Matt Slovin of The Michigan Daily has a pretty earth shattering report tonight that the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL have offered Jacob Trouba and his family $200,000 to break his commitment to Michigan and play for the club next season.
The earth shattering part isn’t that it happened. It is the worst kept secret in amateur hockey that CHL teams do this all the time, with the most famous recent example probably being Kitchener reportedly offering Cam Fowler just under half a million dollars. That of course was the event that prompted the threat of a libel lawsuit from Windsor and Kitchener, one which never came for some strange reason (hint: truth is an absolute defense to libel).
What makes this a pretty monumental event is that there is a sourced report with an actual dollar amount being reported. I can’t say it any more eloquently than Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey when he tweeted “Can’t put the toothpaste in the tube now.”
I don’t see much changing in terms of actual events on the ice. Regardless of what happens to Kitchener (probably nothing, as they have denied any wrongdoing and it goes against the OHL’s interests to say that they did anything wrong) teams across the CHL will still pay for top talent. But it does change the perception a bit. Rather than being the “best development league in the world” more people will realize they are good at buying college bound players and letting the Taylor Hall’s of the world beat the league up before going to the NHL, while college hockey develops hockey players. And, obviously, if you have to bribe players to come play there it doesn’t scream “best development league” to me.