Let's do it this way - Do you ever foresee your kid being big enough or strong enough to play D-1 hockey? T-1 if it's realistic he will play D-1; USPHL if he has D-3 more in the cards for him. And if mom is 5'2" and dad is 5'6" I'd say keep the kid local because T-1 will be the end of the road for him
Truest statement on here in a long time. Genetics takes over at some point. You can't buy size. Bad move marrying the hot little spinner that was a cheerleader in college.
Except, it's not that simple. There are a lot of factors that go into the process, particularly when the kid in question is 15, as the OP's kid is. Where is he going to school? Is that a consideration? How difficult is it to get to the locations of the two Tier 1 teams in the area? What times do they practice? What is the traffic like at different times of day? What time does he finish classes? Does he have other responsibilities after school? Is there even a parent that can consistently drive him?
I know these things factor in more heavily than where he may eventually play because we have been faced with this decision. I don't know whether my kid is D1 or D3 material yet, or either, but I do know that the Tier 1 league was an excellent experience for him. We won't continue, because of some of those other factors. I'll miss the league. It was fun.