This is really an excellent read for all college hockey fans...
This is really an excellent read for all college hockey fans...
It is a good article. Maybe I was reading too much into it but he sounds frustrated. If so, I wonder if his fellow college coaches are similarily frustrated.
I also thought his comment to the effect that you hear all the time about kids leaving college too early, but he's never seen a kid leave too late, was interesting.
When I first read that statement, it was one of those comments that immediately rang true to me. However, I'm not sure he's right. I would guess there are any number of kids who probably never had a chance at any sort of professional hockey career anyway, went undrafted and then had a huge year or two. Now the teams come knocking and the player has a chance to cash in. Some of those kids decide to stick it out in college, and maybe a year or two later those teams aren't so interested anymore. Did they stay in college too long? People argued that happend to Ryan Duncan at UND.
Overall, Don didn't "sound" to me like someone who's having a lot of fun in his job right now.
Last edited by SJHovey; 08-02-2010 at 04:07 PM.
That community is already in the process of dissolution where each man begins to eye his neighbor as a possible enemy, where non-conformity with the accepted creed, political as well as religious, is a mark of disaffection; where denunciation, without specification or backing, takes the place of evidence; where orthodoxy chokes freedom of dissent; where faith in the eventual supremacy of reason has become so timid that we dare not enter our convictions in the open lists, to win or lose.
Lucia talks about the internet being out of control, but if he and other coaches did more interviews like this if would help disspell a lot of the rumors and misinformation.
The last NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement really screwed college hockey. Lucia mentions this and some sort of agreement that might stop NHL teams parking college players in the AHL until they are perhaps 20 years old.
I think he's also frustrated because it's not enough anymore for high end players to just want to play for the Gophers and see what happens. 'Advisors' want to get paid sooner than later, and families want the money "now" before their kid gets hurt or gets relegated.
Don is right that Jim O'Brien is in the same place hockey wise as he would have been by staying with the Gophers as he would have been jumping to the CHL/AHL. That said, he may not have the education right now as if he had stayed, but his agent got paid and he and his family got the signing bonus. If he he gotten hurt playing at Minnesota, the agent and family get no money.
From most families' perspective, all things being equal hockey wise, you take the money. You can always go back for school in the summers and later in the career.
Denver goalie Wade Dubielewicz is another player who may have stayed in college too long. He turned down millions in NHL money to go pro after his all-American Junior season (.943 svs% 1.72 GAA), where he would have likely been high up in some offering NHL team's plan. His senior year at DU, he got hurt, and while he played ok (.912 svs, 2.43 GAA), he was not an all-American again, and he was only offered a lower level pro deal and has been a marginal pro ever since - AHL, NHL backup, KHL, etc.
I'm going to open up a can of worms here, but what the h e l l.
One of the biggest problems in college programs recruiting and keeping their athletes until they (hopefully) graduate or use up their eligibility is a wave of anti-intellectualism staining our society more and more.
These kids don't leave just because they believe they are assured of a hall-of-fame career. They leave because too many people STILL don't see the plain old value in just becoming educated. In the 21st century this isn't only sad, it should be considered child abuse. Yet kids all over the place grow up surrounded by people who not only don't see the need for a broader education, they actually degrade those who do want to pursue it. Sports are macho and manly. Education isn't. That's the message many young athletes, at least the male ones, are getting.
I agree completely with Lucia's statement that he's never seen a kid leave too late, but has seen quite a few leave too early. I know there are stories out there like SJHovey noted about Ryan Duncan, but for every kid who MAY HAVE negatively impacted his chance at the NHL (or whatever pro league) by staying in college there are 100s who leave early, fail to make any real money as an athlete, and have nothing to fall back on. While most of them are probably not living in a box under an overpass somewhere, the opportunities they cost themselves are huge.
This isn't a problem for college athletics. It is a problem for society.
I believe wholeheartedly in the value of education. But you can go to college at any time your life, and perhaps multiple times to finish an undergraduate degree, get a graduate degree or perhaps go on further to professional studies. The average age of a college student in America is 26 years years old.
In short, you have your whole life to get educated and get multiple degrees. Now it's easier to get one at 18-24, when many people that age don't have family or professional committments. But you can also make a good argument that a more mature student is better able to focus, brings more to the class discussion and learns more than an undergrad who may be more focused on partying and growing up.
You don't have your whole life to be a pro hockey player. For top pro prospects, the money is big and the career window is short. For the 2 in 10 college players with a serious shot at the pros, you'd be foolish not to take your shot, then go get the degree later.
Also, this is a situation that, for the most part, does not touch upon college hockey as much as college football, and most so, college basketball. As you note, the latest APR reports show that 80% of college hockey players are graduating. I'm just noting one of the bigger issues behind kids leaving school who might be better suited in staying. I also think for a whole host of reasons without some proactive thinking college hockey will be suffering from this more and more in the future. And the landscape is already littered with athletes who left early and failed in their athletic endeavors, and never set foot again on a college campus because they were likely not prepared to be there in the first place.
1) if players started at 17/18 instead of playing a year or two in the ushl first, would so many be leaving? - (generally speaking-you will always have a few 18yo player ready. but if a 20yo freshman leaves?!?)
2) ironic for any coach who left a few places for his better opportunity to begrudge a kid leaving school for his opportunity.
a legend and an out of work bum look a lot alike, daddy.
All D1 college head coaches (even those at the Alaska schools) make a good living, and as Lucia made each move, he stepped even further up the ladder professionally, and his last move brought him back to his home state and to what many understandably consider the pinnacle of his sport.
A player leaving college after a year to play in the major juniors or the minor pro ranks is hardly doing the same thing. He doesn't necessarily have the maturity to make such a momentous decision, and it often doesn't lead to the kind of financial security that Lucia found after each move.
What if he never sees real NHL money and ends up being a journeyman in the UHL? A kid who leaves after a year or two and signs an NHL contract with a hefty signing bonus, and sees NHL time in his first pro season probably made the correct decision. A kid who leaves for the OHL, never sees a hefty signing bonus or a long term NHL contract and never gets educated and ends up unable to support himself in today's economy probably made a bad decision.
If you don't change the world today, how can it be any better tomorrow?
Its a great article . The Don is still a great coach and he is much more patient than 99 % of the Gopher fan base myself included .
More whining and excuses from Lucia. And most of the Minnesota fans STILL eat it up.
Waaah, the internetz are stupid!
the game is changing, it's not like back in my day!
I tell you, kids these days!
He sounds more like a bitter fan, than a head coach. The article, as a whole, sounded like two Gopher fans sitting at the bar, thanks to Wodon.
Everybody wants an easy answer. Maybe if every player(and coach) worked a little harder, the Gophers wouldn't be such suckwads. That might be the easy answer that you all are looking for.
But no, its always somebody else's fault with the Gophers: The NHL, Garth Snow, fate, anti-Gopherism, prima donnas, Hill, the new CBA, the internet, etc.
Last edited by cg_siouxfan; 08-03-2010 at 07:22 AM.
**NOTE: The misleading post above was brought to you by Reynold's Wrap and American Steeples, makers of Crosses.
Originally Posted by dropthatpuck-Scooby's a lost cause.
Originally Posted by First Time, Long Time-Always knew you were nothing but a troll.
Most "high end" players bound for the NHL who choose College hockey over Major Junior, usually take out an insurance policy through the NCAA. This protects them should they have a career-ending injury while playing in College.
Most hockey players actually don't get the coverage, due to the cost of the premiums. Only a handful do, according to this article. You must be projected to be a top 3 round pick just to apply...
Initial signing money - vs. long-term career = two different things.
I don't see Lucia begrudging kids leaving early. ... I think the issue is whether doing so, helps their career long-term. Which would ultimately make them more money - again, in the long term. So, in other words, they are NOT leaving for better opportunities ... because it's hurting them. This is the case with 90% of the kids who leave early, in my opinion - especially those, like OB, who go to Major Junior because they aren't playing top line in college.
It's not whining to point out that things have changed. I think Donny got caught with his pants down about it, and is trying to recover. We'll see if it works.
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