In the past few weeks, the junior hockey world has been a buzz over the decision made by the Ontario Hockey League to allow John Tavares to be drafted into the league at age 14. The rule was changed in the draft process to allow an "exceptional" 14-year-old to be drafted into the OHL without any problem. However, there are many out there that are calling foul to it.
I think when you look at what the OHL is trying to do, they meant to do it in good will, but it got twisted and turned to look like they want to push all the young kids into the league. I think the many thing Commissioner Rod Branch was trying to do is to keep the talent in Canada to stay in Canada. With Tavares, he could have easily went to Tier I Junior Hockey in the States by way of the USHL. They allow players to be Drafted as young as 14. The OHL thought it would be better to keep the best players all to themselves. That has it's good and bad points.
With keeping all the young talent in Canada, you make the best for the future of the league and see that the OHL keeps getting the talent from their area. However, this destroys the ever-growing hockey culture in the United States. You would think everyone would like to see Junior Hockey healthy everywhere, but it seems by this move, it's a simple case of Darwinism.
But, when is enough enough when it comes to the younger generation?? You look at professional sports as a whole, the ages for some stars are getting younger and younger. Most of these kids are losing out on most of their childhood for the sheer fact is that they are being pushed (whether it be by their own motives or some outside source) to become a big name at such a young age. With Tavares, he's 14 and will be playing with guys 6 years older than him in a high level of competition. He did play in Junior "A" last season and did pretty well, but I'm sure that the OHL and Junior "A" will be a big wake-up call for him in way of game play.
I understand that there are rules in every league when it comes to age limits and how many games a certain age can play (ie: WHL will allow 15 year olds to play a limit of 7 games before they lose their "rookie" status), but maybe that's not enough. Of course, he will be playing in the OHL, which could be better than playing in a league like the QMJHL or the WHL. The OHL, with all due respect, isn't as big as it use to be. It's been overshadowed for many years and probably will be moreso as the years go on.
The John Tavares experiment could go either way right now. We haven't seen him in an OHL uniform yet, so it's a tad early to judge. It's something that will be under the microscope, for sure, when he does hit the ice in the OHL.
However, with all this going on, it poses the question: will there be a time where we see some league change a rule so that an "exceptional" 11-year-old is able to play in a big Junior league?? I don't know the answer, but at least Bobby Orr and I are on the same wavelength.
This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!