In the summer of 2009, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said, “So we’re fortunate, we have three pipelines — the European pipeline, the CHL pipeline and the college pipeline. They all produce good players.”
The facts are that, still to this day, the majority of the NHL draftees are from the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) which is Major Junior Hockey and generally considered higher caliber than Junior A hockey, which is CAHL, NCAA hockey, NAHL, and the USHL Junior A hockey leagues.
As an American born NCAA hockey player himself, and later AHL player, Burke recalled the high percentage of Canadian players on the American college and university Tier One teams; 75% – 80%.
Is NCAA Hockey a good way to the NHL?
After his time as head of NHL Players’ Association, Boston lawyer Paul Kelly, the Executive Director of College Hockey Inc. claims that young hockey players should be warned about keeping their options open to the future. He warns, “…that if you have any interest in receiving a scholarship and/or playing NCAA college hockey, you should NOT sign any agreements from the drafting CHL team.”
Current results in the NHL.com fan poll asking, “Which is the best way for a North American prospect to reach the NHL?”
Canadian Hockey League (OHL, QMJHL, WHL):
NCAA Division I hockey:
More about the CHL to NHL path…