April 29, 2013, Chicago, Ill (ISN) – Sports Consulting Group Europe, a sports agency specializing in worldwide representation of European ice hockey players and coaches, is escorting 20 elite European hockey players aged 16 to 19 to a North American hockey showcase for the first time, May 6, 2013.
Recent rule changes from the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and previously in the United States Hockey League (USHL) increased the allowable number of imported players from 2 to 4 representing a growing opportunity for Europeans to play for American junior teams and perhaps of one day receiving a scholarship to play NCAA hockey.
Jay Luknowsky Coach Okanagan Hockey School – Photo courtesy of Terry Rachwalski
“Players will be introduced to the North American style of play, learn more about what opportunities exist and how to navigate the world of US college play,” says Sports Consulting Europe representative, Jay Luknowsky. Luknowsky played for Michigan Tech followed by 15 years as a professional in the European Hockey League completing his hockey career in the northern German city of Krefeld, where he now resides.
Luknowsky believes the USA Hockey rule changes will see more American teams looking to Europe where the game favors puck skill, foot speed, agility and hockey sense over the more physical parts of the game. Player size will always be part of the game though speed is becoming an important recruiting factor says Luknowsky, who points to the success of Europeans in the National Hockey League. He sees speed born of larger ice surfaces as a positive change to the game reinforcing the crowd pleasing excitement of fast end-to-end play.
Sports Consulting Group selected players from Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria for the overseas trip. The group will have practice ice sessions at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois on May 15 and 16. The group will tour Fighting Irish home Notre Dame and the Compton Family Ice arena on May 16. The players will attend the Global Chicago hockey showcase held May 17 – 19, 2013 at the Darien Sportsplex.