People need to stop comparing Minnesota to Massachusetts- its a totally different setup where New England has prep schools and Minny doesnt (other than Shattuck). Prep hockey is where it is at now followed by U16/U18 then high school. This year its evident with the lack of high end talent playing high school hockey. Even the Malden Catholic and BC powerhouses are no longer keeping players. In fact, the three best BC players from last year all left to play prep this season.
And from what I saw of those three players, they would have a hard time cracking the top two lines / pairings of a good MN high school team.
So people are opting out of HS hockey to play local U16/U18? All the way through senior year? These are kids at public schools with weak hockey programs exclusively? I'm asking because I don't know. I have a 7th grader coming up and trying to figure things out.
An interesting article appeared last week in the providence journal talking about how 12 RI players appeared on the 3 champion prep schools rosters. That is a lot of players which obviously doesn't include RI players not on championship rosters. Some of the better RI players also appeared on other prep rosters like Moses Brown, Milton, Nobles, and Westminster to name a few schools. Years ago these players would have never thought of these schools and would have attended MSC, Hendricken, and Lasalle. There is some talent left at the RI private schools but there is absolutely no depth. There is no interest from any colleges or juniors as far as I can tell.
I only mention this because this is not a RI issue it is all over New England. But the RI issue clearly shows what's happening. Look at the kids being sent to the National development camp. The Massachusetts players are all on prep rosters. Years ago these kids would have attended CM, Matignon, Malden Catholic, and BC high.
If high school hockey wants to survive it needs to change its rules and adapt. A few ideas below:
20 minute periods for division 1
High school coaches be more involved with players in off season. Prep school coaches are all over the rinks in the fall
Allow coaches to give more access to junior coaches and college coaches to promote hockey after high school
Allow private schools and catholic schools to recruit and compete with preps
These are just a few thoughts. If nothing is done any quality high school hockey will go the way of the dinosaurs very quickly
I was at the CC/Pope Francis game a couple of nights ago, it was some of the worst hockey I have seen in years. The next day I read in the Boston Globe the Pope Francis Head Coach blamed his goalies for the loss. You wonder why everyone is running away from MIAA Hockey? These are two private schools, where the parents are paying good money to get nothing in return except public high school sports and a slightly better than public high school education (maybe) and in the case of Central Catholic a daily visit to scenic downtown Lawrence as you drop your kid off at school.
It all just goes to support that more and more youth hockey 12 months a year isn't translating to better hockey players overall when the kids reach the high school level.
Is it fun for the kids playing U16/U18 in front of 20-40 parents, rather than the larger crowds of student body and locals you get for high school hockey games?
the crowd size really depends on the town that you live in and the time of the year, meaning now. I've been to two of our towns playoff games (my son plays FS), our stands were packed, people such as myself without kids in the program were there. Atmosphere was great. In both cases the number of fans from the other towns were much smaller, and by much smaller I mean half the size.
If kids want to play college hockey and that is their goal, than they can't go public and it's almost getting to a point where they can't even go Catholic Conference, at least for D1...Is there any D1 commits in the Catholic Conference this year or last? So sad ...Junior hockey and u14/u16/u18 teams have had such a negative impact on our sport here in New England
There are plenty of kids playing D-1 high school hockey who can or will play college hockey. Just because you aren't a commit at the age of 14 doesn't mean you can't play college hockey.
Everyone knows the program, EVERY college coach would rather have a 20 year old man show-up on campus as a freshman than an 18 year old kid. EVERY coach would prefer the kid to do at least one year of Junior hockey and almost EVERY kid has to play Junior hockey somewhere. If the kid is a high school hockey prodigy he would get scooped-up and taken to the USHL at the age of 15.
Go watch a D-3 college game and you tell me, does it look like an impossible level to achieve? Finish high school, work part-time, play Junior hockey and if you are any good you will make a college team. If you do real well your first year in Juniors and you grow (a key deciding factor between D-1 and D-3) then move up to a higher league and play another year of Juniors and keep the D-1 dream alive.
Two separate 'buckets' indeed. One is an ocean and the other is a bucket.
The 18 year old wunderkind is only going to be on campus a couple years anyway.
Back to: " One is an ocean and the other is a bucket. "
What path and where each boy/girl who plays hockey is up to the parents and child as a joint decision. There is no right and wrong. Having been thru this before I can say the high school hockey experience can never be duplicated and playing with your friends and classmates in front of local town crowds is very special. I think everyone should have that for a year or two at least. If your not a top player or dominating at hs level by then playing juniors is a waste of $$$ but they will gladly take it selling you on the D1 dream when the majority of kids will be play D3 at best after 1-2 years of juniors. For many of the players in high school its all over after senior year but they just dont realize it at the time. If your not on the top junior team after highs chool then your looking at playing ACHA club hockey and there is nothing wrong with that as well. Good luck to all and enjoy the ride while it all lasts.
"... I see are kids that chose to play for what would be considered good D1 public programs as Freshmen, get serious minutes as Sophomores, and still not be able to make good half season teams where they had to compete against Prep kids. Why? The level of competition is too low"
You are delusional. Go to the summer tournaments and look around. The prep kids are no different. ‘Unable to compete with prep kids,’ good god I'm laughing my a$$ off. The difference is the third line at an Arlington or Hingham would be lost on the ice against many prep teams. The top 3 forward and the top two defensemen would notice the difference but could play without a problem.
Been there. Not only did my public school defensemen play against prep and full season junior players in the summer tournaments and college camps / combines he actually enjoyed it and was one of the better players on the ice. And yes, he is playing in college… at the school of his choice.
All Catholic coaches should be fired!!! All the kids they have at tryouts.All the recruiting they do. Most Catholic schools are now friends and family!!! A town team wins Division 1 REALLY!! That doesn't say much for the coaches!!!
I'll give the MC and SJP coaches a pass, for one year anyway. CM is on their third coach in 3 years-he gets a pass. X is a football school. The rest of them should be seriously looking at their programs and how the people in charge are running them. BC Highs last championship came in 07, they haven't even been to the finals since 2012.
5-10 years ago they were all really active recruiting kids, now it seems they've given up and let the prep school look for the younger kids.
They're still out there