OHL in the Big House

Submitted by Hokemaniac on January 24th, 2012 at 11:20 PM
There has been a lot of rumors on twitter about 1-2 ohl games tied into the winter classic. Anyone have any extra info if this rumor is true?


Doc Brown

January 24th, 2012 at 11:23 PM ^

no clue, but yost built is hammering the ohl right now. If and I mean if it is true, then I am boycotting the Winter Classic. Screw letting the thiefs from the OHL onto our campus. 

Ron Swanson

January 24th, 2012 at 11:30 PM ^

I thought because Ilitch didn't get the venue he wanted (Comerica Park), he gets control over the alumni game and other games.  This likely means Comerica Park will host those games unless this changed and I missed something.


January 25th, 2012 at 12:12 AM ^

Once the NHL has made arrangements with the hosting venue, they run EVERYTHING.  Meaning, they put up the rink and no one else gets to use it. 

Also, the NHL buys out a home game's worth of tickets for each team and keeps all the profits for the outdoor game.  They would reimburse the Wings and Leafs for 20,000 tickets each and then keep the money for the much more expensive tickets at the Winter Classic.

The Winter Classic is solely an NHL production, and no one else will be able to piggyback on that.


January 24th, 2012 at 11:42 PM ^

I suspect somebody is seeing $$ signs.  I can't see this drawing huge numbers.  

BTW.  I don't see them as thieves.  Some of these kids are thinking NHL when they decide where to play and like it or not, the OHL is still a better pipeline....for now.



January 25th, 2012 at 8:00 AM ^

it all depends on where you're drafted and what organization has your rights. Some of them want to see you tested as soon as they can to determine what value you have to the organization and others are content with drafting kids and letting them grow and develop. There are a lot of organizations who look favorably upon college hockey because it gives their prospects a lot of opportunity to mature both on and off the ice...these things can be a great benefit in the long run for an organization. New Jersey, Detroit, NYR and many others have all shown their desire to draft college kids and let them stay in college for three or four years. 


January 25th, 2012 at 12:06 AM ^

Any sources? Or at least 1 tweet saying this? Cause I don't buy it, I think Red would personally step in and kill that idea if it was brought up. I mean yes the OHL is a better pipeline for the NHL, but that doesn't mean we have to roll over for them whenever the $$$ starts talking


January 25th, 2012 at 1:18 AM ^

...a CTV sports reporter named Brent Lale. His tweet:

Can confirm NHL has approved the CHL request to play an outdoor DH @ Big House Dec. 31st. Teams not confirmed but LDN/SAG, WSR/PLY likely

Not saying it's not the case, but I think I'll wait until U-M announces this before I get too worked up.

kevin holt

January 25th, 2012 at 3:09 AM ^

Why not? We already give them everything else that's supposed to be ours.

If this happens I will slit throats, I shit you not. I've given Brandon some (read: a shit ton of) leeway with money-grabbing before, but this would actually piss me off more than fucking curly fries. The OHL is a disease as far as I'm concerned.


January 25th, 2012 at 7:31 AM ^

Why is the OHL being called thieves? They are a way better option for kids chasing their NHL dreams. Players like Max Domi are way better off playing hockey for the London Knights than at UofM. As far as seeing OHL hockey at the Winter Classic that would be amazing. If they can get Saginaw v Plymouth but the second game would have to be amazing to showcase the London Knights v Sarnia Sting. That game will have over 10 top 60 NHL draft picks in it headlined my Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, and Max Domi

Mr. Robot

January 25th, 2012 at 8:55 AM ^

I can deal with some competition. What I can't deal with is an oranization of snakes that keep going after our players after they've committed to us, signed with us, and in some cases, ALREADY PLAYED FOR US. We've lost two goalies, one in the 10th hour, and the other at 11:59 because of it, and I recall losing at least one player mid-season of their sophomore year.

Because of the way the NCAA works, we're at a massive recruiting disadvantage. Plenty of these teams have been known to pay players under the table to get them to come, in addition to the fact they have no restrictions on contact, even after kids are in college. I would also like to point out that a couple of the teams mentioned in the tweets have the OHL rights to some of our current players, and you better believe they will be in contact with them while they're in town.

I cannot stress enough how rediculous having an OHL game at the Big House is. Red will have somebody's head mounted on his wall if this happens. I don't think it'd be unlikely to see a good number of students protest the game, either. I'd be pissed enough of the OHL played any games at Comerica, but I can live with it. Letting them come play in OUR stadium after all they've done to #(*&% us and every other college program in the country over though? HELL NO.

Besides, it isn't like they could sell out the seating at Comerica and justify needing Michigan Stadium. Only Michigan and paticular pairings of NHL teams can do something like that.


January 25th, 2012 at 8:30 AM ^

You guys can't be serious. Some of these kids are chasing their dreams of playing NHL hockey one day. Like it or not, the CHL is the best way for a kid to make that happen. The football program or basketball program steal kids all the time and I never here any of these feelings being shared when that happens. Wheres the disgust with Norte Dame bringing in the Gunner Kiel kid after he had committed to Indiana already? The reason kids leave to go to the CHL is because it is better hockey, coaching, and closer to the media craze that hockey gets in Canada.

Mr. Robot

January 25th, 2012 at 9:16 AM ^

Deciding to go to the OHL during your recruitment is a perfectly valid thing to do, even if you have verbally committed to a school. It's a terribly unfortunate thing to sacrifice a free education from a world-class university for an illusion of having a better shot at the NHL, but it is their choice to make, and the school then knows to pursue other recruits.

Once a LOI is signed and/or a player is on campus though, that's frankly a binding commitment. The fact that these sleezes still recruit kids after that point is dirty, backhanded, and unprofessional. How would you feel about your wife jumping spouses on you after signing a marriage charter? When your girlfriend dumps you, it sucks, but you get over it. At some point though, there's a firm commitment, and if that's broken, you've been legitimately cheated.

They like to put on a show about how they're a better path to the NHL, but that simply isn't true. If you're good enough to play in the NHL, you will play in the NHL. If you're not, you will spend your career in the AHL or lower, just like any other college or OHL player who didn't turn out to be NHL material. To be fair, there are a handful of players (like one of our very own users here) who take full advantage of the OHL's college program, but regardless of what you think about the concept of a student-athlete in the NCAA, that is non-existent in the OHL. You have to do school completely on your own and if you want them to pay for it, I believe you have to do far better than most average students would do as well.


January 25th, 2012 at 9:36 AM ^

Comparing giving up a commitment to the UofM to play in the OHL and your wife cheating on you is absolutely moronic. These kids when they sign in the OHL get a contract that guarantees them a scholarship to a university or college of their choice. I've seen kids leave their OHL clubs at 18 yrs of age to start their university degrees. That's why when you see a deal in the OHL that just didn't make sense it's usually because that kid needs to go to the college or university in that city to which he just got traded to. Although not as highly ranked, Ontario has 1universiry and one other that is an hour into Quebec that are very close in the world rankings to The University of Michigan (University of Toronto and McGill University). There is no doubt in my mind the OHL gives you a lot better chance at a NHL career than going to NCAA route. Not trying to say going to Michigan is the wrong way to go, but I'll argue endlessly that it's the best way to go for a kid trying to make it.

Mr. Robot

January 25th, 2012 at 10:06 AM ^

They get a package based on their years of service in the OHL. If they sign an AHL or an NHL contract, that goes out the window. Don't think they don't screw every player they can, either, especially those who don't produce for the club. There has been plenty written about that., and many more in-depth than the following, but here's one that focuses on tuition payout:


But regardless, the point here isn't about which is better for getting to the NHL, nor is it about the right of the OHL to recruit the same players. This is completely about the fact they don't back off when a player has made a solid commitment to a school, which I will define as signing a letter of intent.

But if only it were as simple as getting them on campus in September of their freshman year. We have to worry about them recruiting every single one of the players that are currently on our roster. They can call them up any time and offer them a sack of cash to ditch us, and there isn't jack we can do about it. The fact they would do such a thing shows the very nature of that organization. Defending that conduct is inexcusable, and as such, they have no place playing a hockey game in OUR football stadium. Hell, even if they were perfect gentlemen they have no business playing a hockey game in our stadium; we DO compete with them after all. They aren't though, so all the more reason they can buzz off.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:12 AM ^

While I find the OHL's continued attempts to recruit college-bound and current college players to be annoying, I don't get that hung up on it because the job of these teams is to win games and getting the best players to help them do that is how they do their job.  In my mind it comes down to the players having the best information possible and the coaches making sure that the players have the best information possible so that they can fend off the multiple recruiting pitches. 

That said, there is no way in HELL that Brandon can allow the OHL to play an outdoor hockey game in the crown jewel of the University they take so many players away from.  To me I would be calling the NHL and immediately threatening to do everything I possibly can contractually to make their lives difficult, up to finding an escape hatch, if they don't shift the games elsewhere. 


January 25th, 2012 at 9:57 AM ^

I recently took a statistics class in which for my class project I decided to test the idea that the OHL is more likely to produce and develop NHL talent better than the college hockey teams. Statistically it makes no difference. A player is just as likely to become a productive NHL player if they play in the OHL or NCAA which is not a very good chance at all. This is one of those arguments accepted as fact that needs to die.

I still think it's a slap in the face to Michigan if this happens.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:20 AM ^

Yes, that's right.  Approximately 10 percent of Major Junior players end up in the NHL.  The percentage is higher for any Michigan team of the last 25 years.  Sometimes much higher.  The scholarship money is also pretty much an exaggeration--less than a third of Major Junior players ever receive scholarship money.  That's over half of Major Junior players who never play in the NHL and never see a dime of scholarship money.

But, as stated earlier, that's not the point.  Michigan is not asking to play in Plymouth's rink.  Michigan Stadium is ours.  If Ohio State and Notre Dame wanted to play each other in Michigan Stadium, we would (rightly) tell them to get lost.  The same should be true of the Plymouth Whalers and the Saginaw Somethings.  An OHL game in Michigan Stadium would be a slap in the face to every player on the Michigan hockey team who is working his ass off to get a degree while playing at the highest level of amateur hockey.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

Since I started my project by talking about the players who committed to Michigan only to skip town for the OHL, I probably could have gotten away with comparing making the NHL from the OHL compared just to Michigan. That probably would have given me much more interesting results.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

Hopefully they don't do this. It's one thing to have the wings play there for one game IMO thats fine because it will give UM a chance to have the record for attendance for a college game and a pro hockey game, but have the OHL there is just not worth it. The Spirit can't even sell out the Dow, I know the Canadaian following is crazy about OHL hockey, but my guess is that the place would be half full at best. IMO they are going to kill this whole outdoor game idea if they keep having everyone play these game there is no need for the AHL and OHL to have these kinds of games.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:24 AM ^

I don't understand. Why would the OHL want a game at the big house...so everyone on tv can watch them fill 10% of the stadium?

In all seriousness, I've been doing some snooping and I'll have an update for you guys around lunch time.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:30 AM ^

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most of the kids who commit to Michigan or somewhere else usually end their committment after they've been drafted in the NHL? My point being is the NHL team that drafted them are more than likely the one's directing them where to go. An example of this is a defenseman forthe Sarnia Sting Conor Murphy. He was committed to Miami of Ohio on a scholarship but after the Coyotes drafted him they told him to go the OHL route and join the Sarnia Sting who owned his rights. It's not always the OHL coming in and stealing players. The whole Max Domi fiasco was bullshit from the beginning and that was all him and his giant sized head of a dad. They used UofM as a decoy to stop other OHL teams from drafting him so he could play for the London Knights. In the end he got what he wanted anyway.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

Guys don't get drafted by the NHL until they're 18 though, which for the most part is after a player has chosen either NCAA or CHL. And excepting the rare cases like you mentioned, the NHL teams don't really get involved in the College scene since they don't lose their signing rights until the summer after their senior year

Also, the Domi family fiasco is bullshit and they can fuck off


January 25th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

I think most teams do get involved. They want to see how the kids they drafted fair against better competition and over a longer season. I'm not too sure, but I think the OHL schedule at 62 games (not including playoffs) is a lot longer than the NCAA schedule so that will help a lot more in conditioning also. That is why John Carlson left Ohio to play for the London Knights. The Washington Capitals have an never ending relationship with one of their former players who at that time was part owner and head coach of the Knights and is now their current head coach Dale Hunter. There's a lot more behind the scenes stuff between player, agent, and NHL clubs then most people realize.
I agree with you about the Domi family fucking off. A lot of this bullshit falls squarely on the London Knights too. They've done this with kids like Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner to just name a few.


January 25th, 2012 at 11:51 AM ^

No, an NHL team would never try to manipulate a teenage kid into switching from college to the OHL. Coaches of OHL's teams will do it (obviously) and agents do it all the time. Agents and coaches say shit like "the big club would rather you play in Junior because it gives you a better chance to crack their lineup" which is a lie. The agents just want them in junior so they can sign their NHL contract sooner. The benefit of this is that they get out of their limited entry level deals sooner to make the big bucks.

It's the big-time agents who treat their guys like stocks when they should be treating them like family. Being a hockey agent is a lot like being a college recruiter. You sit in their living rooms and tell them and their parents that you are going to do everything in your power to help them turn into the players and men that they want to be. NHL teams don't care if you want to go to college unless you are in the top 1% of players like Taylor Hall or Stamkos, who are good enough to contribute as 18 year olds.


January 25th, 2012 at 12:21 PM ^

You're forgetting that signing an 18 yr old kid to an entry level deal also allows these NHL clubs to then sign these kids to longer cheaper deals when they are only 21 not 22 or 23 yrs old(which is how old they'd be if the finish college first). That's a huge difference considering the jump in talent a kid sees when he's in his mid 20's not early 20's. My point is that if you sign these kids out of the OHL at 18, when they're 20 and their entry level contracts are done they'd be producing (for example) 40 point seasons and signing them to 5-6 yr deals at 2-2.5 mill per year. By the time they are 22-23 they'll be having 70-80 point seasons they were projecting to have. That's quite a bargain. If you wait until they are out of college, by the time their entry level contract is up they'll be 25-26 and already having those seasons. That would cost a lot more money. The younger these kids are when these entry level deals are done the quicker these teams get the kids signed to long term deals which benefits the clubs financially and makes the cap a lot easier to manage.


January 25th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

I can see how you would come up with that in theory, but it isn't actually the way it works. First of all, 18 years old is when guys get drafted, not signed. Very few players sign at 18. Usually they sign late in their 19th year or at age 20. Secondly, if a guy has had a few decent seasons in his early 20's but hasn't hit his peak, the agent will advise him to sign a short term deal for less money in order to prove himself. Thus, instead of signing say a 6 or 7 year deal worth 2 or 3 million a year, the agent will negotiate a 2 year deal with around 1.5-2.5 million knowing that if the player progresses as he should he will be able to sign a deal in the future worth 5-7 million per year. It's a bit of a gamble with injuries, but the players almost always agree that they want to prove themselves so that can get the bigger contract down the road.

You want your client to get his long term deal between the ages of 24-28 regardless of whether they played OHL or college. That is the "setup deal" meaning it is the deal that sets you up for life. Guys wait for this deal before they buy their permanent home, etc. After that, you go back to signing deals in 1 or 2 year increments until you are no longer a viable NHL player.



January 25th, 2012 at 8:58 PM ^

I thought the current NHL CBA stated that each club had one year from the day the kid was drafted to sign him to a contract? After that year is up the player then re entered the draft. In the case of college hockey players, after being drafted, if they choose to go to college instead and decide later not to stay in school until his graduating class graduates I'm pretty sure his rights still belong to the team that drafted him. In both cases the team drafting gets a supplemental pick. If my memory serves me right I am pretty sure that's what happened with Blake Wheeler. But I may be 100% wrong too.


January 25th, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^

I don't know how to post tweets, but I saw on Yost Built that Ablauf has said the OHL rumors aren't true:


MattSlovin UMich Associate Athletic Director David Ablauf tells me this morning rumors of an OHL doubleheader at the Big House are "not true."