Ramblings: All The Hits, All The Time – Reaves, Tanev, Coleman (Apr 25)

Ian Gooding

2020-04-25

While the NHL has been paused, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been taking care of business with their netminders. By signing Elvis Merzlikins, both of their goalies are now signed for next season. In case you missed it, Elvis receives $4 million per season compared to $2.8 million per season for Joonas Korpisalo. That might be the vote of confidence given by management to make Merzlikins at least the 1A starter. My very early prognosis for next season (and even with the continuation of this season still a possibility) is a 60-40 split in favor of Elvis.

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The NFL draft on Thursday featured numerous players who grew up in very difficult environments, which based on demographics seems to be far more prevalent than in the NHL. That got me thinking. The barriers to entry for a child to play hockey are quite high, both in terms of time and money. Is there something that hockey can learn from football? In other words, it seems much easier for a young person to be able to play competitive football than competitive hockey.

The reasons seem to boil down to money. I'm thinking there's more equipment to purchase in hockey. For example, a football player doesn't need a stick or skates. Icetime costs also seem to be quite high because of the limited number of ice rinks. As well, football is also typically played at high school, where schools pay for equipment such as helmets.

I noticed most players being drafted in the WHL draft earlier this week were developed through a hockey academy. These appear to be private businesses/organizations to which a player's parents will pay league dues and purchase equipment in return for specialized coaching and top-level competition. Researching these costs for my own son, and having a nephew who plays for a hockey academy, I know it can get quite expensive.

If you are more closely affiliated with minor hockey or football, feel free to shed some light on this. Yet for now, I'm wondering if there is a better way than this for hockey so that the talent pool can be more far reaching to kids of all socioe