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Youth Hockey
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All the discussion about leagues and teams moving and parity needs to exclude any references to specific birth years. If we want to argue what's best for a certain birth year, nothing will ever get resolved. For anyone to make any kind of meaningful change (let's pretend there's a possibility for a second), it has to be what's best for the business owners and it won't be dictated by which year your little bender was born. So start a new thread if you want to talk about how poorly the 06 parity worked out or how great the 08 white division is.

Back to topic, I'm amazed sometimes how structured youth hockey is in so-called "competing" regions. The highest level is Tier 1/AAA, and the number of teams is limited. There are many more Tier 2/AA teams that play some pretty good hockey all the way down to bad hockey (kind of like New England "AAA" teams), and the commitment level and intensity is stepped down a notch. This puts both high-end and mid-level (and low-level) players in the best situation to succeed, competing in a division with players at their own level. I would imagine this system also provides the parents with a built-in measure of where their kid stands and prevents that wasteful cycle of bringing your mediocre team to faraway lands to play tournaments under the illusion that your team is competitive at the highest youth level.

The New England youth hockey scene has morphed into something very different. We have no restrictions or quality control on the AAA or Elite label, there are dozens of club teams selling themselves as top-level organizations and sending families all over North America to prove it. And all we need is someone or some entity to step up and exert some governance over the whole system. In my opinion, the reason that a true tiered structure has not taken hold in New England is because it is not to the benefit of the 10 owners of the EHF flagship organizations or the 6 owners of the E9 flagship organizations. The current system blurs the line between "elite" and "select" or "Tier 1" or whatever you want to call it, giving parents the illusion that their kid is in the same ballpark as the top-level kids. Draw the line, call those teams AA, restore some order, and I think you'd see parents spend a lot less money without sacrificing much on the outcome. You'd probably develop stronger players on the high end as well.

Re: Re:

How do they do it in Canada?