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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...