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Youth Hockey
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Moving from youth to High School Hockey

I've seen the posts on the board about how U14 is a mess for the kids in grade 8. My bender is a few years off so I've just ignored it. I also just read the mite major post about T1 vs Elite, etc. and it seems very stupid.

How do High School teams get picked? Are there actual tryouts? If so, are they in the fall? Are there some schools where there are a ton of kids and it actually matters if you played T1 versus Elite?

I would have to think that one summer of training and getting bigger and stronger has to mean a lot more than if you played mite/squirt/peewee elite. Isn't body checking the great equalizer?

For those that didn't quite make it, where did you go wrong or what did you run into that made your bender not be up to being able to play HS hockey?

Re: Moving from youth to High School Hockey

Anon
I've seen the posts on the board about how U14 is a mess for the kids in grade 8. My bender is a few years off so I've just ignored it. I also just read the mite major post about T1 vs Elite, etc. and it seems very stupid.

How do High School teams get picked? Are there actual tryouts? If so, are they in the fall? Are there some schools where there are a ton of kids and it actually matters if you played T1 versus Elite?

I would have to think that one summer of training and getting bigger and stronger has to mean a lot more than if you played mite/squirt/peewee elite. Isn't body checking the great equalizer?

For those that didn't quite make it, where did you go wrong or what did you run into that made your bender not be up to being able to play HS hockey?
First, dump the marketing monikers of youth hockey, elite, platinum, tier-I, etc. When I think of elite in the context of hockey, it's a player that has a very real opportunity to play D-I or D-III hockey. So less than 200 kids in New England per birth year. Others may define it at "kids that can play D-I" so 50 or so kids per year. Not that all 200 or all 50 will make it because the numbers say they won't but the difference from player 35 to 50 is really something most of us can't judge. So does it matter where you play your hockey when it comes to high school..not in the least. The high school coach could care less, it's simply "can you help me win". Every year at tryouts you see that freshman dad wearing whatever hockey club jacket, bragging about his kids team MHR ranking. The look on their face when a PHL, BHL, Raindbow division kid makes the roster of their elite kid is priceless.

This transitions to tryouts, yes tryouts are held beginning the first Monday after Thanksgiving. In the weeks leading up to tryouts, there are also practices that are organized by the team captains. They are certainly not mandatory but it can help an incoming player be a bit more comfortable coming into that all important first day of tryouts. Most coaches look to put their best team together but it doesn't mean politics or connections don't come into a play for a few spots.

Is checking the great equalizer? Yes & no. First, if your kid is a slow skater, checking isn't going to help him, he's not going to be quick enough to get to the fast player. Checking will remove a few kids from the upper echelon of the sport if they can't adjust but it doesn't make an average player into a great player. High school hockey tends to be more physical than what any freshman is used to. Besides playing against kids that are older, faster and stronger because of age they rules for contact aren't the same. That can really intimidate a kid the first time he gets lit up a full second or two after moving the puck. So I wouldn't call it an equalizer but player needs to at least be able to play through physical contact even if they aren't much of a hitter themselves.

Don't overthink this. Get with a coach that teaches your kid how to play the game, is demanding in effort but isn't so crazy that he beats the love of the game out of your kid. If you want him to work on his game in the offseason, go 1:1 or small group skills, avoid the big camps. Skating is still the most important aspect of the game.

Re: Moving from youth to High School Hockey

Anon
I've seen the posts on the board about how U14 is a mess for the kids in grade 8. My bender is a few years off so I've just ignored it. I also just read the mite major post about T1 vs Elite, etc. and it seems very stupid.

How do High School teams get picked? Are there actual tryouts? If so, are they in the fall? Are there some schools where there are a ton of kids and it actually matters if you played T1 versus Elite?

I would have to think that one summer of training and getting bigger and stronger has to mean a lot more than if you played mite/squirt/peewee elite. Isn't body checking the great equalizer?

For those that didn't quite make it, where did you go wrong or what did you run into that made your bender not be up to being able to play HS hockey?
Too many factors here to respond in depth.
At a D1 HS the majority of the kids on varsity will have played club hockey. The top 6/4 will typically be SRs and JRs and likely elite players at some point in youth. They will see the lions share of ice time. This is of course relative to the size of the school. D1 Catholics are almost exclusively comprised of them.

At D2 and D3 the composition of the varsity team will obviously be lesser than a D1. There are D3 schools with kids who are contributors but only played Town A. There are also D3 schools where the top lines are very good T1 players or elite only. All depends on location and size of town and also the number of players in an age group that passes through. Either way in HS, the top 6/4 are getting all the ice.

Hitting and size are not the great equalizer. That is a myth perpetuated on this board by Town dads. Skill, skating, and aggression are what counts and you can find that, or lack thereof, in a kid who is 5'6" or 6'4".

The higher the level of youth hockey your bender plays, the better his chances of being a top line contributor. If all you care about is him making varsity by the time he's a senior than just about any path will do that for you.




Re: Moving from youth to High School Hockey

My local HS is one of the better D3 programs in the state. Tryouts are usually right after Thanksgiving (not this year obviously) and by and large most of the kids thought they were fair from what my son told me. This year varsity had smaller kids playing forward, bigger hitters on D but all played with a certain amount of skill and aggression. Skating determines how soon if at all kids make varsity. Some of the best varsity skaters this year were the smallest kids on the team. Hard hits in the high school game are much more prevalent than most aspects of youth hockey so if a kid has a real aversion to the physical game it will make a difference. Playing time is most certainly not equal so that can be a real adjustment for a lot of kids. As stated most of the kids who get real ice time came up through the club hockey ranks. It's unusual to see any town only players cracking the lineup of decent high school teams. This is the same for most high school sports save football.

Re: Moving from youth to High School Hockey

My Son is a 9th grader at a D1 HS. What I've found the most eye opening is the amount of Freshman that have repeated a year. Now I'm not naive to reclassing I thought that was reserved for ISL schools. My son could certainly have used the year to develop physically however academically and socially it would have done him a disservice keeping him back a year.

Re: Moving from youth to High School Hockey

ANON
My Son is a 9th grader at a D1 HS. What I've found the most eye opening is the amount of Freshman that have repeated a year. Now I'm not naive to reclassing I thought that was reserved for ISL schools. My son could certainly have used the year to develop physically however academically and socially it would have done him a disservice keeping him back a year.
Luckily my 5th grader is pretty well behind academically so he'll be looking for a repeat grade at some point anyway!

Re: Moving from youth to High School Hockey

T1 vs Elite is completely meaningless at the high school level.

My oldest was a good T1 player, smart, good passer and all around player. He made varsity as a freshman and played in the top6 all four years (though he did get hurt as a freshman).

My second son was an Elite player, he ended up about 2" taller than his older brother and has a great work ethic but not as good hands. He didn't make the team as a freshman or sophomore.

There is a kid on Roxbury Latin that played all his PW and Bantam hockey in the New England Premier League, so basically town hockey. He made that team as a freshman. Another kid from that same youth program made Xaverian as a sophomore.

There is a kid on Nobles that made it as a freshman who plays T1.

There are kids on Walpole high varsity (D1) that have played only town hockey.


Tryouts matter. Captain's practices matter. What the captains think of you matters. Situation and available jobs matter. The sticker on your helmet is meaningless.