I started 4 years ago and here are some things I learned, that may save you some time.
Much like D1 or other showcases, they make money for the coaches or people involved so most appearances are more favours than seriously looking. Many schools have programs that feed them players every year and then look for some full pay and low aid number kids to fill things out.
Big schools (Deerfield, Andover, Exeter, Choate) its more about getting in first before you ever have to worry about the hockey coach. In some cases, the hockey is very competitive and they do bring in some older guys, but not like the hockey factory schools I will mention later. It helps if you are a recruit and not walking in off the street but in almost every case if you are contacting them watch out. They have the money to give your kid big aid without really haveing any interest in them as a hockey player. He may check other boxes for the school.
Small Schools (Holderness, Tilton, Winchendon, The Gunnery etc) can have some strong hockey teams but will have limited aid and will recruit a ton but spend their money on pg players.
Hockey Factories (Salisbury, KUA, Cushing, Avon) Revolving door of pg players. Unless your kid is NCDC or coming in from a JR hockey league, there is no way they will see the varsity team.
ISL teams (St. Marks, Milton, Groton, St. George's, Middlesex etc) The league doesnt allow pg players so its younger and smaller. The schools have big money but with that comes some of the issues with the big schools. One thing that seems to be different here is that they tend to have more oportunities for younger players.
Coaches are lazy and have a lot of school comitments so they will not do a ton of chasing, they will recruit in their backyard and from trusted sources that give them players each year. They will encourage anyone to apply and come and see the school, its what they are paid to do, some of this is generating applications so it can be tough understanding real interest. Overall you may have to start the conversation, intro your kid and let them know of a few showcases or games near them, they are playing in. If they show and start talking to you, that is a pretty good sign. If you are contacting them and they say some nice things and just encourage a visit it cant hurt but it may stop there or at least once you apply (which costs money). Hope this is some help.
This helps a lot. Thank you. We are planning to tour some of the schools mentioned and appreciate the advice and perspective on the different schools.