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Parents ego's prevent them from having the patience to let kids develop and grow. There is no secret sauce to getting kids to the D1 level let alone professional hockey. I've seen kids leave at a young age for major junior and flame out while others have thrived on that path and are now in the NHL. You don't know and you cant predict.
You can project but you can't even be sure of where your kid will end up physicially. I can name kids who were good players but were never picked for anything. Then at 20-21 their physicial development accellerated while most others stopped. You don't know.
One tell all sign on how far your kid may go is passion for the sport. Most think they are working hard if they go to practice, play games and do their workouts. It's a lot but it's also the same as every other kid in the world who dreams of playing in the NHL. It's not going above and beyond. Kids who find ways to work on things above and beyond what everyone else is doing because they love the sport have a shot.
Assess your kids passion for the sport and passion to master things versus going to practice and games and skating hard. If they don't have passion, try to foster it but not force it. They might develop it once they see the results of working above and beyond. If they don't, well then they are just like the rest of us who enjoyed playing sports but didn't love it enough to spend most of your daily life doing it.
People can fake a lot of things but passion is not one of them.
Lots of good points. Clearly you speak from experience, and worthwhile experience. What would you tell parents is the age younger players should be at the starting line....Midget or Bantam years? The time to really go all in.
Interesting points - NE hockey is really hard to navigate if not in the inner circle. First love is hockey but we finally said screw it - let's take a college run at lacrosse, it's a lot easier.
I hear many parents saying that about switching to lacrosse but I just don't understand why. After a lifetime of hockey at the 11th hour they encourage their kid to seek out lacrosse instead. But why? Sure if your kid is exceptional and gets a rare rare rare D1 full lacrosse ride then OK.
But for the other 99.5% why change sports for college if there is no financial benefit? Even if they can't make a D3 hockey team, if they love the sport they can play ACHA which can be very good.
Are they switching just to say "my kid plays some NCAA college sport"? If so let me tell you I've seen many kids quit on that path saying the year long commitment to a sport they just like (not love) was not worth it.
Not slamming anyone just saying have them do what they love, even at a lower level, not what they might like.
It's more about "I want to play a sport in college" than "I love hockey so much I'm willing to go and spend two years of playing Juniors, spend $30-$40K of my own money on the 'experience' and then show-up to some third rate D-3 college as a 21 year old freshmen to play marginal hockey in front of parents and a few girlfriends."
With the incredible number of schools offering and adding Lax and team rosters going 50-60-70 players deep and the serious recruiting region being DC to Boston a pretty average athlete can play Lax in college. D-3 you can find kids who can barely run making teams.
The hockey / Juniors system is real for many top-end & Canadian players but it's pretty criminal for those who end-up playing D-3 at some unknown college.