Friday, February 22, 2008

WCHA Commish Meets With NHL On Defections

From: Inside College Hockey.com
by Jess Myers


Anyone hoping for a wide-ranging pledge from the NHL that the mid-season signings would stop is likely disappointed with the results of the recent meetings between pro hockey officials and three college hockey commissioners. But WCHA head man Bruce McLeod, who met with a key group of NHL general mangers in Florida this week, and who admits the college officials took a "pretty softball approach" to the topics at hand, came away satisfied that they'd taken a positive step.

"Our presentation was more to put a face on college hockey and explain who we are," said McLeod, who was accompanied by Hockey East's Joe Bertagna and the CCHA's Tom Anastos at the meetings. He said a big part of the college presentation was to stress the education aspect of college hockey, which does not exist for pro prospects in Europe or in major junior. A big concern about mid-season signings of college players is how their departures negatively affect the school's graduation rates.

"That's our issue," McLeod said. "We did bring up mid-season signings, but more just for information purposes. We're not yet to the point of asking what we could do about it."

McLeod added that it was heartening to look across the room and see so many ex-collegians in powerful positions with NHL teams. For Minnesota Duluth's former athletic director, seeing one of his former student-athletes (Brett Hull) running a NHL team now was particularly satisfying. There are sure to be future meetings between the NHL and college hockey leaders, and more discussion of mid-season signings and other issues like how a pro team should communicate with its drafted collegians during the season.

While far from solving all of the world's problems, McLeod said there was more than just good weather to like in Florida.

"This sent a real strong signal to the college hockey community that they are serious about these issues and we are important to the NHL," McLeod said, adding that the commissioners are working on a document that they hope to present to NHL leaders in June, and have language added to the current collective bargaining agreement. "We're not just a cheap deliver system for good players."

1 comment:

wwn said...

Hopefully some changes are made to make it harder (or impossible) for players to leave midseason, while at the same time keep the high-end talent coming to the NCAA.