Another thing many locals overlook is the USHL experience might be the closest thing to professional hockey any of these kids will ever see. Entire communities back the teams, they fill the rinks with 3,000 - 6,000 fans every night depending upon the team's promotions, everything is not only free but many other perks around town are offered to players. Connections are formed with players, coaches and front office people who will be leading the sport in a few short years. And yes many go D-1 afterwards but I always wonder about the kid that plays in the USHL and ends up at a 'D-1 program' like Ferris State, Canisius or Bentley. "Where did everyone go...?"
Where are the once mighty and powerful Bay State Breakers??? Boy, how far have they fallen...
Level of USHL is a lot higher than most realize. Your talking about a 16 team league that feeds 60 NCAA programs. So it's not a league where the top 1/3 of players move on to the next level, nearly all will or could play NCAA and nearly all have or come to the league with a NCAA comittment in hand. The huge proponents of the leage will say that it's at the NCAA level already and in some regards you can see why they would say that. The top 1/3 of the teams in that league are on par with the NDP U18's and every year the U18's play a circuit of NCAA teams and win a number of those games. Also you can look at any number of recent USHL alum's and see that their production from USHL to NCAA goes up, not down when they move to on to college.
And it's only going to get tougher as the doors are more open now than ever to Canadian and EU/Russian players. USHL just opened the door to more import players and NCAA has no limits. Major Junior is really feeling the pinch from NCAA. NCAA fills a gap that MJ can't fill, which is where do kids play when they age out of juniors but are not ready for NHL/AHL etc. QMJHL is really dying on the vine in terms of being an NHL pipeline league and the OHL has very high end talent that jump to NHL, but if you project to be a mid level player in that league, more are looking to USHL/NCAA as a better path because you can now develop in a great situation between 21-24 and then see if you are NHL caliber.
True the demands are high but in hockey, travel is minimized and taking a high course load in the summer is how most achieve the student part of student athlete. I'm sure some choose basket weaving 101 but I think that is more of the exception than the rule.
Depends on the subset of kids you are referring to. If your saying any kid who ever laced up skates on the town mite c team, then yes, talk of juniors/college hockey is not applicable. Good observation.
You guys finally nailed it. After all, why let you kids run the risk of being disapointed. Just tell them outright that the odds are against them so don't bother trying. Bravo.
"Enjoy the journey wherever it may take you"
So when a kid is drafted, does that mean he has already told the team he will do it? Or is it a pig-in-a-poke like getting drafted into the Q and they hope you'll start studying French ASAP?
What do you think? There are many good players, some better than the ones that were picked. So with 10 total picks, why draft a lesser player or any player if you had no idea if they were even interested in playing?
Provided that USHL affiliates are eligible to be rostered on NCDC teams, it's a worthwhile gamble.
In some cases, a young USHL draftee doesn't make the team out of camp, and then has to find a place to play/develop for a year+. Prep used to be the only option, but now that kid could play NCDC for a year, or until he makes the USHL roster.
Older kids could also realize they are outgrowing Prep, and see NCDC as a better option than playing against younger kids for another year.