Hey coach, here's the truth: Your kid sucks and he wouldn't be playing if you weren't coaching. Deep down you know it but rather than move him to Town B, you play him top minutes. You drive away your top players because they grow tired of watching your kid and your assistants kids losing the game. They are tired of getting yelled at while you tell your son, "nice effort, nothing you could do on that one." Talent is slim at tryouts so you blame the turnover on the team for your record. "If the parents weren't such jerks and would leave their kids with me, we would have a decent team" you tell the parents who stayed. Here is another truth, it's YOU not the families who left that are to blame. You are the problem but you're too full of yourself to realize it. Your son isn't as good as you were and he's never going to be so stop now and let him find something he can excel at. He doesn't need to chase your dream, he should chase his own. The team, you and your son will be much happier when you figure out what he should be doing and you leave.
Most businesses value their client base and offer all types of member benefits and loyalty discounts. This generally holds true from credit card companies, big retailers down to the local pizza parlor. Youth hockey organizations are different in that they resent their customers. Probably because most hockey organizations are run by ex-players who don't think like business people. They are caught in the moment and don't have a five/ten year vision of where the organization will be
In my experience, you can't have competitive sports without having winners and losers. So no, there is no loyalty, nor should there be. There are lessons to be learned by getting cut, lessons about perseverance, never quitting, trying harder... Even great players have stories of being cut from teams they had their heart set on making. Learning how to overcome adversity is part of why we have our kids play "competitive" sports.
And for what it's worth, I say this as a parent of boys playing select hockey, so our family has been on every side of this coin. We felt the pain of getting cut, the nerves of being "on the bubble," and the sense of pride that comes from being one of the top players guaranteed a spot.
In my experience "loyalty" to one family, in the sense of giving a kid a spot who hasn't earned it with his play, is usually a slap in the face to some other kid, maybe the alternate, who came to everything and worked his butt off all year, but is being kept off the team because the coach is friends with little Jimmy's parents.
If what's most important to you is keeping a group of kids together then enter your kid at a level where they don't keep score, or play house league. The teams won't change so your son/daughter can make and maintain the same friends and just enjoy playing for playing's sake. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you want to foster the kid's competitive side then you need to be prepared for the ups and downs and know that the downs are part of the process.
The only way to keep tryouts on the up and up is to bring in unbiased evaluators. Use High School head and assistant coaches/ skills coaches at the end of their season to come in and evaluate at tryouts or have the coaches evaluate at other levels to avoid conflicts ( obviously not a perfect solution). Once set, leave open a few "wild card" spots so the coach can hand pick a few if necessary. Don't announce coaches until team is picked. That way if his kid is not picked for Elite team than he can coach the team his kid is placed on. You will never, ever make everybody happy, but this might take the bias out. Bias is the issue! You see what you want to see; Boy, what a headsy play, he has intangibles. OR He just tries to do too much himself! Eye of the beholder!!
It's much more about bad businesses with inferior products than loyalty. If you're kid is on a good team with a good coach and playing for an organization that focuses on player and skill development you will not see significant turnover. Generally kids who are good enough to make a decent/good club team are coachable and athletic. If they are in a good development environment they will grow and improve as players every year. Sure, there will be the odd player here and there that struggles as their peers get bigger or that doesn't have the aggression needed or that has difficult parents - so a player will get cut every now and then but 12-15 kids will be offered a spot again every year. If a team is constantly recruiting players from outside their organization because they are better than the players inside the organization it is because they do not develop players they recruit them. It is a bad product. Parents share the blame too. Why do parents leave the team that was responsible for providing their player with the environment to develop and improve to the point that they can go out and make one of these recruiting based teams? Maybe it's a club that has a name that they are proud of, maybe the kid that they have always thought was a stud plays for that team, maybe the commute is shorter... Whatever the reason, the environment and system that allowed their player to develop is being undervalued by the parents. Long story short - if a club doesn't display loyalty they are advertising that they don't develop their players and you shouldn't want your player there anyway.