Thursday, November 27, 2008

McColgan Makes Debut

The Kelowna Rockets number one pick from this summers WHL draft has chosen major junior over U-S college hockey.
Shane McColgan will make his Rockets debut Tuesday December 16th when the team travels to Red Deer to face the Rebels.

McColgan was the Rockets first round pick - 13th overall in the draft.

Here's my take on it.

Rolling the dice this time around did pay off for the Kelowna Rockets. After choosing American born Luke Moffatt with the teams first round pick in the 2007 draft, the Rockets elected to dive into the deep waters again by selecting California born Shane McColgan in the first round in 2008. Many Okanagan hockey fans questioned the Rockets wisdom of selecting such a player after failing to land Luke Moffatt as a 16 year-old. Yet the gamble has now paid off. What makes it such a gamble is American born players traditionally choose U-S college hockey in the belief it is the best way to get to the NHL. Both the WHL and U-S college hockey provide an avenue to get there, but it's believed that playing junior hockey gets you there a lot quicker. McColgan's decision to choose the Western Hockey League is huge, not only for the Rockets but for the league. Other American born players will now look at him and think twice about opting for a scholarship to a U.S college.
If Luke Moffatt takes a similar route and eventually joins the Rockets organization, then clearly times are a changing and the Western Hockey League may be winning the war. As it currently stands, both sides believe they are winning the battle.


hocus_lopez said...

That is good news. I'm curious where he'll play? If I had to guess, maybe with Long and/or Callahan and Lucas.

How many games can he play this season? Can he stay for the rest of the year or is he limited to just a few games (for some reason I'm thinking he's limited to five games).

I agree that the tide is changing with American players opting for CHL over college because it provides a more direct route to the NHL (just look at the last few drafts if you have any doubts). But one would argue that the tide's been turning for a few years. We've seen several quality players opt for the Dub over college (Macias, Dowzak, Blum, Long, CJ Stretch, Wahl, etc.). What I find interesting is that former WHL'er Jack Bowkus is in the US and seems to have had a positive influence on getting these kids to consider the CHL. Good on Bowkus for selling the WHL to these kids.

Also of note is that a lot of these kids coming to the CHL maybe passing on the opportunity to play for Team USA. As you noted in an earlier post, Team USA is not big on taking kids from the CHL (they seem more focused on the "amature" college players). Albeit the USA has had a lot of success in international tournaments (please note the sarcasm), one would hope the tide of successful/drafted American players in the CHL will force the Americans to reconsider their prejudice.

Regan Bartel said...

I understand he can play five games as an 'under-age player'. When the season ends with his existing team, he can play as many games as he wants with the Rockets after that. So if - in an ideal world - the Rockets went to the Memorial Cup, McColgan can play. We can thank our American friends for manufacturing these top quality players, as these individuals are only making the WHL a better place to play, coach and be a fan of.