Mass Hockey at the highest level is not as strong as it was a few years ago. NH hockey is decent at it's highest level. Bedford and BG both have quite a bit of talent and both would be competitive in Division 1 Mass hockey. Think Woburn, Winchester, Arlington, but maybe not Reading, Burlington and Catholics.
The biggest difference really is in the depth of talent between all the schools. Take away the top 5-10 Division 1 teams and they could not compete in Mass hockey. NH has some very good high school aged hockey players but with all of the prep schools and U16 & U18 teams they lose the majority of their best players by junior year.
And there are kids in NH going places?
A few years ago, Pinkerton Academy had Dudek and Sanford both on their team. Now both at BC. Of course they were going to leave same as if they were at Mass Public! Plenty of talent up there but all will leave by Sophmore or Junior year, best case scenario
These 2 kids had one thing in common. Their parents had money. If they didn't get what they wanted their parents moved them onto another opportunity afforded to them because of money. There were many kids these 2 kids played with and against that were just as good if not better then these 2. In the end, how much money has or is willing to spend on this sport will get you onto the next level. Just look at all the ex-NHL kids thriving in this sport. What do these kids have? money. These 2 kids are not prime examples of NH High School Hockey.
Just look at all the ex-NHL kids thriving in this sport. What do these kids have? money.
Or perhaps they come from good stock and have been taught how to get to the next level. Money helps, but come on!!
Ex-NHL'ers kids have one thing in common, connections. Believe me, I was in a different sport and if my kids had wanted to play that sport they would have been selected and moved to the front of many lines.
So many ex-NHL players, ex-D-1 stars, ex-coaches, current scouts, NHL front office men....their kids make the teams and get moved along because the differences in abilities is often an opinion and the differences are often very small. It is a nepotism / legacy game unlike any sport I've ever seen and thank God my kids prefer playing for the fun of the game and then hitting the books!
It's also a sport where you need to ask to move ahead. If your son has an interest in playing in the USHL and has the ability you need to let the teams in the Midwest know. And if Daddy is an assistant coach of a D-1 school, an NHL scout or you and your brother played there....well it is assumed they will do you the favor for something else down the road. Not bitter, that's just the way it is.
And that is why people playing on full season U14, U16, and U18 club teams spending $7,000 per year is just plain stupid. In the end, the ones that remain in the sport are the ones who have parents with money or as pointed out above have connections to the NHL. It is just the way it is in this sport. What did the USA jr. team have this year with kids from ex-nhlr's. Let's see, MacInnis, Tkachuk, Hitchcock, I know I am missing others. These kids did not make it because they had the genes of a NHL player. They made it because they had money and connections. In the end, they are the ones remaining because they outlasted everyone else in the sport due to an endless supply of resources and connections.
LM - as one USHL scout said watching him play D-I high school hockey, "He might be the worse h.s. defensemen I've seen in a while." And off to BC it is.