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The Ontario Hockey League teams usually send out their draft picks to aspiring hockey player in the Spring. For the most part the teenage boys and their parents feel that all of their years playing in the minors that finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I spent six very happy years at Saunder’s Secondary School in London where the majority of the London Knight’s were registered. For the most part the teenaged students were very happy that they have been chosen to try out. If they made the cut they could be part of the team roster.

Here is my take on "Junior A vs NCAA" hockey. I know that my criticism of Canada’s game, is not going to win me applause with most of the fans in the stands but before you penalize me, please consider the cost to our youth for pursuing a career in hockey.

Did you know that the Canada’s Major "Junior A" teams are the only sport league that drafts the majority from their ranks of high school male teenagers usually in grade 10/11? The vast majority of CFL, NFL football teams recruit their prospects from college level players.

The new prospect arrives in town to be placed with their house parents who are paid a stipend for the player`s room and board plus free tickets to the home games. If the hockey player plays even one exhibition game he is not elgible to play NCAA, National College Level hockey for i.e Michigan State University.

Bus trips to play in Sudbury, Timmins with the players sleeping on the bus with the rookies doubling up
at the front is sure tiring with the established older players having the pick at the back . There are no tutors for the players when they are away from their classes to help them keep up with their studies.

The regular London Knight’s season has a 68 game schedule with 35 road games away fom London. Games can be scheduled during the school week making good attendance; to do well with your classes very difficult to accomplish.

The sports media has created a false pyramid scheme to promote the game of hockey with the young players chasing the fading star of a Wayne Gretzy magical like success story. The reality is that less
then 1% (.25%) of Junior

A hockey players (600,000) will play in the NHL.

Take a minute and view: You Tube video, " Hockey Nightmare" to see the reality of playing "Junior A Hockey".

My advice to parents who have nurtured/loved a promising hockey player is to encourage him to do well with his Academic/ University level studies; write the SAT`S (College Aptitude Test). He then can apply for a scholarship to play for an American University covering his tuition, residence that can cover four years of a university education worth more then $100,00.00

The emphasis on NCAA hockey is on education with the teams playing thirty games a year mostly on week-ends. The players receive excellent professional college level coaching and there is no
fear of them being traded for the duration of their schooling. The players live in school like environments with their peers where education is priority number one. Fighting is not tolerated.

The stats according to "Let`s Play Hockey" showed that 30% (285) of NCAA level graduated players were playing in the NHL. The university level hockey players have had the advantage of being showcased Nation wide in front of thousands of the fans who packed the arenas.

If your son is is good enough to play in the pros the scouts will find him. If he does not catch the gold brass ring to professional hockey then he still has had a university education.

Parents please do not consider hockey as a long term career option for your son. He needs to plan for his future after the final whistle blows. Female hockey players have no chance to play "Junior A" and
look to the American colleges to compete. I recently counseled a girl who received a full scholarship at Colgate.

Len Lesser is an education career counselor in Dorchester who cares about your son`s/daughter’s future.


Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com