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Pardon my ignorance, but I write to solicit thoughts about which league might be the better path for my 04.
I have watched several games on Hockey TV, and these are my amateur observations. The BCHL is a faster, more creative league - kind of like OHL/USHL light. The NAHL is much more structured (i.e., systems-based) and older, particularly in the south division. That said, college hockey is becoming very structured, with a lot of systems, so maybe learning to play in a NAHL-type system is attractive to NCAA teams?
I don't know which league is scouted more, but I'm thinking the NAHL gets more NCAA attention because there are far more Americans in the league?
So, for an American hoping to make a good NCAA team, which is the better path?
Both leagues are solid.
Whichever team where your player will get the most opportunity for playing time, special teams, etc. for an organization/coaching staff that has a re****tion for developing players and moving them on to a higher level.
My first instinct is to say BCHL as it is a higher skilled league and not as physical, as you say USHL-light, and the ultimate goal should be the USHL. As a 2004 player could they handle the physical, older play in the NAHL or would they get beat down and have limited opportunities?
Another question is location. How will your player handle living thousands of miles away in a foreign country in the Pacific Northwest? Would staying in the USA in the NAHL East playing in NJ, PA, or MD or somewhere in the Midwest/Central be better?
You make a good point about the distance - something I considered, as well. I'm thinking, though, that it would be similar to sending the kid away to college on the West Coast. It would obviously be more expensive to fly him back and forth, and it would basically make it impossible for me to see him play live more than once a year.
Another factor is the citizenship thing. I understand BCHL teams are limited to something like 6 foreigners, so unless you go to the one US-based BCHL team, your chances to make the team are already reduced.
I do notice, however, that the BCHL teams seem more inclined to stick with their original roster. Some of these NAHL teams have run billions (slight exaggeration) of players through every year.