"(I)t's up to individual universities to decide whether someone fits into their program.It is a fair leap to go from might come up for discussion to actually changing the rules.
" 'In the case of SMU, that's the decision that they've made having done their due diligence. That would not necessarily have been the decision across the country,' said Marg McGregor, CEO for CIS.
"McGregor said university hockey also presents some unique challenges because players are generally older when they return to school after playing in the junior ranks.
" 'It's not unusual to have 25 or 26-year-olds playing men's hockey. Virtually all our other sports intake is right out of high school,' said McGregor.
"She acknowledged the Danton situation will likely rekindle discussion internally about existing eligibility rules.
" 'This is going to promote some conversation in our fraternity,' said McGregor.
"It's definitely worthy of discussion and I would think that's going to happen when our men's hockey coaches meet in March at the national championships."
Another fair leap is whether there is a debate raging anywhere other than in the drive-by media's imagination.
There is a media tendency to let something slide by and suddenly it's a concern (cough, Haiti). Canadian university hockey has had players in their mid- and late 20s for many years. It was seldom a media issue before Monday. It is total eye-roller to hear Globe & Mail columnist Roy MacGregor break out the tiny violins for the "17-year-old freshman" being squeezed out of a roster spot:
" ... there is also the matter of how Canadian schools build their varsity teams. In Saskatoon this month, the Canadian Hockey League announced $4.45-million in academic scholarships, mostly for "graduating" junior players who are not going on to pro careers.It would have been nice if MacGregor, say, had quoted a CIS coach — or even shown evidence that he talked to one on background — to find out how often a "17-year-old freshman" even tries out for a team. The youngest regular in the AUS last season, Dalhousie's Shawn Frank, was 19 at the start of the season (and Frank's birthday is Jan. 6, so he was an old 19).
"While this is admirable, it has the effect of sending players 20 and older into the university ranks, making it difficult for a 17-year-old freshman to crack a lineup made up of players who have already played major-junior hockey and are already mature men."
It might seem odd to the vast majority of people who don't follow it, but when 34 teams need to fill their rosters from a talent pool that pro and junior leagues get first crack at, it is understandable.
At this rate, we will be Dantoned out before he even skates for Saint Mary's.
Danton's hockey move raises debate about CIS eligibility (The Canadian Press)