Bunch of dads trying to keep their elite status a bit longer...sorry their kid's elite status...
Most of us know and can identify the better players on our kids’ teams, leagues and even in their age group. Hockey in New England is heavily scouted. Not that hard to put together an invite only event, happens all the time. Showcases, festivals, district and national camps, we’d like you visit our prep school, tendered or drafted in a junior league, NTDP, here’s a college commitment, NHL draft, attending main camp, making team, etc. are all invite only. Are there players that get invited who maybe shouldn’t be, and others who are missed? Of course. But high level older players being completely missed is an extreme exception rather than the rule. Like anything that is both subjective and somewhat predictive, there are always going to be misses and disagreements. Add to the mix that hockey is a late developing sport heavily influenced by puberty, and the timing of when any particular selection is made can and does greatly influence the selections. And there’s nothing wrong with putting together a strong off-season league to further development.
I think both parents and scouts can for the most part identify the top players. That’s easy. The tricky part is the bottom 25% of the players to invite. They could be easily interchangeable with the top 25% of players that are not invited. All kinds of things could come into play here, including physical development, good play at a particular time, familiarity with the player, the position, style of play, the team played for, doing one thing exceptionally well, etc. I have found most of the decisionmakers to be exceptionally candid that they don’t always get it right, will miss many great players, and it’s really hard to predict where certain players will be in a few years, particularly at younger ages. Most land where they should eventually. Even if your kid doesn’t get an invitation, if they are good and keep working hard, they will be just fine. I’ve been on all sides of this with my kids, including the same kids at different times and even in the same season.
They have found a way to print money at FSC with these leagues. They just add a league each year and make it sound
Two years ago my kid joined the HS League. "Non-checking." 4 of the first 5 games ended in a brawl due to HS rivalries that the Daddy Coaches encouraged.
He also was "invited" to join the High End League after SSK tryouts, which was great - mostly top prep players. So, we signed up again last year, not knowing they had started a new "invite only" league. All the Prep kids left HEL, and were replaced by 14 year old HS players. They also gave that league the later ice, so now we were forced to fight rush hour traffic to get there to play the equivalent of shinny hockey.
I LIKE the coaches of the Midget and Junior programs. I think they are honorable people, and that's hard to find. And I have no issue with people figuring out a way to make money. As long as they aren't stealing it by promoting a product that isn't what they say it is.