The Goalie Guild

Cloutier: Major-Juniors or NCAA?

“Cloutier’s Corner” is the personal blog of Canadian goalie Logan Cloutier, who is fighting to earn an NCAA D-I scholarship. Logan currently plays for the Kahnawake Condors in Quebec, and has battled through a season-ending knee injury and a concussion. You can follow him on Twitter at @lcloutier30 and follow his blog as he tries to earn that magical college scholarship!

With the final game before Christmas break ending in a tough 9-4 loss to one of the top teams in the league, our team was definitely ready for a break. It was time to get away from the rink, regroup, and get ready for the second half of the season.

Over the break, the reality of future decisions hit. The debate between going the Major-Junior route or staying on the path toward a Division 1 NCAA scholarship came up again. Being added to the protected list of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League back in the month of October opened a new possibility for my future.

At the time, I was asked to join the team and try my luck at the Major Junior level. However, I opted to stay in Kahnawake and wait until at least December to make a decision. When Christmas break rolled around, so did the topic of Major Junior vs. NCAA.

It has always been my goal to achieve a Division 1 scholarship, but I’ve always kept the possibility of Major Junior open in the back of my mind. In my mind, there are significant pros and cons of both routes. Going the NCAA route guarantees me an education, but what happens if I can’t keep my marks up while playing hockey? What happens if I don’t get a full ride or I get hurt and they don’t continue giving me my scholarship?

But all of these are questions that revolve around one major thing: am I going to get a scholarship by the time I age out of Juniors? What happens if, at age 20, I don’t have a scholarship? On the other hand, is Major Junior any safer?

The CHL is known as being a star-studded, high-paced league, and a fast track to the NHL. But it is also full of its own risks. The instant you step on the ice for a game with a CHL team, your NCAA eligibility is gone.

So is it worth me taking the risk, signing in the QMJHL, and gambling that I can play at that level for the next two-and-a-half seasons? You hear of people all the time signing, playing a few games, and then getting cut. Now their CHL career is over, and they can’t play in the NCAA.

A tough choice for anyone, a tough choice I will have to make as my season progresses. What do you guys think? With our season starting back up January 5th, we will be looking to have a much better second half than first half. I

“Cloutier’s Corner” is the personal blog of Canadian goalie Logan Cloutier, who is fighting to earn an NCAA D-I scholarship. Logan currently plays for the Kahnawake Condors in Quebec, and has battled through a season-ending knee injury and a concussion. You can follow him on Twitter at @lcloutier30 and follow his blog as he tries to earn that magical college scholarship!

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  1. Logan Cloutier says:

    Thank you for your comment!
    I have very good marks at school and a good SAT score, both of these factors combined with my personal preference are pushing me toward NCAA. Whether that ends up being D1 or D3, either way, that’s the way I am currently headed.

  2. Bricker1965 says:

    Logan

    As an ex OHL goalie who now lives and works in the US, who likes to follow the twitter sphere on the topic, I fully appreciate your dilemma. There are merits in both avenues but ultimately it depends on your goals and your tolerance for managing the risk. Both routes are no guarantee to any type of pro career – assuming that is your goal. I am not sure of your current age or scholastic level, but if you have reached your draft age and have not been selected, my own advice to continue on the path you are pursuing wrt the NCAA. That would allow you to gain another 4 years of development as perhaps you are one of the late bloomers.

    If you have no NCAA teams recruiting you or asking you to play a year in the USHL or Prep School leagues, my advice would be to focus on getting the highest marks you can get and attend one of the great Canadian schools with a good hockey program. When it is all said and done, it’s great to pursue your athletic dream but after the music stops, you will be earning a living in the real world so always make academics a priority. I am living proof of that – I have worked in finance longer than I have played Junior or CIS hockey.

    Keep pursuing your dreams but never at the expense of your education.

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