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Junior & College Hockey
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Re: Why Just Go To College?

I get amused when parents that never played much or high school heroes talk about how bad it is to play NCAA D3 in college somewhere. Similar to teen parents saying why bother if they're not the 1% in the USHL or playing top line at an expensive prep school.
The fact is that college hockey, D3 included, is stronger than it has ever been. Are some divisions better, sure. But having played at a good D3 school in the 80s I can tell you half my then very good team would be cut now. So if you are trying to be smart with your money and keep playing a good level, state schools across the country can be a great option.

Re: Why Just Go To College?

I see these messages about "Just go to School" all the time. Or your kids plays Double A so give up the dream. Let's say you have a kid that played at a Prep School, or a 18U team or High School hockey and he wants to continue to play hockey why not just let them if you can afford it?

I understand everyone thinking Tier 3 is a money grab. But what if, I know this is crazy, your kid has fun playing hockey and wants to keep it going as long as he can in a non men's league setting? What is wrong with being the 14th Forward on a D3 team, or the 9th on a Club hockey team? What if that helps keep them motivated in school? What if they, I don't know, just like playing hockey?

Who cares if you graduate at 22 or 25? Does it really matter? I mean we all work for the rest of our lives and I don't know many people that knew what they wanted to be at 22 or 25. I don't know many people that would be in a different place if they graduated school at 22, 23, 24 or 25.

The dream for a lot of kids is to play college hockey. The dream of a lot of parents it to play pro hockey or Division 1 hockey. College hockey is fun. The locker room, the bus trips, the workouts, the wins, the losses. Does it stink to get scratched? Sure. Does everything in life always go your way? I sure hope so but I doubt it.

I understand people thinking it's not "normal" to graduate after 22. But 30 years ago people were getting married at 22, 23. Now they are getting married later. People are buying houses later. People are switching jobs and going back to school.

Now I don't think junior hockey is for everyone but I don't understand why everyone is so up in arms about a kid deciding to play junior hockey (no matter the level) aging out and then going to college. Even if it's club hockey, or not playing hockey at the next level at all and just picking up a trade. I have never thought "thank goodness I got done with school at 22 and got started working". I also don't work in the same industry I did at 22 and know very very few people that do.

I get this is a bit of a ramble but I really just can't understand telling kid that isn't yours to give up the dream when you in fact have no idea what their dream actually is. If it is your child then you can make help them make the decision that is best for them and your family. If you won't fund it let them work and see if they like that, if they don't they can go to school.
I think people get "twisted" with Tier III because they feel like the org's and leagues are selling a very unrealistic dream rather than providing honest feedback. Simple examples "I think with another year of seasoning, your son has a real shot at our NCDC team" despite the fact the kid is playing third or fourth line or signing a kid but then dressing him every fourth of fifth game. It's just not a good look.

In my experience some parents are very realistic and view Tier III as an opportunity for the kid to have some fun and keep playing a game he loves for as long as possible, but I find those folks in the minority. I have found most are looking at the Tier-III as a stepping stone to the next level and a "necessary investment" and are fed a line that they swallow. Think about this, if a coach was honest & told an '03 parent/player "I'll take you on my USPHL Elite team for another season but you really have no shot at playing varsity college hockey" how long would he have his job? When it comes to our kids, we all want them to achieve their dreams and will do almost anything to help them. We are pretty easy targets.

I am fortunate enough to be friends with a well-respected NHL executive who gave me some advice with my oldest son whom he had seen play a few times. "If he wants to pursue something at the next level, that's fine. If he can't find interest at a Tier-II program, it's okay to go the Tier-III route for year. If after that year he still doesn't have interest, it's time to start college. The same club team available to him after aging out, is going to be available to him at 19."

You are right that starting college at 22 vs. 18/19 won't really make a difference & maybe the old adage of "buyer beware" applies to Junior hockey as they are simply providing a service that folks are willing to pay for. It would be better however, if they were honest about what they are selling.

Re: Why Just Go To College?

Playing Tier 3 juniors after HS is no different than taking a gap year backpacking in some commie country in Asia or Europe. Or even worse, Australia or New Zealand.

Subscribe to National Geographic, skate with the boys and enjoy western civilization.

Re: Why Just Go To College?

At some point you have to put the toys away.