For nationally bound teams...are tryouts a real thing or are teams set in Jan/Feb like at youth club teams?
i.e. do you reach out to programs you are interested in in Jan/Feb to "get a look" or do you have to wait for tryouts in April?
Teams are mostly set, depending on coach 1-2 roster spots left open in case some kid shows up out of nowhere that is a top half of roster skater. So tryouts are for 1-2 final spots. I'd reach out ahead of time so you dont waste your time at a tryout if the coach has no interest.
It really depends on the team and year and so many variables. For example, when my son was U14 he did end up getting a spot on a national-bound team even though I didn't reach out until Feb. But it turned out it was just luck since a few kids left together to go to a team that was more local for them (they were all from the same town). Unfortunately there is always a mad dash scramble when switching teams. Total bummer and an annoying energy suck with having to run around and glad-hand and my least favorite thing about club hockey in Mass. But I do agree in general that reaching out earlier is always better if you know you want to make a switch.