At first glimpse the numbers look solid. As of right now there are a hundred Atlantic Canadians on QMJHL rosters for the 2021-2022 season.
Obviously, I’m not a stats guy and never will be, but what does that number really mean?
What’s the break down? How many forwards, how many defencemen, how many goaltenders is Atlantic Canada producing for the QMJHL?
Is 100 a down year, how does that compare to other years?
You can look at all the numbers you want and find certain trends, but the most important aspect of all of this is something that I have written about time and time again, the importance of player development and how Atlantic Canada seems to be lagging behind.
What is Quebec doing that the Atlantic provinces are not? Is it based on sheer numbers, sheer population? It probably is, but why can’t we get all the best hockey minds from Atlantic Canada together and discuss player development on a larger scale?
Atlantic Canada has produced some of the best hockey players in the world, but why is this region still behind the developmental curve?
Some QMJHL scouts and even NHL scouts have gone on record saying kids from the Atlantic Provinces are a half to a full year behind the rest of their peers stepping into the Q or the CHL.
That’s a massive problem that doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
I don’t have the answers, all I want to see is players from this region have success at the highest level possible. I think everyone would want the same thing, but why can’t we all get on the same page to grow the game, to make things better and make a difference?
You can talk about population density or distribution, but what about opportunity?
We can ask questions until we are blue in the face, but the only question that we should be trying to answer is why?
Why are kids from this region struggling at the next level?
Why are they a six to twelve months behind their peers?
Why are some leagues and organizations producing more players while some aren’t?
Why do some players and their families choose to leave the region to further their careers?
That’s an easy one, they believe it’s the best opportunity for their son or daughter to develop.
It’s just that plain and simple.
Why must we constantly criticize families for making that choice? It’s their decision to make not ours.
In many ways it all boils down to opportunity and development.
Are developmental opportunities in the spring or summer months that different between the Atlantic Canadian provinces and Quebec?
Is it the competition?
Is it all about the money?
Atlantic Canada is known for producing some outstanding talent and it continues to produce elite level players, but what could we be doing better to produce more players?
What if 100 turns into 80 or 50 in a couple of years, what then?
100 seems like a lot, but what’s the cut off, before this area and those within the hockey world start panicking?
Shouldn’t this region and it’s “hockey minds” be proactive rather than reactive and start looking into growing the amount of players that get selected and play in the QMJHL or elite level hockey?
Player development matters, all the numbers will tell you that!