DM47 looked a little confused on whether Tier III was going to be free to play. USA Hockey says Tier III is pay to play. Technically the "Tiers" are only distinctions in business models and are not in theory a measure of any level of play. We all know the best players go to free to play.
Centralonehockeyleague.com will be a new free to play league under AAU. There are 441 players in Ontario alone that are paying to play Tier II. Many are Canadian. Under AAU, a Canadian is just a North American, like a US player. So, they are not imports.
There arent enough NAHL teams for all the players that are Tier II ready, so nearly 600 US kids a year head north. Some don't want to play in the NAHL because of various reasons too. The NAHL was going to get crushed by the USPHL out east if this were approved, not only in Tier II but in Tier III they would have been decimated over night.
Now USA Hockey, the NAHL and USHL are betting the USPHL doesn't have the balls to leave. A bad bet on their part. If the USPHL joins AAU, USA Hockey will no longer be the largest junior hockey organization in the United States. The real risk for USAH is losing the youth teams. They think it wont happen, but again another bad bet. People in general are fed up with USAH leadership, and that includes the NAHL and USHL.
While I wouldn't normally use a political analogy, USA Hockey may have just set themselves up to be Trumped.
There is a difference between someone who plays hockey, and a Hockey Player. which one are you?