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 Canadian v. American Development Programs - a rant
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manninm
PickupHockey Pro



USA
347 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2007 :  08:26:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's becoming more and more clear to me that over the course of the past few years, the Canadian and American development programs, while similar in nature, have produced very different results. In the past 6 years the Canadians have won 3 straight golds, preceded by 3 straight silvers. The US has won 1 gold and 1 bronze.

This would not bother me had the talent levels not been even. However, it's clear the US has comparable talent to the Canadians, and yet still can't produce winning teams. Why is that? Personally, I think it has less to do with the development program and more to do with the youth/junior system.

In Canada, you play youth hockey in your hometown and, if you're good enough, you hopefully get noticed, play a couple years of minor jr. a or b then head to major jr. The US's system is kind of similar, but could use some tweaking. First off, the US needs to identify one or two end-all be-all feeder league for the NCAA (technically the USHL right now). Call this "major junior" (no salaries, mind you) and have the age floor be 16. Localize it so that every hockey city has a team and every regional youth player has a team to look up to. Similarly, have a minor junior system that mirrors Canada's, once again focusing on local teams. Major populi can have "A" teams, smaller can have "B" and so on. If you center the youth programs like this as well (once again, like Canada does), then you'll have a bonafide feeder system with the top "rung" being the NCAA and the US U20 team, followed by major junior, minor junior A,B,C, AAA youth and so on.

Right now things aren't localized, teams are for the most part run by private organizations rather than local municipalities, and, therefore, the process is politicized and kids tend to bounce from program to program without remaining loyal. I think if the system was tweaked like the aforementioned, the system would then foster a loyalty to the teams a player played on and ultimately the national team, thereby creating a greater commitment to the "cause" and hopefully better results in international competition.

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden

I´m also Cånädiön
Rookie



Sweden
217 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2007 :  09:04:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting I have always wondered why USA with it´s big amount of players just can´t seem to get it right internationally.

(Time differance Pickuphockey-Sweden approx +9 hours 1min 5sek......so I can always blame it on Jetlag.)
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stastnysforever
PickupHockey Pro



Canada
301 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2007 :  16:17:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just thought it was because there were more commited canadian players, I mean it should be our national sport

what do Calgary and a tea bag have in common- they're both only good for one cup
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Mikhailova
PickupHockey All-Star



USA
2918 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2007 :  16:27:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hockey is just bigger in Canada; there are more youth leagues and more people play. Hockey is Canada's equivalent of football, the kids there play hockey with the dedication that US kids play football with. Look at it in reverse--if there were an international football tournament, the vast majority of players would be from the US and we'd likely win it or at least medal every year. Canadian players wouldn't be on the same level. That's the way hockey is for Canada; the Canadians ace it in international competitions, while the US just doesn't medal as often. If a sport is your national sport (OK, should be your national sport--ignore lacrosse), then chances are there are more rigorous opportunities for kids to play and will be more likely to succeed.

But manninm I do agree with you. Our youth hockey system could use some tweaking. I'd love to see the US on the medal stand a bit more often. BTW--the NCAA does have a fair amount of Canadians in it. Several of them come down to the northern Big Ten schools or other hockey powerhouses to play. If you look at the rosters a good number of the players are Canadian.
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Beans15
Moderator



Canada
8186 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2007 :  18:24:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is simple demographics and geography. It's the same reason that Canadians are not more talented on a global scale in sports like Soccer, baseball, and basketball.

In the states, there there is a kids who is a talented athlete, the last sport he will be guided into the hockey. Football, Basketball, and Baseball are Kings.

In Canada, that athlete is pushed into hockey.

Also, if a kid is in Florida, what are the chances he will ever see a pair of ice skates??

It's just the breaks.

I Love your Kids, IHC is the man, and The Oilers Rule. Does that make me insane??
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I´m also Cånädiön
Rookie



Sweden
217 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  02:24:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I see your point Mik and Beans and I agree a bit, but there´s got to be a bit more than that into it.

Sweden has 68000 registered players and the US has 436000 registered players, you could argue that the american players are spread over a larger surface but still something is not right here...

(Time differance Pickuphockey-Sweden approx +9 hours 1min 5sek......so I can always blame it on Jetlag.)
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manninm
PickupHockey Pro



USA
347 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  06:01:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I kind of agree and disagree at the same time. In Canada, there are more players, and players are more likely to play hockey than any other sport. At the same time, in the US, athletes are less likely to play hockey than they are football baseball or basketball. However, the US still finds a way to produce talented young players. Look at the 2006 draft - in the top 10 Canada had 4 players and the US had 4 players.

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden
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Mikhailova
PickupHockey All-Star



USA
2918 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  07:44:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good post Beans. That basically summed up what I was trying to say except a lot simpler

The number of good players in a sport depends on what country they live in and what the main sports are there. In Canada it's hockey. In the US it's football and basketball and baseball. In England it's soccer. And you'll notice the best players in those sports tend to come from the country where they are most played.
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leigh
Moderator



Canada
1633 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  10:22:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mikhailova

Good post Beans. That basically summed up what I was trying to say except a lot simpler

The number of good players in a sport depends on what country they live in and what the main sports are there. In Canada it's hockey. In the US it's football and basketball and baseball. In England it's soccer. And you'll notice the best players in those sports tend to come from the country where they are most played.


I would agree Mik & Beans. I know this is about USA/CAN but look at Russia...some would argue that hockey is their number 1 sport and they have produced incredibly talented players...but hockey is an expensive sport too, so because of the poor economic climate in their region over the last 2 decades their player production had wained but is on the rise again.
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manninm
PickupHockey Pro



USA
347 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  11:14:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good point Leigh. That's another reason why kids don't get into it in the States - it's too expensive. In Canada at least the ice expense (in some areas) is subsidized by the gov't, so it takes a portion of the expense right out.

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden
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I´m also Cånädiön
Rookie



Sweden
217 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  11:32:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by manninm

Good point Leigh. That's another reason why kids don't get into it in the States - it's too expensive. In Canada at least the ice expense (in some areas) is subsidized by the gov't, so it takes a portion of the expense right out.

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden



I apologize if this is a bit off topic but I find it very interesting to know about some of the expenses of american youth-hockey.
Do clubs have some basic equipment you can borrow and is the person responsible for coaching and training doing idealistic/non-profit work or is the person making a living of it.

(Time differance Pickuphockey-Sweden approx +9 hours 1min 5sek......so I can always blame it on Jetlag.)
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manninm
PickupHockey Pro



USA
347 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  11:44:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by I´m also Cånädiön

quote:
Originally posted by manninm

Good point Leigh. That's another reason why kids don't get into it in the States - it's too expensive. In Canada at least the ice expense (in some areas) is subsidized by the gov't, so it takes a portion of the expense right out.

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden



I apologize if this is a bit off topic but I find it very interesting to know about some of the expenses of american youth-hockey.
Do clubs have some basic equipment you can borrow and is the person responsible for coaching and training doing idealistic/non-profit work or is the person making a living of it.

(Time differance Pickuphockey-Sweden approx +9 hours 1min 5sek......so I can always blame it on Jetlag.)



It depends. Coaches are volunteers. Some programs provide equipment, but most of the elite youth programs don't. Ice, travel, and tournament costs can bring the totals up to $5,000 for a season, not including equipment at the elite levels.

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden

Edited by - manninm on 06/01/2007 11:46:35
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Mikhailova
PickupHockey All-Star



USA
2918 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  12:18:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was looking at the list of draft picks in the NHL Yearbook and there are actually a fair amount of US players. I was impressed...they almost equalled the number of Canadians. BTW, they gave each player's nationality using a two-letter code, like US, CA, RU, etc. and does anyone have any idea what CH and EE stand for?? The EE name was Leo Komarov, and the best I can figure is that it's just generic for Eastern Europe. The CH names were Reto Berra and Julian Walker. Those I have no clue on. Sorry, it's off-topic but I was just wondering.
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manninm
PickupHockey Pro



USA
347 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  12:55:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mikhailova

I was looking at the list of draft picks in the NHL Yearbook and there are actually a fair amount of US players. I was impressed...they almost equalled the number of Canadians. BTW, they gave each player's nationality using a two-letter code, like US, CA, RU, etc. and does anyone have any idea what CH and EE stand for?? The EE name was Leo Komarov, and the best I can figure is that it's just generic for Eastern Europe. The CH names were Reto Berra and Julian Walker. Those I have no clue on. Sorry, it's off-topic but I was just wondering.



CH = Czech?
EE = Estonia?

doesn't seem right, any other ideas?

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden
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Mikhailova
PickupHockey All-Star



USA
2918 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  13:03:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No, Czech Republic is CZ
Estonia is probably right, since the local name is Eesti...and I guess there would still be some ehtnic Russians there as well as native Estonians.

CH = ?

Edited by - Mikhailova on 06/01/2007 13:03:37
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Beans15
Moderator



Canada
8186 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  13:18:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Reto Berra and Julian Walker are both listed as being born in Switzerland. Berra in Burlach and Walker from Bern.

And Karomov is listed as Estonia.

And getting back to the last post, hockey is a very expensive sport in Canada as well. I know that is why I didn't play as a kid. Parents just couldn't afford it. Sports like Basketball and Baseball are cheap. A ball, some shoes, and a bat and you are ready to go. Same as soccer(real football). A ball and an empty space is all you need.

Plus facilities. There is a hockey rink in every small town in Canada. Lots of back yards too. How many rinks are there in say, Houston??? Not many. Wonder how many basketball courts and football fields there are??????????????

I Love your Kids, IHC is the man, and The Oilers Rule. Does that make me insane??
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Mikhailova
PickupHockey All-Star



USA
2918 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  16:22:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Someone else had the code SI by his name; I thought that was Switzerland.

Why would there be any rinks in Houston? It's 100 degrees daily in the Texan summer, doesn't exactly bode well for attracting a game played on ice. Because of the US's warmer climate, there are fewer youth hockey organizations because the climate is generally not much of one to attract interest in the game. Most kids divert their attention to football and basketball because those sports don't need a cold climate to catch more interest.
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leigh
Moderator



Canada
1633 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  16:25:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Beans15...Plus facilities. There is a hockey rink in every small town in Canada. Lots of back yards too. How many rinks are there in say, Houston??? Not many. Wonder how many basketball courts and football fields there are??????????????

Yup, essentially EVERYWHERE in Canada except Vancouver (damn!) has free outdoor rinks. And culturally Canadians have a long history of hockey so this gives us a distinct advantage in our very early development programs ie: ice availability, recreational hockey, practice. Most (not all - a la Jovanovski - he was 11) Canadian NHLers start before they are 10 years of age (and I'd guess much earlier than that! - 5, 6 or 7)

But I wonder if we're getting slightly off topic. I mean we're speaking more of culture and exposure and not really of the organized AA, AAA, and junior/college levels. Obviously it is relevant, but I don't know if we're really offering insight into Manninm's initial "hockey system" observations.

Manninm, I like what you are saying about localizing the programs and having a couple streams of growth. This would have the benefit of creating exposure to the sport. Imagine that as these young players grow in notoriety that their local fans would follow their careers (even just a little bit) That by the time they make it to the show, they will have brought a few fans with them that would not otherwise have been interested. If the system is organized and a little more uniiversal then fans could grasp the flow of the system better. Currently it sounds very confusing and fragmented.
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Mikhailova
PickupHockey All-Star



USA
2918 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2007 :  18:32:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, I dunno guys, the US Developemntal Program seems to be doing pretty well...

http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=323063
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manninm
PickupHockey Pro



USA
347 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2007 :  06:01:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My point in the original post was that the USDP is producing great talent, as this and many previous drafts have proven. I just wish that they could be more competitive in international competition is all. Hearing all my Canadian friends gloat about their WJC Gold kinda gets old after a while.

Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie, the biggest enemy is himself." ~Ken Dryden
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