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It sounds like the landscape north of Boston is very different than the rest of the region. I do know 8-10 years ago you could have made the same case for Town Hockey south of Boston but those horses have left the barn.
The disconnect on this argument is that many of the club parents left town hockey before or during mites when the practice times were terrible and the vast majority of the kids lacked focus (kids were 5 or 6 years old). What those folks don't realize is that by peewee/bantam, the top team from each town actually plays pretty good hockey. Playing at that level can be a worthwhile endeavor for a player also on an EHF or E9 team.
And I'm talking about the top team at each age group, not the B or C team. Teams that are made up of mostly select players, so it's not one or two kids showing up when they can to take all the ice away from the regular players. It's a team almost exclusively made up of club players. Check the scores page for VHL Elite or AAA divisions. Lots of forfeits. That's because if a VHL game conflicts with a club game, most of the team can't make it and they are forced to forfeit.
Your right about the disconnect, but it's not because of bad ice times and daddy coaches. It because these whack job 05/06 parents fled town hockey in mass in mites because they didn't want their kids playing the USA Hockey ADM cross ice hockey that the rest of the country has been using for over a decade. (Hum....has anyone checked how many MA kids were on the U18 national team roster lately?) I guess I'd be angry too if I'd been "forced" to pay for "select" hockey since before my kid could even tie his own skates. (And probably still can't) So forgive them for not knowing that some parents kept their kids in town hockey (oh the horror), or that many kids actually do play both town and "select" at the Pee Wee and Bantam level and there's nothing wrong with that, and that the upper level valley league, particularly at the Bantam level, is very solid (and physical) hockey. (Bantam is 02/03 this year for you "select" only types that only deal in birth year.) So let's all ease up on them. They've had it tough bouncing from program to program with their kids looking for a home. Give them a little time to figure out that in 2 to 3 years other kids will be allowed to hit their kids back (1 to 2 years if they play Valley League middle school hockey) that the E9 doesn't even exist after U14 (02 birth year this year for you "selectively" challenged parents) and that "select" hockey is a big money grab, even if it does give you a little better bump in competition over the minor year town teams. The only thing we ask of you in return is to please stop making asses out of yourselves in the rink and on the board, and just let your kids have some fun playing a great game. If they're lucky (and healthy) enough, hopefully they still want to and be able enjoy playing in high school.
I'm an 06 "elite" dad and I can't stand the elite nonsense. Some of the worse people around behind your back