Right now both leagues claim a supposed 19 elite teams between leagues. Trimming to 8 would help but 6 would be ideal. 8 takes you from 323 players to 136. Acceptable start. Going to 102 would dramatically improve the level of play.
So I will admit it. My kid is not good enough to make one of these teams. He is a lower end elite kid. I know it and accept it.
Saying that, there's always a hockey team for every player. Tier 2 could become a real Tier 2 around here. He loves to play and he would be totally fine with it and so would I. I would also love watching the best of the best play each other.
Here's a suggestion. Relabel it Tier 1 the way it supposed to be. Six teams from the Northeast, six teams from the Midwest, six teams from the rest of the country. 3 from greater Toronto area, 3 from Montreal area, 3 from Quebec, 3 from Vancouver area and so on.
Cross pollinate the best of the best from Canada and the US and we grow the game.
Figure out a way to offset cost through sponsorship or donated ice in there you have it. One big problem is USA hockey would actually have to start caring about developing players versus lining their pockets.
One thing is for sure, we have some people out here that agree we have a problem and have demonstrated there are much better alternatives than the products out there today. The ultimate goal would be to have 3 or maybe 4 levels of play from 8u-14u. That's open for discussion. These different levels would allow kids to compete and challenge for positions as they develop. Similar to the minor league hockey system. There wouldn't be a draft per say, but organizations should be free to call up a player or send down a player during the year as deemed appropriate by the coaches. Making this system the most competitive throughout the year.
Starting to like this idea more and more...
All you have to do is get rid of owners and then find a non profit to run the league.