The OHL: Snatchin Your People Up

Submitted by JimLahey on July 27th, 2011 at 10:08 PM

My Knowledge

I don't know John Gibson, and I have absolutely no insight at all into what happened. His situation is different than others, mostly because he is already drafted, and high. If I was a betting man, I would guess that his NHL team encouraged this move, but that is simply a guess. They may not have "encouraged" it so much as they made it clear which path they would prefer. And when the people who you hope will be paying you millions of dollars in the near future tell you their preference, it can be a strong incentive.

My Opinion

You guys are going to get even more upset when you read my fictional story, which is actually a hybrid of several true stories I've personally experienced (or close friends have). Don't be mad. The OHL is a business, they make money when they lure good players in and win. That is there job. Don't get upset at them for doing their job.

The NCAA has rules in place that make it impossible to compete for a kid who is even slightly leaning towards the OHL. It's like Tyson in his prime fighting Ali in his prime, except Ali has a gun.


First, let me talk you guys off the ledge. I was upset about him leaving for a few reasons:

1. I knew how upset you guys would be. Your, like, my internet buddies, yo.

2. He wasn't just committed, he signed an LOI. He had a lot of time to make his decision, make the goddamn choice BEFORE!

3. Our goalie recruiting is totally messed up now.

Now the part where you back up.

1. If you read my posts in other threads, you may remember that I am not that high on Gibson. He's good, but I don't find him particularly spectacular. How does he compare to Jack Campbell? He doesn't, and it isn't even close.

2. He would have left before making a huge impact. Obviously, he is dead set on making the show. Even if he had enrolled, he probably would have peaced out immediately upon realizing that he could play professionally in the AHL. This would also allow him to get a signing bonus. Roughly, his bonous would have been something in the 200k range, maybe a bit higher. 200k spread over three years: 67k a year +  AHL Salary (about 58k) = $122,000 per year before taxes. The same logic of this argument applies to Jack Campbell, and his money would have been even larger. Don't fret over it.

3. We will get another good goalie. I promise. Michigan is the most prestigious hockey program in the country. Furthermore, goaltenders are far and away the most difficult position to project from level to level. It might be better to get a guy ranked 90/100 who stays for all four seasons then to get a 98/100 if he'll leave the first chance he gets.

The Interesting Part

So what the hell happens when a rock-solid college commit bolts for the OHL? Well, I've seen it unfold many times. Here is how it might go from the perspective of the prospect in chronological order:

- You let people know you're committed to College X, all is well.

- You still get drafted to the O, but you don't care, you're a loyal guy.

- You will get multiple phone calls from owners, GM's, scouts, etc. Sorry fellas, I'm going to School X.

- You will get a phone call from a number you don't recognize. This will be the first of many. You'll answer and they will say "Hey, its ****". And you will become amazingly excited because you're speaking to a current NHL superstar who, as coincidence would have it, played for the exact same OHL team that is courting you! He'll talk up the team, coaches, city, and the OHL path in general. He'll act like you're already best friends, and tell you to call him any time and that he'd love to meet you in person. "Come out for a game", he'll say, "I'll leave tickets and dressing room passes for you and your family at will call".

If it's Windsor, you might get a call from Taylor Hall, for Sarnia, Steven Stamkos will do. Get the picture?

- After this, you're still solid to School X, but man was it cool talking to that famous player. Next time the OHL GM calls, you're a bit less hostile than usual.

- Finally, you agree to go with your family to the OHL city to at least hear the coaches out. Its always smart to weigh out your options, right?

- You will arrive in the city and head straight to the arena. WOW! This place is amazing. I could totally see myself playing here! Oh, whats this? It's a bunch of current and former players hanging out in the player's lounge on the PS3. Sweet, they know my name!

- They invite me to hang out at the mall with them. My parents are talking to the coaches so thats cool. We get in one of their cars.

"Nice car, your parents bought you this?"

"Nah, bought this after I signed in the show, pretty sweet eh?

"Pretty sweet is right"

- We get to the mall. These guys are so cool and hilarious. Always joking around. Man, they have a lot of money, look at all the stuff they're buying! Those NHL bonuses must be huge. Everyone at the mall recognizes them and asks for autographs. Must be nice to be a celebrity.

- My parents call, it's dinner time. The boys drop me off at the coaches house. What a house! I've never been to a house this big before, and on the water.

- After an unbelievable waterside BBQ meal, the boys call me back and say they're taking me out on the town. I can borrow a nice shirt, no problem.

- We get to the bar district, everyone is saying things to us as we pass down the sidewalk.

"Boys, take home the championship!" "Beat Team X!" "Great win last week!"

- We get to a bar with a 50 foot line at the door, and I'm underaged. No big deal, the bouncer shakes everyones hand and lets us in. We settle in a booth and the bottles start flowing.

- I start walking around with my new friends. Since when do hot girls I've never met just start flirting with me? That one must have been 25. People I don't know keep buying me drinks, I haven't spent a dime yet, how'd I get so drunk?

- Closing time, one of the guys pays the thousand dollar tab and i follow them out, joining a group of girls I swear weren't this hot 5 drinks ago. Oh well.

Then it happens, the final straw.

- As we're walking back to the hotel, player X grabs my shoulder and says

"Look man, I totally respect that you want to go to college. I seriously considered it too. But you wanna live like this?...come play with us. I got drafted in the first round and they gave me 300 grand. I'll be a millionaire before you start sophomore year."

- Normally I would find this arrogant and rude, but right now I'm tripping out on drinks and ladies in tight skirts. He's right, this is the only way to live.

- So I'll go on for a few more weeks pretending I'm not going to the OHL.

Finally I'll admit to myself what I want to do.

Then I'll spend a few weeks feeling guilty.

 Then I'll spend a few more weeks deciding how to break the news.

But eventually, I'll do it.

And then I'll be one of them

...and life will be good.


The story I just told you is a slight exagerration of several experiences. But that is basically how it goes. The story is not meant to tell exactly what happened, but rather the way the prospect would remember it the day after. Also, I'm not trying to glorify the OHL lifestyle, but thats what they'll make it look like when they're courting you.





July 28th, 2011 at 1:05 PM ^

it was kind of rhetorical, a play off of, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush", but I suppose it wasn't as clear as I may have hoped.  I totally agree with your posts in this thread and was just trying to make a funny. Red says it best when he recruits: "What can you do for Michigan?"


July 28th, 2011 at 11:09 AM ^

My old goalie coach used to coach all kinds of talent (wrote this book too on Glenn Hall:  )

Every year at camp he'd tell the story of one of his goalies - way talented, heading to the show. This Goalie (don't remember the name, call him Jim) Jim had scholarship offers, full ride to Minnesota among other programs. He also had an offer to play juniors, and wanted the fast cash. In his first season Jim devloped a rare, cancerous tumor in his stomach. It was treated and fine, but no pro team wanted to take a chance that it'd come back next year. 

Had Jim gone to college, gotten cancer, redshirted, and then played no team would have given it a second thought, the cancer would have been 2-3 years old (5 if he got his degree) and at that point talent would have won out.

Coach's story was the same: Go to College. you play, if you're good enough you'll make the show, and you'll get an education/fallback plan

Rush N Attack

July 28th, 2011 at 11:06 AM ^

it is hard to get a complete grasp of all the things that go into the decision making process.

There are other factors that can come into play. 

MSU just lost Reid Boucher to the OHL also. He has been committed to MSU since he was 15. 

One of the major factors was not wanting to play this year for Youngstown in the USHL, who held his rights. Youngstown wouldn't cut him loose, no matter who called and asked.


July 28th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

Fuck the OHL and whatever the fuck it stands for. I'm assuming it's Ontario Hockey League but I hate them so much I refuse to Google it.


No one fucking tell me!!!


July 28th, 2011 at 12:10 PM ^

bottomline is it is impossible to convince a kid (16/17/18) who has any interest in the OHL to not go there. They have too many options going for them. Think back when you were that age...would reasonable, sound advice appeal to you or flash and cash?


sucks but its reality. reach for the stud prosepects and if they bolt for the OHL make sure you have a backup plan. If you don't you're going to get left in the dust in the college hockey world.


July 28th, 2011 at 1:16 PM ^

is rushing to the OHL. So that he can speed up his development to make it to the AHL. Only to be stuck in the AHL for 3 years, Because Jonas Hiller is only 29 and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Whatever, Good luck kid!


July 29th, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

"Snatching your people up".  "Hide your wives, hide your children, hide your husbands" because were going to find ya. or something like that.  I wanted to smash the ipod when I heard it.  My kids would laugh.