In what continues to be a bad summer for college hockey fans, continues to be a great one for fans of Canadian junior hockey. 2010 first round pick of the Montreal Canadiens Jarred Tinordi will be playing hockey for the OHL’s London Knights this season rather than in the NCAA for Notre Dame. While it’s been rumored about much lately, the London Knights confirmed Tinordi’s decision to join them today via Twitter.
The 6’6″ 210 pound defenseman was originally committed to join the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame, however after bad 2009-2010 season followed by an off-season that saw them lose Kyle Palmieri to the Anaheim Ducks and some off-ice problems as well, Tinordi’s decision to switch from developing his game in the NCAA to the OHL was made a lot easier.
College hockey has seen a lot of things like this happen this summer and there could be more to come. On top of Tinordi’s switch and Palmieri’s departure, Canadiens 2009 first round draft pick Louis Leblanc left Harvard to join the QMJHL Montreal Juniors and 2009 sixth round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Team USA WJC hero Jerry D’Amigo, currently attending RPI, is rumored to be close to signing with the Maple Leafs.
Guys leaving college early to sign pro deals is nothing new but it is getting a lot more attention these days now that college hockey is getting a bit more notice from the casual observers in America. While the NCAA and the CHL competition for players has never been hotter, the debate over which league is better for a player’s development has been raging for a long time. For every Crosby and Gretzky that’s come out of the CHL, there’s an Oates, Nieuwendyk or Hull to hold up as former NCAA greats.
While each side will trumpet their own efforts in producing the better players over time, it’s clearer that this is a battle between Canada and the United States over control of the amateur ranks. There are no Canadian universities in the NCAA and the number of American teams that play in the CHL are few but it’s all about keeping dominion over your own properties and the CHL doesn’t want the NCAA getting in on their turf as being the top pro hockey developmental league in North America. While the sides aren’t ever going to play nice, at least we can just try to enjoy all the good hockey that’s being produced by everyone.