Another One Gone

Posted by: adamw

So Sam Lofquist, sophomore defenseman, decides he’s had enough of Minnesota and leaves for the Ontario Hockey League.

Sam Lofquist

Sam Lofquist.

In a vacuum, this is just another misguided player, upset with his playing time or something else, deciding to jump ship. Almost inevitably, these moves don’t work for the player. I think back to Nigel Williams, a USNTDP player who left Wisconsin for the OHL, and is still working his way through the minors. He may make it yet, who knows. Most of these kids are never to be heard from again, and would’ve been better off staying in college and getting training. This, of course, is the biased comment of someone who prefers the college game, but the evidence is clear — the trail of those left in development wasteland is lengthy.

The bigger issue for now, however, is what is going on with the USNTDP. There are so many detractors and supporters, vehemently arguing their position on both sides, but the detractors seem to heavily outweigh the supporters these days.

Many age-old questions remain … largely, what is the USNTDP supposed to be doing? If it’s supposed to be winning international competitions, results are mixed — though World Junior results have not been good, save the one gold medal.

If it’s supposed to be a place for channeling players to college, that is failing at an alarming rate. Lofquist is the fifth player from his class to bolt to the OHL, including Kenny Ryan, who left BC just before the start of this season after having already enrolled.

If it’s supposed to be a place to aid the development of American-born hockey players — and this, presumably, is the main mission — how well is that being served? There are so many cries of “politics” that we hear on a regular basis. Is it good to channel the 40 “best” U.S. players to that program, putting all the money there, at the expense of others.

If you recall, people like Brown coach Roger Grillo and Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch decided to leave college and help the USA Hockey system with the development of regional organizations. This seems like a good step.

I don’t know what Lofquist’s decision means, if anything. But I am interested in asking the questions and hearing the opinions.

Comments Closed

to “Another One Gone”

  1. junior hockey watcher Says:

    Wow, that does sound like sour grapes. Did John Carlson made a bad decision? How about Cam Fowler?…he’s getting premium exposure with Windsor. It would be interesting to dig up stats on how many players who defect to Canadian juniors actually earn a big-time pro paycheque versus US college players. Or go in the first round of the draft.
    I like the US college game but let’s face it there’s more games in Canadian juniors that better prepares them for the rigours of the pro game…that and some under-the-table payola. Maybe it’s time for the NCAA to do the same.
    It’s a vicious war between the college and the juniors to grab players on both sides of the border. The pendulum has just swung in Canada’s favour this time.

  2. NCAA Hockey 101: The kids don’t stand a chance, we swear | Sports News Images and Videos Says:

    […] • Minnesota’s Sam Lofquist has bolted for the OHL. [College Hockey News] […]

  3. adamw Says:

    I was referring to players who LEAVE college — especially mid-year. Cam Fowler, John Carlson, et al didn’t leave in the middle. … Obviously there are more junior players in the NHL than college players – but the gap has narrowed considerably. And anyway, that’s a completely different discussion. That said, I totally disagree with your assertion over where players get better prepared for the “rigors.”

  4. NCAA Hockey 101: The kids don’t stand a chance, we swear | Lancilo USA Says:

    […] • Minnesota’s Sam Lofquist has bolted for the OHL. [College Hockey News] […]

  5. junior hockey watcher Says:

    Hi Adam W,
    When I write I follow Canadian Press style, which is based on the Oxford English Dictionary, and rigours can be spelled with a ‘u.’
    I also write ‘centre’ in my copy, while you Americans prefer ‘center.’
    BTW, I’m a big Bemidji State fan. Just love the number they put up on the Gophers. See ya at the Frozen Four.

  6. junior hockey watcher Says:

    This article from the Waterloo (Ont.) Record best describes how Hockey Canada has rigged the rules to shut out the NCAA from the most elite Canadian players from going the U.S. college route.