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I agree with most of what you say except - " EHF blowhard parents that are now realizing that your 14 year old has no shot in hell of making the USHL."
It's not like it is impossible. I know some that have made it but they either are - a) legacy kids whose dad has some pull; b) kids that played local juniors and had their college commit coaches get them out there; c) kids that played locally for a good program (Tier1) and their program got them drafted or d) kids that have ventured out there on their own - showcases or camps.
(If anyone else knows how they got there please post)
Regardless the kid has to be 100% committed to hockey. If the kid is 95% into hockey and 5% "maybe I'll just go to college and hit the books..." it isn't going to work at all. I think that's how legacy kids often get the nod because it's their chance to get into the family business and teams know it - much like the farm kids from Western Canada that know hockey is their only way off of the farm...they are committed and desperate.
It is amazing to watch kids stall out in their development. Some just don't grow and others might get injuries or some lose interest but the amazing ones are the kids that keep at it and can't really get much better.
We had a local kid who was slated as a possible national team player as a 14 year old - went to the development camps, played on the right teams, grew to six foot plus and no matter what he did between 14 and 19 I swear he did not get one stitch better. Infact some local hockey guys think he was better at 15 than 19. Went on to college and played club hockey.
"If Hockey East coaches recruits to play in the USPHL they will. Fact."
So a Hockey East coach whose job is on the line every year will say, "I know I can get you a spot in the best junior league in America, the best players, the best development, playing in front of thousands a night, totally focusing you on hockey, living away from your parents insuring you mature and don't get homesick or change your mind easily to get you ready to come and play for me and compete for scholarship money...or because you might be afraid of moving outside of the 495 loop and you don't want live without your childhood friends or mommy's cooking we can get you a spot in this small league here playing infront of 40-50 parents three times a week in a league where the skill and speed is a bit less...but it's still good and THEN you come to campus and we can see if you like it and then you can compete for scholarships money and if I offer this to enough kids around here I might lose my job...a job I've been working toward for the last 20 years....you make the choice."
Jeff Cox @JeffCoxSports
60 Massachusetts kids on Hockey East rosters this year. 48 played HS or prep. 12 played midgets. Both paths work. It's up to the individual.