A lot has been written here about the gap getting wider between the public high schools and the Catholics. Here are a few ideas for the publics to implement in order to close the gap, keep kids from bailing to the C.C. schools & Juniors.
- work with the local select teams to bundle your kids onto one team for summer tournaments and fall split season - this is what the C.C. schools have been doing for years.
- Contrary to the current mind set the public high schools should form relationships with the local Junior teams. Instead of treating them like the enemy, embrace them, open the lines of communication.
- Make these programs the place for your seniors to move onto once they finish high school if they have interest in playing D-3 or club.
- Acknowledge the fact that the true D-I talent may not stay past their Sophomore year. Get two good years out of them and wish them well. Colleges will want to see them develop against the best possible competition so that means Tier I full season, USHL or USPHL Premier.
- Dedicate one assistant coach to making Junior team and college introductions. The better job you do of placing kids, the more likely they will not leave early and the more likely your school will be the place to play.
- Bring alumni players in to speak with kids about playing at their schools and let the alumni players help the assistant coaches with their introductions.
Just a few ideas to keep your kids and move them along when they graduate or when they are ready.
Another issue you don't address is the quality of the coaching, which is abysmal, even at the very "top" D-1 publics. Just watch the kids puck hog, chase the puck or dump it from the red line. Coaches at my son's school say they are working on "skills" and then--for the whole season--don't bother to work on breakouts! We've all heard that coaches shouldn't teach systems to younger kids--guess what, its time when they get to high school. Having coaches that are stuck in the by-gone dump and chase era is a real problem. If you can't teach the kids to play good hockey then they will leave, no matter what other changes you make.