I have been to Canada several times, but this six-day trip is probably my longest trip to Canada. Along the way, I noticed several things, many of which probably aren’t a surprise.
First off, as we all know, hockey rules up in Canada.
Thursday night’s Oklahoma vs. Alabama bowl game? Not on TV at our hotel. Friday night’s Clemson vs. Ohio State bowl game? Not on TV at our hotel.
But if you wanted to see four replays of the USA vs. Canada World Junior game, you could. Or if you wanted to see the USA vs. Canada game at the World Under-17 Challenge (yes, under-17, not the WJC or 18s), you could watch that live.
TSN virtually replayed World Junior games the entire day. The next sports channel showed NHL highlights like ESPN shows NFL highlights.
It’s easy to see why kids grow up aspiring to be pro hockey players.
As a big sports fan, I would have liked it if we could have watched the bowl games, but it was great to be able to watch an event like the Under-17 Challenge.
One other observation about the Under-17 Challenge: The commentators, several times, discussed how top prospects will/should go to major juniors instead of NCAA.
Whenever they mentioned a committed NCAA player, like UND recruit Christian Evers, they would say, “Evers has been offered a scholarship at North Dakota.” Or in Noah Hanafin’s case, “Hanafin has been offered a scholarship at Boston College.”
The commentators also pushed major juniors’ message that top players should be going there, saying if these kids continue to develop, they will probably end up in the CHL.
Right now, we’re seeing a huge number of the elite players go CHL, and it’s easy to see why. That’s definitely a strong message in Canada and a lot of young players grow up watching those broadcasts.
No doubt, College Hockey Inc., has a very, very difficult battle when it comes to elite Canadian players.