to not less than check out it.
There Are Methods to Make it Work
That is the place I can placed on my commissioner hat and make the foundations. These aren’t excellent, however they’re probably higher than nothing relying in your thought course of. If I used to be in command of making this choice, I’d broaden rosters for every crew by two gamers, each of these gamers must be 21-year-olds. I’d change the utmost allowable over-agers dressed for every sport to 4 as a substitute of three. These 4 gamers could possibly be any collection of 20 and 21 year-olds.
There isn’t a state of affairs the place everybody goes to be completely happy. Some older gamers received’t be capable of get well their misplaced season and a few youthful gamers can be given a much bigger problem to make the roster, however this answer can be a good assembly level. Not excellent, however possibly adequate is all we’re going to get.
I’m certain that my concept isn’t even the perfect one. There’s virtually definitely somebody on the market smarter than I’m who might give you one thing higher, however the CHL and Hockey Canada have to not less than hearken to what they must say. Whereas life isn’t all the time honest, you don’t should be merciless to the older crop of gamers for it.
At the moment a journalism scholar at Algonquin School in Ottawa, I’ve all the time had a ardour for the OHL and the Ottawa 67’s particularly. I’ve been attending video games since I used to be younger, and being concerned with sports activities has all the time been a dream of mine. Sports activities writing matches completely into that. You may also discover me speaking hockey on my podcast, Hockey Prospect Report, or you could find me speaking Canadian Soccer on my different podcast and web site the thirteenth Man Podcast!