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If my kid's team worked on power play every day before lunch, I'd like to think they'd be pretty good. They did look pretty polished this weekend though, I'll agree.
Only the MA District 04 champs are going to Pittsburg for Nationals. No other MA team will make it, they simply won’t be ranked high enough. The MA winner will most likely be SSK or possibly Rats, who seem to be improving, but may not have enough. All comes down to how teams match up against each other. We’ll see if Wizards or some other team can make a run. There are going to be 12 MA teams participating, so it’s going to be very watered down and not a strong overall tournament. Unlike past years, the U14 MA District tournament has been moved from November to March.
For 04’s in the NE District, if MFR wins, most likely they will be the only NE team going to Nationals. I’ve always believed that with their roster and all the additional training, Seacoast will improve significantly over the course of the season. Seacoast was blown out by VFM a month ago and this past weekend they tied and lost to them 2-1. Seacoast is definitely improving, and they will move up in the rankings this week. But they have a long way to go to be ranked high enough for an at large bid. They would probably need to crack the top 15 to have a shot. If MFR somehow loses NE Districts, MFR would likely get an at large bid to Nationals.
There are only four at large bids for Nationals—12 Districts and 4 at large bids for a total of 16 teams, with top 2 teams in each of the 4 pools advancing to single elimination quarterfinals. One at large bid will almost certainly come from the MI District (in some years two at large bids have come from MI, but USA Hockey likes to spread the at large bids around), so that only leaves at most two other at large bids with host team getting at large bid. Will primarily come down to final rankings and who ends up winning each District.
Even though it’s still early in the season, here are the 04 teams that are likely to win each District (MA and NE discussed above) and advance to Nationals:
Atlantic — With NJ Avs trending down, VFM’s to lose.
Central — Chicago Mission or St. Louis Jr. Blues. Both teams consolidated local talent and improved. Whoever doesn’t win may have a shot at an at large bid. Jr. Gamblers could be in the mix.
MI — Three teams currently ranked in top 10: LC, Honeybaked and Compuware. Compuware, with a number of former Honeybaked players, beat Honeybaked 4-1 this past weekend. At least two teams from MI will be at Nationals. This could be a year where three teams come out MI—the District champ and two at large bids.
Mid-American — Pittsburg Jr. Penguins get at large bid as the host, and Ohio Blue Jackets win Districts.
MN — SSM already in, winning Districts this past weekend. Best MN players and no. 1 ranked team Great Plains with many of the MN Fire/Blades players all playing MN HS hockey instead.
NY — Buffalo Jr. Sabres heavy favorite.
Northern Plains — Team North Dakota by default as the only AAA team in the District. May not win a game at Nationals. Top ND players playing HS.
Pacific — Anaheim Jr. Ducks or Alaska, but LA Jr. Kings could make a run. All three teams lost really good players to more traditional hockey areas.
Rocky Mountain — Colorado TBirds with Phoenix Jr. Coyotes trying to make a run.
Southeastern — Florida Alliance 04 to repeat as U14 District champ. Actually a competitive District with Team Maryland and Washington Little Caps having a shot at an at large bid.
Somebody keeps their finger on the national pulse. Pretty good write-up.
I can't imagine Michigan not getting 2 at-large bids b/c those other two teams who don't win it will likely be top-10 teams.
Although last year, Gentry 03s were top-10 and CYA was #13 and neither got a bid. Curious as to how that all works.
So it'll probably come down to Blues/NJ Avs/Maryland/Gamblers/Phoenix fighting for last at-large bid.
Prep/HS playoffs are into that weekend. Some teams won't have their top players.
My take is the Wizards will take the Mass invite.
How did Perinton get their bid last year, and why did the host district not enter an at-large team?
Charlotte does not have a Tier 1 youth program, and it is the host city that gets an automatic bid, not the district. The Carolina Jr. Hurricanes are based in Raleigh-Durham.
What are the out-of-district rules governing rostered players?
Is there a Nationals rule that limits imports, or is that a District rule?
IS Top Gun considered MASS or New England?
What does it matter they aren't good?
Residents (and registrants) of one USA Hockey District may play in another USA Hockey District. This is quite common in areas where USA Hockey Districts are close to each other, like Mass; NE (CT, RI, VT, NH & ME); NY; and Atlantic (NJ and Eastern PA). So, for instance, MFR will frequently have players from three different districts on their team: CT, NY and NJ. Likewise, Mass teams frequently have NH and RI players. This also comes up when players billet in another district to play on a local team, or go to prep school. Both are quite common in NE and Mass. Every player in every district is assigned a USA Hockey number, which is what is used on the roster wherever a player plays.
There is no USA Hockey rule limiting imports, however some districts, like MI, limit the number of imports on a team. Not aware of any limitations in the NE states or Mass, and seriously doubt there would be with all the prep schools.
Top Gun is based in Salem, NH, so participates in NH Hockey, which is part of the NE Hockey District. A number of Top Gun teams have Mass players, and I suspect the Top Gun/Fall Prep teams have players from all over. Top Gun may participate in the NH state tournament, but not sure when a Top Gun team last made it to NE Districts.
A separate issue is through which USA Hockey state affiliate a player is registered. While this generally does not impact where a player can play, it does determine which state's player development program the player goes through at the state and district level to get to the national festival. Players are typically registered through the USA Hockey state affiliate in which they live. Going back to the MFR example of having players from CT, NY and NJ, while they play on the same team, each of the players from those states would go through their home state player development programs.
In recognition of all the players who come to prep school from out of state, CT, for example, does not allow out of state players to register through CT Hockey -- and go through CT's player development program -- unless they have a home in CT. I suspect this rule was implemented, in part, to prevent homegrown CT players from being squeezed out of the opportunity to go to NE Districts and the national festival by strong, out of state players who come to CT for prep school.
If you look at the state hockey tournaments Top Gun is registered to play in MA and not NH..
I'm sure that was done to avoid SPA and Cyclones.
Interesting. Avoid Seacoast and Cyclones to face SSK, Rats, Wizards and BA?
The Top Gun way is not about winning... it’s about not being embarrassed by competing organization. Avs Warriors Seacoast Cyclones.
Rats invite to lose after dismantling the Kings
Relax Francis.....they got lucky second time around....
And just got trounced by the wizards. SSK still the class of mass hockey
Rats didn't have a full team. They were missing 5 players that trounced the Kings
Excuses, excuses. Did those kids miss the game where SSK trounced them too? Rats got lucky and won one game and are now falling back to earth. All hail the kings!!
Hear the Kings lost again in a Tier 2 Tournament
Francis, it was a Tier 1 tournament. U14 Kings did just fine going 5-1 vs U15 competition.
They lost in the finals to a pretty stacked U15 CCW team...not bad!
Rats lost 6-1 and 7-1 to Seacoast this weekend. While I gave the edge to Seacoast, I would have never thought there would be an 11 goal differential. A single lopsided loss like that could be a one off, but two lospided losses?
ALL the Rats will be back in March for the Natty run!
So, are you saying Rats players are already gone to HS, CC or prep even though U15, U16 and U18 Mass and NE Districts were this past weekend? Why would all those players be available this weekend, but U14’s wouldn’t?
So they got dummied over the weekend, because players quit on the team but we’re supposed to believe they’ll all be back in March and they’ll be awesome 🤔
There were Captains practices in MA/CT that the boys attended
Sorry if your "wins" were dummied down
The scores do indicate to me that Rats players were missing. Just seems a bit odd with Mass and NE Districts also going on, as I’m sure none of those players attended any captain’s practices this weekend. Is the thinking that the younger U14 players will have a marginally better chance of making varsity if they skate in captain’s practices and miss a league game against a high quality opponent? So are the Rats now done until after the school hockey season? Or is there going to be a much weaker FS team?
Color me skeptical about the captains practices. There were tier 1 mass playdowns this weekend and fall prep playoffs. Most schools have been conducting captains practices during the week.
Those who attend online school were not attending captains practice
It's sad that either Rats or Kings will get a spot at nationals. Many more deserving teams will have to sit home and see the Mass representative give up 7-10 goals per game.
No one “deserves” a trip to nattys. It’s earned by winning the states in march. Keep your privilege to yourself and may the best team win.
Public service announcement to the seacoast dads out there. Last weekend was the start of what you can expect for the next few months of games against local opponents. Your son didn’t improve dramatically, he just doesn’t go to a real school. See you in March.
Thanks for the PSA. However Seacoast has not lost to any local teams thus far. Last weekend was the full RR roster (maybe minus a goalie). Tell your little bender to put the puck in the back of the net and the games won’t be so lop sided. See you in March? Your son is going to play JV hockey somewhere or ride someone’s pine on varsity. How is that making him a better player? You think with all your shi**y loses you would be used to it by now.
Going to ignore the 4:30am posting time, that must be break time for the third shift toll takers on the pike. Previous poster nailed it EDUCATION, your son is not getting one. What is the goal, prep or college? no one is going to take online courses for admission.
Yes ,i’m sitting at a toll reading about some grown men whinning about his 14 year olds team getting smoked by a team that it clearly better but you can’t except it. You know nothing about the education they are receiving. Your kids team sucks. You should deal with that instead of making excuses for their loses.
A kid misses out on so much by not attending a real high school. Many of the lessons outside the classroom help shape an individual to be successful in life not to mention relationships with fellow students that could last a lifetime. But all these kids are going D1 and to the NHL so who cares about all that.....
ya like smoking dope and vaping... really missing out there fonzi
Thank you Team Manager Jeff. Jeff are traveling down to Florida to see your SPA get smoked by the Florida Alliance and Honeybaked? Please post pictures of the beach its getting chilly here!
Not Jeff lol. But weren’t your RiverRats just down in Florida getting trounced last month. You Goof.
Top Gun Top Gun!!!!! Just had a great weekend which included losing to the Breakers. It was the Breakers first EHF win.
Down goes seacoast! So much for not losing to any local teams, enjoy your travels SPA U14 parents.
Looks like SSK went down this weekend too.
Militia beats the mighty Kings to be to front runners!
Kings were missing their better players...save it...Militia not going anywhere...
To pay 15k and travel all over the world when you can get plenty of competition within a 3 hour radius is insane. SSK MFF Wizards Advantage etc.
Sounds like other than the top 2, SSK are the Militia. Time to get away.
Sounds like a dad that had sons team crushed by Seacoast. Doesn’t matter cause your team sucks and pretty sure your little bender is riding the coattails of some other kid on his team.
Beautiful, eloquent thanksgiving message.
Noting worse than seeing grown men thump their own chests over their 14 YO's accomplishments. Nothing screams "Beta Boy" louder.
Anyways, the great thing is we have a State Tournament in March to prove who's the best team at the 04 level.
too bad the best team in New England won’t be there.
Welcoming the latest age group to the realities of big boy Hockey. 04 parents delusional, not one 04 player will contribute meaningfully to a prep this fall.
Just looking at the list of new 04 and new 03 prep players, the 03 group is going to be much more impactful than the 04 group. While the extra year is certainly a factor, the 03's are a much deeper year in NE than 04's, at least compared to the rest of the country where 04's are very strong.
There are 12 04's listed, as compared to 30 03's, and the 03's are mostly at hockey powerhouses, where very few of the 04's are at traditional hockey powerhouses. Not a single 04 goalie is listed, and only two 03 goalies, both slated to be backups with upside. In fact, in the list of top 20 prep goalies, most were 00's, 0'1's, a 99, and only two 02's. This really highlights how much of a U18/19 league prep is.
The 04's will make a much bigger impact in prep next year as a group than this year, with many strong players still playing full season or not yet making the move to prep.
Is there a place to see if any 04's made the Prep Rosters w/o going to the schools website?
March district tournament will be hard on a lot of the teams. Depending on timing would remove most 9th graders from the equation, and even some 8th graders even if the don’t make varsity since at most schools any level of high school hockey is treated as first priority.
You could consolidate all you want, but no 04 group in Mass can truly complete nationally. Our system of developing teams and players isn't what it is in other regions. The teams are scattered yes, but the talent isn't there at the national level.
Mass has some really strong 01, 02, and 03 teams and players. And 05, 06, 07, etc.
While the system could definitely be improved, I think the 04 performance at nationals is somewhat of an outlier. MFR consolidates the best players in CT, NY, and NJ. That was not the case with any Mass team this year.
I can think of a Mass 04 D and a G that are as good as any in the country, and several F’s, D’s and G’s that are in the conversation.
MFR does that somewhat, but even they don't have all the top kids in that drawing circle. Some went away; some stayed in NJ, etc.
But I get your point - no MA team really comes close to that. Rats were closest example and that didn't turn out the way I expected it to.
I gotta go with Top Gun. Looking strong in their own tournament called U14 Prep Prospects by going winless and struggling to score goals against a weak field. The only prospects there were the SSK's who wasted their time rolling everyone there. Heard there was toilet paper in the bathroom tho for all those prep coaches attending.
Yea pretty funny that the smallest kid in tourney a former TG player who plays for the BJR's had as many goals as the leading goal scorer from TG.
Even the blind squirrel gets lucky here and there....it's hockey ever here of a goalie stealing one?
A 24 Goal Differential in 6 games is clearly a waste of time.