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.
Find the best coach you can and leave the kid there. Don't jump from team to team looking for wins. Start there and see what happens. Jumping teams or jumping to lax because you think it's easier probably wont work out all that well. Think you don't have to put in tons of hours on lax skills to play D1 is just foolish.
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.
Best thing you can do is make them aware. Explain it to them. I have several kids, boys and girls all stating at one point that they wanted to play a sport in college. Two wouldn't put in the time. I explained it to them several times. Going to practice and going to strength training wasn't enough even though you do it every day. Every kid in the country does that. They had to outwork and develop skills better than others. They got it and finally said in their junior years that they were good with just playing through HS. They stopped the charade that most kids put on because they don't want to disappoint their parents who want them to be college athletes. They also were finally ok with their peer group to state they didn't want to play in college. One kid did whatever it took but didn't have the athleticism. The last one is more gifted physicially and has the determination and passion for the sport. He's still playing.
You just don't know but what we all know is it's mostly out of our control. All we can do is give guidance and the opportunity to develop and see what happens.