we agree that hockey is expensive, so we assume those with more of it will have a better opportunity to succeed. and in a vacuum that should hold but... those with more money have OTHER opportunities: 'sorry can't play this weekend, heading to the family condo for a ski vacation in Vail' ok fine Loon. middle and upper middle tend to have enough for 1 thing, so they pour it on - hockey. rich - have hockey, skiing, vacation condos, music lessons... more importantly rich tend to see sports as exercise, for socializing and college application building. they chose colleges based on the major, campus or 'my dad went there and his dad and his dad and...'.
HBO real sports did a story on the explosion of youth baseball tournaments. they met a family that went every weekend to another state for another round of games in hopes of getting that coveted college scholarship. the reporter ask how much they spent - estimated about $100k over the past 10 years. when the reporter said 'that would cover two years at a very good state school' they were unable to even comprehend it. the rich? would use some of that $100k on a sport, but use most of it to buy a duplex and generate cash flow to offset the expenses and later use the equity to buy another (and another).
The gifted and intelligent athlete who bucks the boilerplate trend yet stays in the loop... Player navigating NE youth hockey on the cheap...will always be sought after. Managers and coaches are not wealthy people and very few Arron Ekblad's out there.
My wife and I are 43, 2 kids, 1 boy plays hockey and lax, 1 girl gymnastics and lax, we make $150K a year total and feel like the lower middle class when it comes to sports. Hockey tuition is about $6,500.00, travel, etc..another 4-5K per year, same with gymnastics. 23K for 2 sports, then lax. Son makes every team he's ever tried out for since mites, Top 40 selection in MA and was in the mix for USA Camp selection. Why do we do it you ask, I have no idea is the answer! I guess it makes the kids happy so we are happy and willing to give up vacations, house updates, new cars, etc..
I see many people confuse networking with financial status. What you don't have in cash, you have to make up with networking by doing the small things, be nice to people, ask for advice and listen, don't criticize and complain. Our financial status isn't that of most but my son has still had every opportunity to play and get recognized. To each their own I guess, but this has worked with us. Gotta run, working the skate shop today in exchange for some ice time.