The QMJHL Cup isn’t the Gatorade Challenge. Some Atlantic Canadians will look at the breakdown of the QMJHL Cup and possibly question its fairness.
The Gatorade Cup was a showcase for all the provincial governing bodies across Atlantic Canada and Quebec. In the new format the four Atlantic provinces won’t be sending full teams to the event.
You could look at the sheer numbers of players being left out or not given the opportunity to attend the event while Quebec will have a full complement of 80 players as being unfair, but it’s more about best on best.
The Atlantic Canadian provinces will send its Top 40 players as chosen by the CSR to the event.
Is that fair?
Does that reduce the opportunity for countless other deserving draft eligible Atlantic Canadians players outside of the Top 40?
Well, that all depends on your perspective and opinion. One would assume that the QMJHL’s main objective in redesigning the format was solely competition based.
The Gatorade Challenge was an exceptional tournament, but ultimately there were some lopsided games over the years which isn’t good for optics or showcasing talent or is it?
It’s been said time and time again that the Quebec kids are about a half year ahead of their Atlantic Canadian counterparts. Playing against the two Quebec based teams during the Gatorade Challenge days might have very well enhanced development amongst the Atlantic Provinces, but again it all goes back to the concept of best on best for the QMJHL Cup.
Everyone understands the impact Atlantic Canada has had and continues to have on the QMJHL. In many ways the Maritimes Division continues to drive the league. It’s contributions over the years have simply been incredible and will continue to be. Nevertheless, whenever there’s a sense of exclusion you will always have those in the hockey world question things. The concept of the QMJHL Cup isn’t a new one, the league has done this before and will no doubt continue to do it if it’s successful.
Reducing Atlantic Canadians by 40 players, could seem counterintuitive in growing and showcasing the league in the Atlantic region, but again it all goes back to the best on best concept.
Atlantic Canadians will make up two teams for the six team event starting on April 27 to May 1st.
Whenever you have a selection process of any kind there’s always going to be some players left out.
Critics of the format will question this process, but in many instances they would have also questioned the team selection process if it was left up to the provincial governing bodies.
The number of players from each province being drafted versus the amount of players actually playing in the QMJHL needs to be looked at and studied very closely each and every year and a concerted effort by the provincial bodies to grow the game and develop players is critical.
Player development is paramount no matter what region, the gap is closing between regions which is great to see, but there’s still so much work to be done. The main concern for some in the hockey world in this region is the opportunity and exposure for those Atlantic Canadians not selected.
The QMJHL Cup isn’t the Gatorade Challenge and that’s ok, it’s all about the competition.
Congratulations to all those that made these teams, it’s a fantastic opportunity, take advantage of it, play to your identity and don’t try to do too much. For those players that didn’t get selected, keep working hard, this doesn’t mean you’re not a great player, keep pushing, your time will come! #2022QMJHLDraft