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.