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I've never seen a local mass kid get an at large bid so that is way off. There are confusing selections every year. If your kid gets on a line with a kid or two who is awful or doesn't pass, its tough to shine. Couple of one hour plus sessions being evaluated so its understandable that there are misses. It is evaluated by college coaches where some of them have seen your kid play in the past or recognize the name so that helps to some degree but for sure there is no set team.
I wouldn't call them rigged, there are some kids that are head & shoulders above their peers and will be put through to the final 40 even if they can't make the opening of tryouts. Is that rigged?
There are always a few surprises in the final 40 but I suppose if your kid isn't one of them and you felt he should be than it's rigged.
If your player gets past the tryouts to the festival, it's not only fun but good hockey.
My kid made it to the 40 2 years in a row- it was fun- didn't lead to anything but it was a fun experience and got a cool shirt
Mass hockey wants to send the best kids to represent the state. Kids get hurt and have obligations so some miss but last out of the 16 that went , 14 were clearly the best kids so I think it was pretty up and up. There will always be some up for discussion.
Compare first year eligibility and former brick teams. It seems as if a lot of kids are on the radar already. There is some turnover between first year eligibility and 3rd year. Go to tryouts, come back for the long weekend of games and enjoy watching your kid play without crazy parents screaming in the stands.