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My son will be a Squirt minor next year and has options to join a team from each league. Advice on travel, Competition experiences? Try and keep it positive please. no need to bash each other just looking for basic information.
I have kids in both leagues. I have to say, I kind of prefer the E9. Less travel and they don't take themselves quite as seriously. There seems to be a little more loyalty in the E9. That being said, it really depends what teams you're looking at and what year. At certain years, the top E9 teams are as good as the top EHF teams and at other years the difference between the top teams in the two leagues in huge. I say go with the best coaching. That's the smartest thing you can do.
The EHF seem to grow out of the old Metro Hockey League model where it took it's self very seriously. The Metro was kind of the only place outside of Town Hockey and it was very limited in the number of teams, coaches and the quality of player it had in it. The growth and popularity of 'Select Hockey' took the EHF a bit by surprise adding teams and divisions beyond their wildest early dreams and of course things got watered down, other leagues popped-up, Town Hockey is a shell of it's former self and now it is what it now is. The idea of taking it's self a bit too seriously never seem to fade though for the EHF.
The net result is outside of a couple very good teams at various age levels (like nationally ranked) the talent is very dispersed and overall many of the teams aren't that great in youth hockey regardless of the league. By Bantams and for sure Midgets the players seem to find the teams and each other and move along.
Having been in both leagues I would say that they are, for all intents and purposes, the same. It all comes down to finding the team that offers your son the best development and coaching atmosphere. The travel will be similar, the competition will be essentially the same - the team has a better coach and the organization that focuses on development rather than recruiting is the home you want. I will say that, in my experience, you are more likely to find organizations that focus on development rather than recruiting in the E9.
"...you are more likely to find organizations that focus on development rather than recruiting in the E9."
E9 doesnt focus on recruiting or E9 is unable to recruit? If E9 is a better league why are kids/parents always looking to make the jump to the FED?
I didn't say the E9 was a better league, I said if you are looking for development you are more likely to find organizations with a development philosophy there. As for your question, I think you see what you want to see - a kid moves from the EHF to the E9 you see that they couldn't hack it in the EHF, if they go the other way it is because the EHF is better. Kids leave the E9 for the EHF all the time but kids leave the EHF for the E9 all the time too. I think you go with coach #1, organization #2 and league #3. People are idiots when it comes to the EHF E9 debate. People are focusing on the two games a week that a kid will play maybe 15 minutes and touch the puck for maybe 1-2 minutes and get limited instruction and making decisions because they think the teams in one league might be a tiny bit stronger than the teams in another. Focus on the quality of practices, the quality of communication and instruction they get and the quality of the skill program. They will be on practice ice for three hours a week - what happens in those three hours is way more important than a debatable minor difference in talent. If the EHF team has a better practice and development environment go EHF, if the E9 team has a better environment go E9 - simple.