Lets just say I have too many kids in hockey. Approx ages 9 to 17. They have always played club hockey and also filled in whenever available at their local town team that plays in VHL. I see a huge drop off in talent at the town level. My 7th grader plays Fed platinum and is average in that league. He plays in VHL Elite and is very good. I think the town teams have some good players but the roster falls off at the bottom.
I have no idea why people are down on town hockey. People on these forums are down on many things about hockey from leagues to coaches to players on this forum. Everyone here seems to know how it should be done.
All I've heard about town hockey is that it doesn't provide the necessary skills to really get better. I think some people like being involved with their town and perhaps showing off their kids to their neighbors. People do pay a lot of money to live in certain towns these days so one would think people would be more into town hockey.
As one poster mentioned, it’s really depth of the team at Town Hockey because not all club kids in that town choose to play town. On a club team, the expectation and general rule is that all kids will be evenly skilled. On town, that is not necessarily the case. It’s lucky if it works out that way, but with so many kids who choose to only do town, the depth of skill may not be there. And town is 2 birth years vs. single birth year. Sometimes kids that are on club teams that are younger birth year on town teams don’t look quite as good when playing with and against older kids who may be a foot taller depending on growth spurts.
I've had kids play both. The real difference is at a higher level D-1 high school team a 'town only' kid rarely makes the team. Maybe one spectacular athlete or a 'friends & family' of the coach getting a rare shift in garbage time. It's kind of sad that a kid needs years of club hockey just to make the varsity town team but that's how it is now.
The best then are the high school coaches walking around like they've developed these kids when 95% of their development has come from their local club teams making coach's 1980's hockey at UNH or Vermont seem like Pond Hockey.
I can see why people think it's 'sad' but unfortunately this is what happens when everyone does it. It has just become the norm for kids to play club hockey and town hockey has taken a back seat.
Life used to be simpler but people come around and make it all more difficult. Look at real estate prices, look at traffic. It's all normal and just the way it is now.
If someone wants to play hockey most towns have that option. I'm not sure what the issue is? I think some people just want club hockey to go away but that won't happen.
Town hockey gets a bad rap, but all three of my kids played town (in addition to club) and loved it. Some great memories doing the Waterville and Lake Placid tournaments with our town teams. I say do both if you can, through squirts at least.
Is it really town hockey if it’s all just club kids playing hockey?
Even town hockey seems to be a commitment which is why some people feel they might as well do club. With town hockey you still have to get up early, get the kids dressed and drive to awful places to the rinks. Someone told me they went to brockton for a town hockey game recently. If you have to drive all the way to Brockton from a place like Marshfield you might as well just sign up for club. Who wants to do that type of travel for a town sport?
My point is it says basically everyone playing town hockey plays for a club too. So it’s basically club level hockey. There are town programs where if you play on a club team then you can’t play in the town league. A kid who is just playing town most likely won’t be able to be competitive with a club player. It’s not to say the town player is bad, it’s just hard to keep up with kids who are dedicating more time to a particular sport.
It probably is harder for the kids who play just town to get ahead if the majority of the town kids on the team are playing club. It seems stupid in a way. But this is what is happening. Loads of town kids play club as well. I think people should make a choice between the two- not do both.
I think the moral of the story here is that if everyone (my kid included) just played town hockey it would benefit all. The club owners who sell you the dream would disagree but for the normal people think about the money and time you would save. All while still being able to enjoy watching the little bender play. Albeit closer to home. It would also help out the real ELITE players having a more competitive schedule.
Again, I think it's like telling people living in the city of Boston to just use BPS. Yes, it probably would help the schools in the long run and the education would be ok but no one wants to take the chance. So...private school it is.
Honestly though do you really think town hockey would provide the same type of skills and development that club hockey does? I just don't think it would. Towns pay employees less than clubs. They have less money.
I also think there are too many club hockey teams in MA and the leagues/teams are not evenly distributed. It still comes down to geographic location as well. No one wants to drive that far for club hockey practice. The same teams seem to end up being good year after year. And the same teams end up being bad year after year.
So many people here say most kids don't go on to play D1 or college hockey so why do so many parents invest in this? I guess to see what might happen...to say they tried.
So for our town, we have 3 squirts teams. Every kid on squirts 1 plays club. Maybe half the kids on squirts 2 do, and I'm pretty sure none of the squirt 3's.
I don't know about other towns, but our town coaches do absolutely no coaching. I don't blame the parent coaches, but their primary commitment is to their kids' clubs, so the town program is just extra ice time for the kids. The skill levels also vary too much for the coaches to do anything - the kids on squirts 1 range all the way from fed elite to upper gold so it's very hard to teach skills or drills actually useful for all the kids.
One of the dad coaches in my town for kids my sons age is a surgeon... I'm sure he really has lots of time to be a coach.
Simple - play town hockey first when you start out and get a ton of confidence. If/when you DOMINATE at that level, move to a higher level. Keep doing that until you can't dominate anymore and then you are at the correct level. Throwing a young kid not ready into the highest level first is a recipe for ruining him long term.
My kids played club through midgets and we tried town hockey a handful of times over the years. Every year and every organization was the same. Coaches kid sucked, as did the coach, but spent half the game on the ice. Half the coaches can't skate and have never played a game in their lives. It is exhausting to watch and honestly isn't worth the time and effort. The clicky parent groups and townie coaches will wear you down. If you want to know who is making the "A" team just read the board member list as it will be their kids. Just go play club and if for nothing else get the better ice time. Town hockey gets hosed on ice times at most rinks.
I wish town hockey worked as it is the way things should be but unfortunately it is broken beyond repair.
Correct. The disenchantment with Town Hockey really started to gain momentum on the south Shore about 2005-06. So many parents had it with the Townies destroying the experience by placing the wrong kids on the A-B-C teams. I remember asking one of the board member parents "why don't we have an outside judge decided who makes which team." His answer - "you don't get it, do you." and then all the private teams started popping up. The parents got involved and corrupted the thing and basically killed it. Now Town is basically rec hockey for kids who want to try it out before checking starts.
One reason I think people do club over town is town ice times are not good. Unless you like taking a 45 min drive at 5am for a 6:10 am sat game for your little 6 year old. People pay for the better ice time, has nothing to do with how much their kid stinks or doesn't stink. Getting up at 5am with a kid is pure hell the rest of the weekend. My kids are in HS now and we did the club and town thing for one year. The ice times made it easy to decide screw town hockey.
I feel like town hockey has been 'dead' for a while. People seem to do it on the side. What are people upset about?
If your kid likes hockey, and you want them to play on even a decent high school team you need to get them into club. The sooner the better. Some of the decent D3 and D4 teams are all club kids never mind D1. This is the same for most other high school sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, lax, etc. The only sports left for kids who play strictly town to make varsity are football and track. Everything else is all Club kids. Maybe it’s not fair but it’s the way it is.
The biggest difference between kids who never play club vs. those that do, is generally speaking, the kids that have never played club (and are decent players), never reached a level in town where they can't skate around the other team.
This creates a massive problem for them when they get older and transition into late middle-school and into High School, the ice gets smaller, and creating time and space becomes more difficult.
They can't make that transition because they've never had to.
Club hockey when appropriately placed, teaches your player how to create time and space, essentially the most important piece of playing hockey.
Now, add to that the potential of more ice and better run practices, you can see why the spread grows between a player playing it vs. not playing it.
I will say there are many clubs around that are no better than town by way of overall talent. But at the end of the day if you add a good practice to a kid who loves it, they'll develop.