Greetings. I just accepted a job transfer from Minnesota as my division was sold. I have a 15 year old who is a pretty good hockey player at his respective age level. My wife and I are struggling to decide between the various Prep Schools and the Junior Programs here in Mass. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Well it's not an easy answer and there will be some varying opinions as to what to do but here are my thoughts.
It all depends. First questions are - how good of a player is he? How smahht is the kid and what are his academic aspirations? What are his goals as a player? Where are you thinking of living? How deep are your pockets?
Last part first; how deep are your pockets? Coming from the Midwest you will have a little bit of sticker shock for most things. The $1 million 3 bedroom bath and a half two car garage house isn't out of the question so give it all some serious thought. The prep school option is the most expensive obviously and at $25-$40k a year it's nothing to sneeze at. If the kid has Ivy school smahhts, the budget is unlimited and academics are as important as hockey it might be a good choice.
On the other hand if the budget has some limit, the kid is not all that academically motivated and hockey is really important my guess is moving to a town that has a good public school system and tossing the kid into a good junior program ($6-k$10k per year) that is near your house might work well.
An in between step if the budget is really limited that has worked for some kids recently has been moving to a town with a good D-1 hockey program, spend a year or so and then move on to a junior team and stay at the school if it's good academically.
As far as Junior teams at that age (and I don't know them all) one of the better for the players, competition and getting a college commit is the Boston Advantage Tier I program out of Hingham. They play the best U-16 teams in the country, have some of the best local coaches and really work hard on finding schools for their players. Other than that its the local USPHL teams and the quality of play there at U-16 isn't close.
At the end of the day the Prep scene here isn't exactly what it once was, the hockey is OK and they do get a few looks but coming from MN you might not be too impressed. The top-end talent in the Preps is good but locally top-end talent regardless of where they play is top-end local talent. The Prep teams just are deeper than other high school teams and in my opinion not really worth the $ provided you live in a community with a good school system and the kid isn't dreaming of a top top college.
Throw some more details out and we can see what others say.
He nailed it!
Also, check out the USA hockey announcement regarding the U15 Pilot program!
Check out the Northern Cyclones U15 program. http://site2029.goalline.ca/team.php?team_id=452400&league_id=36461
Hope this helps?
Thanks. My son had played at Saint Thomas Academy in MN. He was a first liner
U16 - U18 free skates at NH Avalanche Tues, NH Monarchs - Thurs, Jr Bruins Next Wed ( 23rd). Check out their websites for confirmation. This may give you some ideas.