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Thread: General Question about US League Skill Levels

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    General Question about US League Skill Levels

    My mind was wondering the other day, and I was trying to see if I could order the various US hockey Leagues by skill. This is what I came up with. This list is completely based on my (limited) knowledge. I could be way off, and I may have forgotten some leagues completely. I also know that this list would be very different if we included Canadian or European leagues.

    This list is also biased to my location, the Great Lakes Hockey League, is a pretty minor league, but based on where I live, there is some pretty good hockey played.

    Finally, I know that there is some overlap...IE, some years, the winner of the GLHL would beat a lower tier D3 team. And the best D3 College team may be able to beat the low level USHL team. That being said, thought that this list might start some interesting conversation.

    Where am I way off, what leagues did I forget? Please feel free to update or correct this list!

    1. NHL
    2. AHL
    3. D1 College
    4. USHL
    5. D3 College
    6. GLHL

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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    gotta have the OHL in there somewhere.. maybe at par with D1 perhaps higher in some cases. Real strong league.

    edit: nevermind, I just read.. US leagues only. but then you have the NHL in there.. which is not just US..
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    The NAHL is probably between 4 and 5.

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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    I'm not sure USHL is above D3. Most top D3 teams are filled with guys who have already played USHL or NAHL and are older, stronger and more mature.

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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    I'd think you'd have to put the ECHL in there, probably at #3.
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    ECHL is well below USHL.. just my opinion.
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by northeastern View Post
    ECHL is well below USHL.. just my opinion.
    A professional league worse than an amatuer league? What makes you think that? I would assume ECHL>USHL.
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Biddco View Post
    A professional league worse than an amatuer league? What makes you think that? I would assume ECHL>USHL.
    oops..you're right.. I confused it with the EJHL..
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by northeastern View Post
    oops..you're right.. I confused it with the EJHL..
    Ah yes yes.

    My list:

    NHL
    AHL
    ECHL
    College
    USHL
    NAHL
    tUMD Hockey

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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    I would have to think that any pro league would be above college... This would include leagues like the CHL or SPHL... Even there, you are dealing with the top half of the talent from NCAA teams... Think about how many kids from NCAA go on to pro careers vs how many play their final competitive games as a collegiate player...
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by northeastern View Post
    oops..you're right.. I confused it with the EJHL..
    Well, that's two errors in one thread. One more and we consign you to El Paso and only posting about the AAU Western Junior Hockey League.

    I think there are close to a dozen Tier III junior leagues, the best of which is maybe the US Premier League. Oh and let's not forget the ACHA!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy A View Post
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    Lightbulb Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    I was wondering why the baseball was getting bigger.. ! and then it hit me.
    GO NU HOCKEY
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    1. NHL
    2. AHL
    3. ECHL
    4. NCAA D1
    5. NCAA D3
    6. USHL
    7. NAHL
    8. MSHSL

    Not sure where some of the other leagues mentioned fall. (SPHL, CHL, EJHL)
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by RaceBoarder View Post
    I would have to think that any pro league would be above college... This would include leagues like the CHL or SPHL... Even there, you are dealing with the top half of the talent from NCAA teams... Think about how many kids from NCAA go on to pro careers vs how many play their final competitive games as a collegiate player...
    Spent quite a bit of time evaluating the CHL (OHL, WHL, etc) a few years back. IMO they are a half step below NCAA D1. The CHL has more players drafted per team. But there is no team with loaded with draft picks like BC, UND or MN.

    But the league as a whole is a step below the NCAAs not because the players are worse...but because they're younger. You will find CHL teams loaded with 17 yos, but in the NCAA it is very hard to find a 17 yo. Likewise, you can find quite a few 22 yo players...but the CHL typically tops out at about 20 yo. And typically, it is the older players that carry the lumber in the NCAAs.
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by 5mn_Major View Post
    Spent quite a bit of time evaluating the CHL (OHL, WHL, etc) a few years back. IMO they are a half step below NCAA D1. The CHL has more players drafted per team. But there is no team with loaded with draft picks like BC, UND or MN.

    But the league as a whole is a step below the NCAAs not because the players are worse...but because they're younger. You will find CHL teams loaded with 17 yos, but in the NCAA it is very hard to find a 17 yo. Likewise, you can find quite a few 22 yo players...but the CHL typically tops out at about 20 yo. And typically, it is the older players that carry the lumber in the NCAAs.
    I was under the impression that the CHL that was referenced was the Central Hockey League. Which wouldn't be younger players, but older players, that probably played NCAA or juniors and can't hack the NHL, AHL or even the ECHL.
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by bigblue_dl View Post
    I was under the impression that the CHL that was referenced was the Central Hockey League. Which wouldn't be younger players, but older players, that probably played NCAA or juniors and can't hack the NHL, AHL or even the ECHL.
    Yea, that is what I was referencing... The Central Hockey League... The pro league that is based around the Central US....
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    I just want to thank everyone for the responses so far....I am learning a lot.

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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    The question was skill level…so size and strength get taken out of the equation. Please just take note of what the NTDP U18s just did to Michigan (#3 at the time) and what that truly means. The US u18s have lost several games to USHL teams already. In terms of skill, D1 is overrated….there are 60+ NCAA teams and only 16 USHL teams. What's harder to play? That said (yes, I know I'm not following directions):

    1. NHL
    2. AHL
    3. ECHL
    4. OHL
    5. WHL
    6. USHL
    7. NCAA D1
    8 QMJHL
    5. NCAA D3
    7. NAHL
    8. MSHSL

  19. #19
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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    The first five levels are simple: NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL, NCAA D1. It's not absurd to argue the order of ECHL, CHL and NCAA D1 but that's generally the proper order.

    The order of the next three is debatable because there is wide variation in quality within each level, but the next three are USHL, NCAA D3, EJHL, probably in that order. The best USHL and EJHL teams would crush bottom-half NCAA D3 teams. But the top NCAA D3 teams would beat many USHL teams and probably all EJHL teams. So the order of these three depends on the metric you're using, though USHL probably comes out on top. After these comes ACHA, followed by NAHL and then all the top school-based leagues (prep schools, Minnesota, Massachusetts, etc.) as well as possibly some other junior leagues (I haven't kept up with recent changes in these leagues) and placing all these in order could be its own thread, though I would guess Minnesota comes out on top.
    Last edited by Meehan Popcorn Guy; 12-17-2013 at 05:31 PM.

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    Re: General Question about US League Skill Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Innova View Post
    I just want to thank everyone for the responses so far....I am learning a lot.
    What besides that we don't agree on much of anything?

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