A week in Canada

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.

17 thoughts on “A week in Canada

  1. Sounds like a bunch of elitist snobs. Screw ‘em. The whole premise of CHI luring Candians is a joke. Why should US universities have to bow down or beg in the first place? Are there not enough American kids for these scholarships? Last I checked, Canada wasn’t exactly ruling the World Juniors stage.

  2. Brad – having seen the hockey coverage, specifically related to Juniors and U17, it’s not hard to believe that Jack Johnson was a household name in Canada for a few years after his elbow in the Vancouver WJC.

  3. Umm, what did I say about not picking up star players? UND better pick up recruiting in MN, MA, MI, anywhere there are tough kids who want to play Sioux hockey. The days of picking up all-stars from our friends to the north have, apparently, come to an end. Furthermore, not getting Notre Dame into the NCHC hurt more than most realize. The NCHC does not have one “big” school in the conference and, yes, this does matter to recruits. UND needs to get ahead of this trend in a hurry, or teams like Simon Fraser will continue to be a challenge.

  4. Brad, VanCity is one of the best cities in North America, at least in my book….tell me you spent some time enjoying it away from th TV! ;)

  5. I don’t think recruits care how many times you play a certain team. However, I do think they care about how many games they play against quality opponents. The only plus I see with Nortre Dame in the league is access to a large well funded alumnus that might create additional opportunities for exposure. Not sure but I think the CHL has more games than the NCAA allows!

  6. Recruit North Dakota first. Right now is kind of an exception with a few on the roster. Didnt Omaha have more nodaks on their team than UNd last year? Take a lesson from MN and give the kids a shot to stay home. The team doesnt need to be 80% canadian every year. Other teams have success without them.

    • You’re kidding, right? An all-star team of North Dakota kids from any 3 year snapshot in time up against ANY other state will be severely out manned. Sure you might have a handful of guys that can compete, but an entire roster up against their peers from most other states would be a disaster if you are rooting for the kids from ND.

      It’s not feasible.

      No sense going the myopic approach. Recruit the best players you can get, no matter where they are from. Recruit heart, then head, then skills, and UND will be just fine.

  7. The best policy on recruiting has nothing to do with where one is from….. Recruit based on talent… program and system fit… character and conduct…. and willingness to play for UND.

  8. Why is ther an under 17 under 18 USA development team. Why are we funding this, not to mention the 20 other crappy junior leagues.

  9. Their focus exclusively on one sport could explain why they are so poor producing more world class athletes in other sports.

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