Thursday, July 15, 2004


Marek Schwarz: A Black Mark for the Giants

According to the homeland media, it�s official!! Marek Schwarz (Mark Black) will, indeed, be coming over to play for the Vancouver Giants next season. reports that Trinec and Sparta agreed to release Schwarz to the Giants, which is electrifying news for Giants fans.

Think about it...3 first-round picks will be playing for the Giants next season: Marc Fistric, Marek Schwarz, and Andrej Meszaros, plus the possible #2 pick in the 2005 Entry Draft, Gilbert Brule. I will certainly have more incentive to go to see more Giants games this year.
Of course, I�m not completely thrilled with the fact that Meszaros and Schwarz will be coming to the WHL.

On one hand, these two kids will be able to play for a strong team and have a chance at the Memorial Cup. They will get a chance to get acclimatized to the North American style of game, culture, and language. Marek Schwarz will be working with goaltending coach Bill Ranford, and combine with head coach Don Hay to give them some quality coaching and instruction.

Both of their respective NHL clubs view their coming over as a way to fast-track their chances at making the NHL, and it will certainly be fun to observe these 2 kids play here, rather than following their exploits strictly over the Internet.

On the other hand, both kids would be better off back in their respective senior Extra Leagues.

Schwarz: He was slated to be the #1 goaltending for HC Trinec this season, an offensive, free-wheeling club that will allow a lot of chances against. Facing 30-40 shots a night against far superior competition would be better for his development than facing 25-30 shots a night against Canadian Junior Players. Schwarz would also get a lot more $$$ with his pro contract, rather than the meal money he�ll get every week from the Giants to purchase Big Macs with. He really enjoyed his time with Trinec last season, which is why he wanted to go back there this season, to play in front of an appreciative crowd.

Meszaros: The Slovak Extra League isn�t the world�s greatest development league, but it�s certainly far stronger than the CHL in terms of quality. Dukla Trencin is a proven developer of talent, with the tremendous quality of coaching in the organization (plus Robert Svehla, who�s a part owner). Meszaros was set to be a key figure (again) on his pro squad, plus the fact that he would be a customary feature on the back-line for the Slovaks at senior national tournaments.

Now that Meszaros is coming to the CHL, he can kiss his national team spot goodbye for the time being, plus he�ll be giving up his pro contract and the chance to play big minutes against stronger opposition.

Obviously, it�s not often that you see 2 kids in their situations (keystones on an Extra League team) come to the CHL to play for less money and against lesser competition.

And according to a news release by Robert Neuhauser of McKeen�s:

McKeen�s scout Robert Neuhauser is reporting that the Vancouver Giants will be getting a hefty boost to their lineup next season. St. Louis Blues� draftee and one of the top netminding prospects in the world Marek Schwarz will make the trip overseas, but not without some controversy.
�The information was confirmed by a Blues� scout,� says Neuhauser.

�Schwarz personally isn�t that happy with the solution as he was looking forward to playing for Trinec in the Czech senior Extraleague. He signed a good contract there and was a fan favorite last season.

�His agent has basically forced him to decide not to play for Trinec and head to Vancouver in August.�

Another 2004 first rounder from the former Czechoslovakia will be joining Schwarz in Vancouver this fall. Ottawa pick (23rd overall) Andrej Meszaros is leaving Dukla Trencin, despite the chance to play for the Slovak senior national team.

So, it looks like the Czech agent for Schwarz, Jaromir Henys, is twisting his client�s arm to play for the Giants?


$$$$$$$$$$$$ Money, of course.

From the comments of Henys, he states that Vancouver is a lovely city with a good hockey team, yada yada yada...but it�s also obvious that he believes coming to the WHL will get Schwarz him an NHL contract faster...and that, folks, equals �bling bling�
Henys and his agency will not make that much money from Schwarz playing in Europe, but once Schwarz and Meszaros (who also falls under the same agency) sign their first NHL contracts, the commission from that contract is all the incentive that they need to push their kids into the CHL.

What role do the Giants have in all of this? I can�t say for sure, but I speculate if the Giants weren�t making some �side� payments to Schwarz�s agent to get him to push their clients towards Vancouver. If Schwarz and Meszaros were openly willing to come to the CHL, you�d better believe they would have been drafted (CHL IMPORT DRAFT) much higher than they were.

Of course, the small-market CHL clubs could never afford such side payments to the agents and/or the European clubs to ensure the kids would come to Vancouver, so there may be an even darker side to this story that will never come to light. As prevalent as money talk is with the NHL, it almost never gets discussed with Canadian Junior hockey.

It would also be nice if someone could help remind Schwarz that Henys and his agency works for Marek Schwarz, and not the other way around. If Schwarz truly doesn�t want to leave Trinec, then he should tell his agents to go to hell.

If I hire a real estate agent, I�m not going have them dictate where I live.

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