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British Columbia Talk

I'm way behind the times on this, but I think it's worth talking about. A few weeks ago there was some talk about the University of British Columbia joining the NCAA to play hockey.

Most of this talk started with this article about UBC's bid to join the NCAA. The article starts off on a rocky, but hilarious note:

Try to envision the UBC men's basketball team and a starting five composed largely of Canadian kids playing North Carolina in March Madness.

Fo shizzle? I mean, we can all agree Steve Nash and his long(some might say, too long) hair is totally sweet, but after that, Canadian basketball is pretty sad. Jevohn Shepherd, who couldn't crack the starting lineup of a pretty awful Michigan basketball team played for the Canadian National Team this summer. A team of college-aged Canadians shouldn't be allowed to play North Carolina in March Madness purely for liability reasons.

The article also mentions potentially adding football, though says it would present some challenges. I question that though. I think UBC would be a football powerhouse. After all, they wouldn't have to run nearly as far as they're used to running, and they'd get an extra down to do so. The game would be a piece of cake for them.

But I digress. The real issue here is hockey, where UBC would actually have a chance to be pretty good. As many people have pointed out, what could be scarier than a team that has a homefield advantage when it comes to recruiting a large percentage of top college hockey players.(Answer: Double Lohan.) Though it should also be noted that a combination of the US producing better players and more Canadian kids going playing major junior have dampened Canada's affect on NCAA hockey. In the past five years, only five players from British Columbia have cracked the top ten in NCAA scoring(Jeff Tambellini, Gabe Gauthier, Colin Hemingway, Mark Hartigan, and Judd Medak). So it's not like BC kids have been dominating college hockey.

I really don't think the pool of kids that want to stay in British Columbia, but don't decide to play in the WHL would be that big. Look at the problem the CCHA has had in keeping kids away from the OHL with just two teams in the state of Michigan(and two right across the border). That problem would be multiplied tenfold for a team that's actually in Canada.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that all of this talk is purely conjecture at this point. As Eliot Olshansky points out, it may be an intriguing idea, but there's a long way to go before we ever see it happen.

And I really hope that it doesn't happen. First, I think UBC's access to socialized medicine puts them at a huge advantage over US schools in terms of treating injuries. Second, I'm not sure we can trust these outsiders. I checked a map yesterday and UBC is in neither Britain, nor Columbia. What are they trying to hide?