Re: Hamilton Rocks McDavid !
posted at 9/25/2012 10:57 AM EDT
No, it's not flat out wrong. Saying a player is good enough for an older group does not mean they are too good for their own age group. There are examples of players who have played with older players and succeded. There are countless examples of exceptional hockey talents who were placed in advanced age groups and were not mature enough for it. We talk about rushing players to the NHL causing failure all the time - the problem is greatly magnified when you are talking about children.
My fundamental point in that post is, however, simply that players are not hurt by playing with their own age group. Gretzky and other may have continued to excel playing with older kids, but my feeling is that they would have developed just fine if they were not rushed. In your specific examples, Gretz played Junior B, not major junior, as a 15 year old, and I think Eric Lindros would have been much better off if he were allowed to grow up more in his youth and not rushed along. I don't think he was ever mentally ready for the NHL and adult life in general (his neighbours today say he still acts like a 40 year old child).
And no, I don't think the choice should belong with the child an their parents. Are we going to allow 14 year olds? Really big and talented 9 year olds? Lots of kids and parents lack good judgement. Maybe you would be OK with your 15 year old son or daughter living and working and hanging out with 20 year olds. I would not. I think the league should protect 15 year olds whose parents are too star struck by the idea of their kid being the next Crosby to show good judgement.
In response to dezaruchi's comment:
In response to OatesCam's comment:
No player is too good for their age group. If at 15 they are exceptional, they will still be exceptional at 16 when they are old enough to play without exceptions. Especially with an 18-year old limit for NHL play, it's not like any players are speeding up their progression to the NHL. It's either they get 2 years or 3 years of Junior hockey before playing pro. The extra year did nothing for Taveres.
Sorry Oates but that's flat out wrong. Many kids become too good for their age group. Lindros played 2 games (and scored once) for Canada's national team as a 15 year old. Do you really believe he should've stayed in midget hockey? How about Bobby Orr playing for Oshawa as a 14 year old? Should he have stayed a bantam? Gretzky played junior B in Ontario as a 15 year old instead of playing midget against kids his own age. He had 60 points in 28 games. Would it have helped his development if he had 150 points in 20 games against kids his own age? You're acting like these kids are being forced to play when in reality, they all just want to play against the best competition available to them. Who are we to decide what's best for these kids? The choice belongs to them and their parents.