Lucia is happy for Chucko, whom he called "a quality kid with a strong work ethic and a lot of character." He used less-glowing terms regarding the Calgary organization.
"They're an organization that is not big on college hockey," Lucia said. "They put Kris in a difficult situation by contacting him during the season and trying to get him to leave. That's not very professional on their part. I've never had that happen before."
Calgary's anti-NCAA views are not a surprise to anyone who knows the Sutter clan and their old-time hockey mentality. All six brothers worked their way through the Canadian major junior system, and Brent Sutter is a coach with the WHL's Red Deer team. To various degrees, many NHL teams still view the NCAA with skepticism, in part because they maintain less control over the players and the system. The NHL maintains a development agreement with the CHL, and provides development money for each player chosen in the draft from a major junior team (totalling more than $5.4 million in 2004). No such NHL monies go to college or junior A teams. Moreover, a player in the junior ranks has little control over his career, as items such as for what team he'll play, or when he can turn pro, are governed by major junior drafts and age restrictions. While the NHL likes the NCAA route for later-round picks (because they can develop for 4 or so years, rather than having to be offered a contract by age 20), many NHL teams still feel the CHL route is best for their top picks. Thus, many organizations pressure their players toward the major junior route, with Chucko (and Kobasew before him) being the latest example.