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This can be a stressful time in the season for many. Our insecurities have a way of clouding judgement.
It’s important for everyone to take different perspectives into account with this hockey thing.
It all depends on what you and your bender want out of youth hockey and is contingent on a combination of your kids hockey talent, your bank account, logistics, ability to make a time commitment and ability to honestly evaluate what your player can realistically accomplish with the resources available.
I don’t think we should be judging anyone about what path is best for their individual situation. But lets please be logical when we discuss this illogical system.
If you see your child playing HS at mid level or higher miaa, then town hockey will probably not prepare the player to walk through the door and play a meaningful role. There are always exceptions and I’m sure everyone will have one. But for the most part those are just that: exceptions. If your kid wants to roll the dice on being the exception then I am rooting for you but it is a gamble.
If you have a kid who wants to go and play at a catholic or strong public hockey school then playing town hockey is an extremely low percentage bet because the competition will be coming from high tier 1 and elite-elite (ehf or e9).
If you see your kid has the ability and wants to go to a strong u15 or prep program then you need to be able to show you can play well against top competitors because every other player competing for that spot will have shown that ability and you will need to figure out a way to do that. There just aren’t that many spots available at that level.
We all need to accept that hockey is about fun for some kids while for others it’s about building a resume and performance history for the future. You can’t advance without one. Which is why there are so many pretend elite leagues that are very successful. Neither road is right or wrong for everyone.
Plenty of problems for all paths. Elite-elite families always have to be worried that the team will import a better player that gets them cut or demoted to a different role on the team.
While Tier 1 families feel discouraged that making the true elite level seems unattainable and aren’t given the chance to prove themselves because players are brought in through back door deals. Proving yourself in a tryout is not a real thing until showcase age. Even then, not sure.
Let’s get real and accept that times have changed. It’s not 1999. Although plenty of players used to go straight from HS to the NCAA. For the most part, that doesn’t happen anymore. Even high level prep and national players have to play juniors.
The reality is:
Most town players won’t make varsity in HS or will have a diminished role if they do.
Just like most elite players won’t make high level prep and will settle for top spots at their local HS.
There is always a better player than yours out there. No matter the level. Hopefully they don’t find your team.
Good luck to all the hockey players and families no matter what your path is. I love you if you are in town, Phl, e9 or ehf.
Remember, we and all our players will face challenges if we continue to pursue this sport. Let’s be supportive and real.