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I disagree. The gap is not widening. In fact it may be getting closer as Prep and Junior Hockey decimate the Catholic Schools once plentiful recruiting pool. It will take a town with a large youth program and a few kids who they normall would have lost to the CC's and Prep to stay home and play with their friends and I could easily see them winning the Super 8.
Good point! It seems like all levels are getting diluted including Preps
I disagree with the idea the gap is getting closer (for proof look at the last 3-4 years). And talk about a decimated recruiting pool the publics have a decimated and limited talent pool that is getting decimated by not only Preps and Juniors but also the Catholics. And the idea that a few will stay at the local H.S. it would take a top-end academic high school to keep them (with many catholics enticing kids with free tuition) and a coach that can help them get placed at the next level - which none of them are very good at doing.
The remote chance is a public that has an unbelievable Freshman & Sophomore class and they make a run before they pack-up and leave. And the way youth hockey is today these kids all play on various local teams before and during high school and many of their 'friends' are players from various communities all heading to various private schools. No team is going to pull kids from it's Town Bantam & Midget program and compete in D-1 H.S. hockey...not even close to possible.
The chance of a public even making it to the final four is remote and fading every day.
Catholics aren't nearly as strong as they were just a few years ago. They are losing kids to prep way earlier than previously as well as to the u16 & u18 teams. Even though the Catholics are stronger and deeper than the high end Div 1 Public teams, the publics still have a shot. Will be really difficult for them to win 2 of 3 if they get past a play in game. Advantage Catholics for sure, but not as much as previous years. Preps are actually feeling it a little too.
Preps are pricing themselves out of the hockey equation. If hockey is the goal, it's not worth $30k a year. And you go to the summer tournaments and camps you see the players are no better, there are just more of them.