Hockey: McGregor notes SMU did 'due diligence'; drive-by media don't listen

Canadian Interuniversity Sport CEO Marg McGregor has addressed Mike Danton joining Saint Mary's (Danton, BTW, will apparently live at the home of SMU coach Trevor Stienburg). She did allow that eligibility rules might come up for discussion when coaches hold their meetings during the University Cup in Thunder Bay in March, but that is about it:
"(I)t's up to individual universities to decide whether someone fits into their program.

" '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."
It is a fair leap to go from might come up for discussion to actually changing the rules.

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.

"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 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).

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)
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  1. Most articles I've read on this have missed several key points.

    1. Mike Danton won't be a 5 point a game ringer in the AUS. Will he be a solid player- Probably yes, will he be on the top line at St. Mary's- Probably no

    2. The other CIS teams aren't concerned about the fact he's a 29 year old. Most CIS players are 20-26 and well developed, they're not straight out of high school kids who walk onto campus and make the team. What people are more concerned about is the fact that he tried to have someone killed...offed..erased..whacked whatever you want to call it. His bad reputation precedes him and the sportsnet interview left many things unanswered.

    3. Eligibility doesn't really need to be looked at...this is a freak accident, if he hadn't spent so much time in jail he would never be eligible at this time. This is a 1 in 10,000 case where you don't need to get all scared and over regulate.

    Now if someone could get that published in the Globe & Mail it would be appreciated...Thanks

  2. Well-said ... it is a freak situation. How many 23-year-old hockey players end up in a U.S. federal prison, then get out and are still young enough to attempt to play high-level hockey, but have to play a level where international travel is not an issue? Like 2,3 ever?

  3. Lots of words and talk but not alot of action from Ms McGregor... why waste your time interviewing someone who has consistently said a whole lot of nothing

  4. Because the Globe already has its story and just need a few quotes to make it sound like they're not editorializing?

  5. Yes, he tried to have someone "whacked", but that someone is hardly an innocent man.
    Something had to push Danton to the edge to even contemplate doing that, and I shudder to think what that is.
    My main concern is whether or not Danton, who was out of society for so long,
    has the emotional ability to cope with the attention he'll undoubtedly receive,
    and the demands of university life.
    It would be nice if he could someday reconcile with his family.

  6. What needs to be pointed out is that nobody would care about this at all, not even a little bit, if this was some guy named "Mark Denton" lacing up for SMU at age 29. Everyone who's crying over how unfair it is, how it's men-vs.-boys...they really don't care that Danton is older than "normal"; they care that he was just in prison for trying to have someone killed. And once they acknowledge that, then it stops being a discussion about CIS rules and common sense in university sports and starts being about a debate about how society should treat ex-convicts. Which is not a debate for the toy department of journalism, and has very little to do with CIS.

  7. Once again Roy MacGregor proves he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.
    He's always on his soapbox, telling us what's ailing hockey in this country, be it university, junior, international or pro.
    And he'll never let facts get in the way of his point of view.
    We're always doing something wrong, according to him.
    God, I just wish he'd shut his condescending, arrogant pie hole.