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But What Do The Numbers Really Say About The Educational Benefits?


Regarding something I heard on TV a few weeks ago during the Memorial Cup….

During a break in play, the Commissionaire of the QMJHL stated “Thirteen hundred (1,300) players benefited from $5 million last year in scholarship moneys.”

It sounded as though, he was referring to the fact that there are 1,300 alumni CHL players benefitting from the post-secondary education packages offered to CHL players (amongst the 60 teams of the WHL, the OHL, and the QMJHL). I certainly do not want to put words in his mouth, but in the context of the interview, one could possibly assume that to be the case.

That would be about 400 per each of the three member leagues.

The first thing that seemed unusual to me was the fact that in the CHL, there are only about 1,500 rostered players in total per season (400-450 in the QMJHL)

Assuming that the understanding to the viewer was the same as mine, which was that 1,300 alumni were attending college or university, and if each team was to shed or graduate an average of 6 rostered players per season, one would assume that 90% of the players in the CHL go on to use their scholarships earned and accumulated while playing in the CHL. This assumption would be based on the fact that scholarship moneys can be accessed for up to 4 years following graduation (and that 6 players per team x 60 teams x 4 years = 1,440 eligible players).

Upon further examination and research, my belief now is that the data provided on International Television also included the costs to educate the 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 year old rostered players of last season, and so that is why the numbers are a bit skewed.

I would estimate that each team is likely paying to educate 60% of their current players, and so then the total number is closer to 400 alumni players attending post-secondary with financial assistance from their past major junior team/league, which is more in line with what  I understood to be the case.

After that statement was made on television, I went looking for some more information, and I found a very informative report published by the QMJHL. I could not find anything from the other two CHL member  Leagues..

Last year, the QMJHL produced a Responsibility Report (see below or visit http://hockeyfamilyadvisor.com/scholarships-to-encourage-education). In the document, it reports that 129 former QMJHL players received close to $500,000 worth of scholarship money for post-secondary education in 2010-11 (an average of close to $3,875 for that school year).

In the same document, it states that for those same 129 players, it has committed a total in excess of $673,500 ($5,522 per player in total). I am not sure what to make of that printed fact in their document. It sounds like for many of those players, they had only qualified for one year of post-secondary education money. If the League would like to clarify, I will certainly publish their response.

With 129 post-QMJHL players receiving education money, it is made to sound as though it equates to about 29%, which would still be an outstanding number (in comparison to what i understood it to be), however….

If you then use the information in their report…, the same 129 former players…., and divide it by the number of teams (18 during that year), it equates to roughly 7.2 players per team. Some of these players will be in first year of post-secondary education, some in second, some in third and some in fourth).

Considering that at any given time, each set of team alumni attending an educational institution will be from a four year cycle it equates to an average of 1.8 players of each of those four years will have benefited from a financial package to help pay for a post-secondary education, which is roughly 7.2% of any on team’s yearly roster (of roughly 25).

Where it really becomes interesting is the number of players that make themselves ineligible from ever receiving a NCAA scholarship.

How many players step on the ice with a major junior team, “chasing the dream”, usually with absolute disregard for any caution towards ever being able to chase the dream south of the border, and then never earn an education dime in their lifetime by leveraging their hockey skills.

If you consider that each team has a 50 man protected list, plus invite another 10-12 players out to their Camps through tryout agreements, each team will have an average of 60 players burn their eligibility each season. This calculation shows that only about 3% of the total players who actually step on the ice each Fall and make the conscious decision (or not) to burn their NCAA eligibility, will ever earn any educational money from the major junior route.

It all sounds good, until one actually begins to dissect the numbers.

Again, if I am incorrect in any assumptions, and the League(s) would like to send any information that would dispute any of  what I have said, I will certainly be pleased to  set the record straight.

In the meantime, I  urge all hockey players to keep all options open for as long as one can in order to maximize their possibility of leveraging their hockey skills to possibly earn an education in the future.

I constantly preach that  there is no “right or wrong answers”, however it is important that  players and their families know what the possible consequences and likelihood of expectations will be if they choose one route over the other.

Please just don’t just read the fancy brochures, or listen to the spin doctors…. I urge you to do the math and conduct other research as well….

One of my favourite quotes, and one of the underlying principles of my work,  is “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. “ by Eleanor Roosevelt. This is one of  the underlying principles of our Program.

Our business model involves helping players and their families make informed decisions, while referring to the past experiences and wisdom of others.

If you ever want to discuss your options, or feel that you need help to make informed decisions that will minimize risks and maximize opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact me.


David MacDonald, SPAD
Hockey Family Advisor


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