to Study College Hockey Issues
By Mike Eidelbes
Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Inside College
Hockey Thursday that the league’s general managers will
form a committee to study the league’s relationship
with college hockey programs in early 2008.
“Our general managers decided to form
a committee to take a look at college issues generally and
to make recommendations to the broader group on ways to strengthen
the NHL's relationship with college programs,” Daly
said via e-mail. “The maintenance of college hockey
as a strong and dependable source of playing talent over the
long term is certainly consistent with the best interests
of the National Hockey League.”
Daly added that the GMs made the decision to
examine the issue prior to Kyle Okposo’s decision earlier
this month to leave the University of Minnesota and sign with
the New York Islanders, which selected him with the seventh
overall pick in the 2006 entry draft. The announcement ignited
a firestorm of controversy in college hockey circles. Isles
general manager Garth Snow, a four-year letterwinner at Maine,
fanned the flames when he criticized the Gopher coaching staff
for failing to foster Okposo’s development.
With regard to the Okposo signing, Daly said
the league has no position on the matter. “Players have
the right to make the decision that they feel are best for
them, and they've always had that right,” he said.
Nevertheless, midseason signings like Okposo's
are sure to be discussed by the yet-to-be-formed committee.
Other topics likely to receive mention include early departures
from college (following a summer that included a bevy of underclassmen
signing) and how long NHL teams hold the rights to college
players they draft (a rule that was tweaked in the NHL collective
bargaining agreement that went into effect in 2005).