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My first born is just getting the point where we need to decide MA Div1 Private vs Prep.
We are lucky to live in an area where both are available, but not sure which route is best.
Some have told us to do the private a few years then repeat as a Jr at prep. Is this try most common route?
Anyone gone that way? Appreciate the feedback.
Prep coaches ideally want a player for three years. And, not all "prep" is good. Lots of prep schools have bad hockey. Focus on Keller Division ISL schools, Founders Div in CT second, top Eberhart schools like Rivers third. Beyond that, the hockey drops off fast.
In recent years many kids jump from D-1 public to prep after their sophomore season at a public. They do a repeat year and give the coach his three seasons. This is rapidly changing as the draw of prep hockey is waning.
First, prep hockey isn't 'all that' anymore. Go to the summer tournaments and you tell me. The full season players, prep, C.C. players, top public kids...you can only tell the difference by the stickers on their helmets.
Next, coaches aren't too interested in seeing your 19 year old prep player beatdown a 15 year old who hasn't hit puberty yet. It tells them nothing.
Next, parents are now doing more math. The cost benefit of prep school for a hockey player in today's world is highly questionable. (And spare me - "Oh it's the education...it's the education..." because if it was all about the education your kid wouldn't have time to play a serious sport, he would be in the library and not the rink). The cost benefit for an academically motivated student is much different, obviously.
Next, the kid will be playing juniors anyway he might as well get with the program now. If he is a stud he will play in the Midwest, if he wants to go D-3 or you beleive he is a late bloomer he will play juniors locally. Get to know the coaches, get to know the grind, decide if he wants to go through with it.
So just 4-5 years ago you still saw kids jumping to prep but it appears the trend now favors jumping to full season teams and directly to junior teams. The $8,000 - $12,000 cost is much more favorable and the exposure is better.
Better exposure, not playing against kids, get into the junior system, better hockey, don't want to repeat a year, maybe public school is challenging enough,. . .
No, no I currently have no skin in the game. I agree with a couple of your points. Yes, each kid and each situation is different and yes, we should be pulling for all of the local kids.
My experience is like this. I watched a handful of years ago when my son's D-1 high school team had a few high-end players. They lit it up and the parents were convinced by outsiders that the only way to go was prep. A couple boys made the jump, stayed back a year, help the prep school win a championship and then as 19 year old graduates...nothing. The boys had to scramble to find interest and both ended-up entering D-3 schools to play hockey. Recently I talked to one of the parents and he agreed that during his kid's time in prep school things changed. The local juniors route became a lot more attractive, cheaper than prep and no need to burn a year....and he has regrets this wasn't as available a few years earlier. And I think this is why you have seen a rapid talent drain from the prep schools as others see what has happened.
I think if the kid is very motivated in the classroom and he doesn't have to stay back a year I'd say prep is a great way to go. If it's all about hockey, then I would do everything possible to make it in Junior hockey and preferably in the Midwest or Canada and roll the dice on the education. Some kids aren't suited for rigorous academics...or academics much at all.
What about those without Div I aspirations - hoping to land at a highly academic Div III school - what's the best route?
Wrong on several points.
As previously stated, you need to look at the top 20 prep schools. Those are the schools that get most of the attention, although there are outstanding players (D1 commits & future D1/D3 players) scattered throughout the top half of the prep rankings. I can guarantee you that the top 3 lines on those teams are better than almost every public player and the vast majority of catholic players. There are exceptions, but they are few.
A good rule of thumb - top 1-2 players from a D1 tournament-qualified public high school team = top 5 players from a tournament qualified CC team = top 15 players on a top tier prep school team.
As far as summer tournaments are concerned, check out the rosters for the only summer tournament that really matters, the Summer Beantown. There are more prep than junior players, and the junior players tend to be older than the prep players. Fact.
As far as 19 year olds playing against 15 year olds, that very rarely happens. Out of the 24 teams (roughly 480 players) that made the prep tournaments this year, there were 6 players (1.3%) born in 2002. Not an issue.
Yes, prep is more expensive than juniors, but despite what this poster said, the education piece is a big deal. Unless your kid is a stud or you don't care where he goes to college then the education piece is important. And many junior programs require players to miss a substantial amount of school time for hockey. Not good.
I am not saying juniors or full season is not a good option - it certainly is for some people. But the narrative that "the draw of prep hockey is waning" is simply not true. You just need to choose your prep team wisely. Good luck!
10 out of the 46 players invited to this years NTDP evaluation camp played in the New England Prep league this season, Mass Catholics 0
There are also NEPSIHA Independent schools like Gunnery, Dexter, Andover, Winchendon, and Exeter. They get to schedule games against any school they like, and they tend to have very strong schedules. They can choose to play against top Lakes teams, like Kimball Union, then play in strong holiday tournaments (St. Sebs) vs. top ISL teams.
The independent teams listed above have multiple college commits.
He only loves little danglers. A couple years ago the top defense in H.S. Hockey and he had no idea who he was...