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The College Hockey Landscape: A Study of the 21-year-old Freshman

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tpriest    0
tpriest
4 hours ago, Mr Ricochet said:

 

He was invited to an NAHL camp? 

Yeah Rico, he was invited to a 02 and 03 futures camp that Austin held (he's an 03). It was 5 mini games, one of the games was the full production, lights off, laser light show and starting line up like a regular season home game. 

They had a parent meeting and explained how tier 2 hockey works, what's paid for, what isn't and compared it to tier 1 and 3 for comparison. 

The players had closed door one on one meetings with their coachingastaff and scouts. Parents were not invited. The player received feedback about what he did good and what he needed to work on. 

Overall, not knowing what to expect I was very impressed. Kudos to the Bruins for putting watches on these kids now. It will only benefit them in a couple years. 

I have no clue what it will mean for him. It's in his hands, I gave him the opportunity, he needs to run with it and prove himself now. We had fun and made some memories. If that's all we get out of it, it was still a success. 

the pic is him taking a faceoff in one of their games. 

IMG_4138.JPG

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Canarse    2
Canarse
9 hours ago, kwey24 said:

Tier III is an interesting discussion now.  I played Tier III in Minnesota last century and it cost less than $2,000.  Now, our setup was nearly as good as most of the Tier III teams now...

My son is at the beginning of this journey (should start travel squirt hockey this season).  For me, I'm planning on him either playing for the Oak Leafs or Capitals or perhaps the Iowa Wild AAA if he is good enough; but, I might insist he be on the second team (the one that doesn't travel as far).  I want to be the one shaping his character and I also want to make sure he is not losing tons of time on his education just traveling to and from these places.  I've taken enough bus rides and flights in hockey to know how much studying is truly possible on travel days, especially when airports are involved.  Yes, I know that online-guided home-schooling is all the rage for elite travel athletes now; but, I still feel like there is value to my son (and daughter) actually going to school.  Do they learn a lot of annoying stuff? Yes.  But, it's also an opportunity to learn how to interact with people from a diverse background.  In real life, that's important.  I don't want my son living a life insulated only in the wealthy hockey culture.  I'm very intentional in teaching him to play a blue-collar style of hockey.  Even if he ends up a first line player, I still want him being the one skating the hardest as F1, or skating hardest on the backcheck, or blocking shots.  Only the very, very elite in the NHL go their whole hockey career never playing as a third- or fourth-liner.  I actually think being a fourth-liner (at least for awhile) is very important in building character (or revealing it).

So, I'll save the money in his teens and, if he's good enough, then we'll look at Tier III and start spending the money.  Or, maybe he ends up one of the unicorns that comes out of the MwHSHL and plays in the NAHL (Kody Reuter did it--yes, with a year in Omaha squeezed in).  But, I envision my son's path (he says he wants to pursue hockey) as involving Tier III and I'll be pretty set on that being in Minnesota.  That's where relatives are and I want to be able to see his games.  I truly believe if you're good enough, you can come up through Tier III, up through ACHA or NCAA DIII, and go on to play ECHL hockey or even higher.  Heck, Daniel Walcott used Lindenwood as his development before going to major junior! (Odd path, but here we are.)

This is where I really like the CSDHL in Illinois.  It's solid Tier II midget (or midget AA) hockey, that's not ridiculously expensive, has reasonable travel, and most of the kids can also still play high school hockey.  Do those kids go on to play in the NAHL in droves? No, but where do most NAHLers end up?  NCAA DIII or ACHA D1.  So, if the landing spot is generally the same...  If you can play NAHL hockey, do it!  But, is it worth spending well over $10,000 a year to play Tier 1 midget to get there?  My thinking above on all of this is why I am a fan of Minnesota high school hockey (with the Elite League); because the kids can live balanced lives and play other sports to continue to build their athletic IQ.  You can start specializing in high school and that is wise for the very, very elite; but, for most it's better to keep doing track or keep doing baseball, etc.  I'd encourage everyone to keep having your son play soccer until they're 12, just because of the athletic stimulation it provides the mind.  Like hockey, it's very dynamic and you're having to process a lot of information while everyone is moving--like in hockey.

I'd love it if the cost of Tier III went down.  This is where the demise of the MnJHL bums me out.  Every league now insists on these teams playing in league-wide showcases in a location or two each season.  It jacks the price up a lot.  In the MnJHL in my day, I slept in my own bed every night except for the weekend we were at a tournament in Thunder Bay.  I was able to use that extra time spending hours in the gym every day and actually working my part-time job. 

In defense of ACHA (especially high-level ACHA D1) and NCAA DIII hockey, we need to remember what hockey really teaches--how to be a man.  I don't mean from a machismo standpoint, that isn't the definition of a man.  I mean responsibility, balancing responsibilities, the concept of work and reward, teamwork, selflessness, time management.  You take hockey away from a lot of these college hockey players, I promise you they don't fill it with mission work for their church, volunteering in the community, or most anything else worthwhile that benefits the community.  Idle hands do the devil's work.  No adult worth anything gets to concentrate entirely on their job.  You're balancing work, family, volunteering (coaching perhaps), church work, etc.  If you have to dedicate all of your time to your studies, I fear you're not going to make it in life.

I paid a fair amount for my college education (although not nearly as much as kids today...); but, most of the very most important things I learned in college were through or involving hockey. 

 

It's clear you've been thinking about this.  That's good.  At the same time I would suggest keeping an open mind.  A lot can change in the next 8 years or so.  Paths that look good now may not look so good later.  At the end of the day, if you are paying attention, your kid will tell you what's best for him.  Many parents seem to be dead set on what their kid is going to do instead of letting the kid tell them through their actions what is the best next step.

My other suggestion is that if you are going to spend money at this age (9-10) I would spend it on skating.  Find a good coach and do it regularly.  It pays off down the road and you will learn a lot about your kid in the process.  Does he like doing the work, or does he just like games and hanging with his buddies?  Both are fine answers, but I think you get the implications of both.  

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iowaninja    1
iowaninja

I've never wished my boy didn't like hockey as much as I do now, he's only 6 but man I don't look forward to the future 

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minor life    2
minor life
2 minutes ago, iowaninja said:

I've never wished my boy didn't like hockey as much as I do now, he's only 6 but man I don't look forward to the future 

And this is perhaps the saddest commentary on the sport, shared by many parents today.  

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Bevalaqua    0
Bevalaqua
40 minutes ago, iowaninja said:

I've never wished my boy didn't like hockey as much as I do now, he's only 6 but man I don't look forward to the future 

I remember when my son was 6 and thinking, as I wrote a $1,900 tuition check for Mite hockey, how can people afford this?  Thought my wife was crazy making me drive around to cold rinks every weekend.  But it became addicting... By squirts, tuition was up to $3K and that was before the  spring and summer showcases to distant cities that became more frequent.  Along the way, we met lots of people and have great memories.   The sport became a passion for my son, so the commitment became more serious.  By the time he was 12, we pretty much knew who most of the best kids in the country were and believe it or not, a lot of those kids are the ones getting drafted now.  My advice would be to give your son a shot and see how it goes.   You will figure out how passionate he is and where he stands relative to others pretty quickly.  It takes a real lot of hard work and passion by the player and the parents to make it work in the long run...

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Canarse    2
Canarse
54 minutes ago, iowaninja said:

I've never wished my boy didn't like hockey as much as I do now, he's only 6 but man I don't look forward to the future 

I think this is sad, but misguided too.  Yes, there are many pitfalls in youth sports and hockey is no different.  Still, they kids by and large have a great time.  The expectations of the parents are what can make it a bummer.  Just hope your kid has fun and encorage him to get involved as far as he or she wants to get involved.  We spent a lot of money and time on hockey, but have no regrets.  We have great memories and great friends we made throughout the ride.  

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Maiden    2
Maiden

Rule 1  Its your son or daughter playing the sport, not the parents. Parents you had your time. Get out of the way and let them enjoy there time.

 

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SCBlueLiner    1
SCBlueLiner

These comments are all true, however, it is sad that hockey parents (like iowaninja) come to the realization about Squirt/ Pee Wee age that this sport, if you want your child to develop to their fullest and have an opportunity, is going to cost you a small fortune.  It really shouldn't be that way and it is seriously limiting to the player pool.  This has nothing to do with parents living out their dreams through their kids, or not letting them enjoy their time.  It's actually the exact opposite, you feel pressured to provide hockey opportunities to your kid.  They reach an age where they know the difference between, A, AA, and AAA hockey.  They know that in order to have a shot at reaching the highest level they can that they will need to play AAA (depending upon where you live in this country).  What they might think they understand, but they really don't, is the small fortune, and time, and commitment, and sacrifice on the part of the parents and the rest of the family that AAA hockey can cost, and we haven't even gotten to Juniors yet where T3 is also pay-to-play.  Frankly, I don't expect them to "get it" because they are still adolescents and it's one of those things they won't fully comprehend until they have kids of their own.

It's these things that I believe that USA Hockey needs to figure out.  What is going on now is not bringing hockey to the masses, it is not growing the game, it is limiting the player pool, and it is limiting the hockey talent this country produces along the lines of Haves and Have-nots, and honestly, I am a Have though I can think of other things to spend my money on, I am just arguing for the betterment of the sport here.

Edited by SCBlueLiner

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Maiden    2
Maiden

yockey begins at Bantam since USA Hockey butchered the youth system with moving checking from Peewee to Bantam. Checking should begin at squirt.

Also, the simple fix for checking is travel hockey (tier 1 and 2) has checking and house hockey (tier 3) eliminates checking. That way kids who just want to play the game should consider house hockey as a first option.

Edited by Maiden

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iowaninja    1
iowaninja

My son played with the mite team last year as a 5 year old, he did as you'd expect a young kid in his first year to do with kids up to 9 years old on the ice with him.  He had the time of his life and wouldn't give it up for anything, he's on the team again this year, and we as a family are looking forward to it.  The parents were great, the kids had fun and grew a ton.  I know Riley is looking forward to seeing his hockey buddies as well as probably watching a few squirt games to see the kids he played with last year that moved up.    

 

 

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Mr Ricochet    2
Mr Ricochet
9 hours ago, Bevalaqua said:

I remember when my son was 6 and thinking, as I wrote a $1,900 tuition check for Mite hockey, how can people afford this? 

 

Was this travel or a house league?   What level A, AA, AAA?

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Canarse    2
Canarse
8 hours ago, SCBlueLiner said:

These comments are all true, however, it is sad that hockey parents (like iowaninja) come to the realization about Squirt/ Pee Wee age that this sport, if you want your child to develop to their fullest and have an opportunity, is going to cost you a small fortune.  It really shouldn't be that way and it is seriously limiting to the player pool.  This has nothing to do with parents living out their dreams through their kids, or not letting them enjoy their time.  It's actually the exact opposite, you feel pressured to provide hockey opportunities to your kid.  They reach an age where they know the difference between, A, AA, and AAA hockey.  They know that in order to have a shot at reaching the highest level they can that they will need to play AAA (depending upon where you live in this country).  What they might think they understand, but they really don't, is the small fortune, and time, and commitment, and sacrifice on the part of the parents and the rest of the family that AAA hockey can cost, and we haven't even gotten to Juniors yet where T3 is also pay-to-play.  Frankly, I don't expect them to "get it" because they are still adolescents and it's one of those things they won't fully comprehend until they have kids of their own.

It's these things that I believe that USA Hockey needs to figure out.  What is going on now is not bringing hockey to the masses, it is not growing the game, it is limiting the player pool, and it is limiting the hockey talent this country produces along the lines of Haves and Have-nots, and honestly, I am a Have though I can think of other things to spend my money on, I am just arguing for the betterment of the sport here.

I'm not sure how USA Hockey is supposed to lower the costs.  Ice time is expensive unless there are public arenas to use.  It's not like the rink owners are getting fat, at least the ones around here aren't.  Several rinks have changed hands several times.  USA Hockey doesn't control equipment prices either.  Unless USA Hockey can get local governments to build or buy rinks I don't see how costs can be reduced significantly.

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Mr Ricochet    2
Mr Ricochet
12 hours ago, Canarse said:

It's clear you've been thinking about this.  That's good.  At the same time I would suggest keeping an open mind.  A lot can change in the next 8 years or so.  Paths that look good now may not look so good later.  At the end of the day, if you are paying attention, your kid will tell you what's best for him.  Many parents seem to be dead set on what their kid is going to do instead of letting the kid tell them through their actions what is the best next step.

My other suggestion is that if you are going to spend money at this age (9-10) I would spend it on skating.  Find a good coach and do it regularly.  It pays off down the road and you will learn a lot about your kid in the process.  Does he like doing the work, or does he just like games and hanging with his buddies?  Both are fine answers, but I think you get the implications of both.  

 

The whole post is excellent but the blackened is really important.  I'm still learning this upgrade but I think TPriest gave your post a thumbs up.  He can vouch for what I'm posting.

A few yrs back he and I discussed his boy playing and at the time he was playing youth hockey and asked me about it.  I told him first and last it all comes down to skating and that doesn't cost a nickel a lot of times.  Find a frozen pond and work.  No doubt a skating coach is ideal but anyone can look online and find drills to skate.   That can be done on a pond for free or freeze your back yard.

I'm reading 2k for a 6 yr old to play.  Don't know what level that is but what's wrong with a 5-6-7-8-9-10 yr old playing house hockey and working on skating on your own with your child?   If the kid and you indeed do the side work and the kid is putting up 3-4-5 points a game then you move him up to travel. And if the kid is that good in house hockey your phone will be ringing, trust me on that. If not the kid still plays hockey, you still enjoy watching, you still make friends and memories without coughing 2-3-4k for a 7 yr old to play hockey. 

I realize time has passed me by at warp speed.  But I played house hockey as a 6-7-8 and 9 yr old, phone kept ringing and was recruited to travel.  Played AA and moved to AAA a yr after.  That path is nonexistent today?  ....

And of course this is all relative.  If you can afford 2-3k a yr for a 6-7 yr old you play at that level.   If not what's wrong with house hockey while the kid develops (skating) at a fraction of the cost?  ...... If your child becomes an elite skater at age 12 or so and you went the house route there will be very little, if any, difference between him at that age and a kid who went the travel route as a 6 yr old.  ....... I know it to be a fact cuz I went that route. 

 

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Bevalaqua    0
Bevalaqua
52 minutes ago, Mr Ricochet said:

 

Was this travel or a house league?   What level A, AA, AAA?

$1,900 was for travel Mite hockey... around 7 or 8 yrs old...  $3K was for AAA Squirts...  by the time he hit U16 AAA, it was $7,500 - but that was for a top 10 team in the country, which is worth it for the college exposure - half those kids are in D1 now...  but I wouldn't recommend paying big bucks for tier 3 junior hockey...  I just ran into a guy my son skated with in Mites.  He has always been a 3rd line guy at the AAA level - decent, but not an impact player.  Now he's 19 playing tier 3 juniors... I looked him up and he had over 100 pts in 35 games in the NA3HL - so that tells me that NA3HL must be pretty bad hockey compared to USHL or NAHL.   My point is, if a kid is really D1 material, it's worth spending the money because they will get it back in a college scholarship, etc...   But to pay that kind of money for tier 3 probably isn't going to get you anywhere besides the poor house...

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Canarse    2
Canarse
8 minutes ago, Bevalaqua said:

$1,900 was for travel Mite hockey... around 7 or 8 yrs old...  $3K was for AAA Squirts...  by the time he hit U16 AAA, it was $7,500 - but that was for a top 10 team in the country, which is worth it for the college exposure - half those kids are in D1 now...  but I wouldn't recommend paying big bucks for tier 3 junior hockey...  I just ran into a guy my son skated with in Mites.  He has always been a 3rd line guy at the AAA level - decent, but not an impact player.  Now he's 19 playing tier 3 juniors... I looked him up and he had over 100 pts in 35 games in the NA3HL - so that tells me that NA3HL must be pretty bad hockey compared to USHL or NAHL.   My point is, if a kid is really D1 material, it's worth spending the money because they will get it back in a college scholarship, etc...   But to pay that kind of money for tier 3 probably isn't going to get you anywhere besides the poor house...

I hate to say it, but that's a risky line of thinking, in my opinion.  At the AAA level nearly every parent thinks their kid is D1 material.  I am including myself in this group.  Most parents are wrong.  Their kid isn't D1 material and this leads to a lot of hurt feelings, conflicts with coaches, etc.  I wouldn't bank on getting my money back in a scholarship.  If you can afford AAA hockey, all the training and showcases, great.  Have fun with your kid and let them develop to the best of their ability.  Sometimes it isn't enough, but you should have good memories and your child should have learned some important life lessons.  If your son or daughter does get a scholarship it's gravy.  

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Bevalaqua    0
Bevalaqua
4 minutes ago, Canarse said:

I hate to say it, but that's a risky line of thinking, in my opinion.  At the AAA level nearly every parent thinks their kid is D1 material.  I am including myself in this group.  Most parents are wrong.  Their kid isn't D1 material and this leads to a lot of hurt feelings, conflicts with coaches, etc.  I wouldn't bank on getting my money back in a scholarship.  If you can afford AAA hockey, all the training and showcases, great.  Have fun with your kid and let them develop to the best of their ability.  Sometimes it isn't enough, but you should have good memories and your child should have learned some important life lessons.  If your son or daughter does get a scholarship it's gravy.  

Your right, there's risk in going for it.   But even if a kid thinks he's got a shot at D1, I know a bunch of kids who wound up going to the BCHL then getting a D3 offer at a great school - Williams college, etc...   That's not a bad outcome either.  A lot of the D3 schools in New England are almost as competitive to get in as an Ivy.  So if you can leverage your hockey skills to get into a better school than you would have otherwise, it's still a win.   

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Canarse    2
Canarse
8 minutes ago, Bevalaqua said:

Your right, there's risk in going for it.   But even if a kid thinks he's got a shot at D1, I know a bunch of kids who wound up going to the BCHL then getting a D3 offer at a great school - Williams college, etc...   That's not a bad outcome either.  A lot of the D3 schools in New England are almost as competitive to get in as an Ivy.  So if you can leverage your hockey skills to get into a better school than you would have otherwise, it's still a win.   

I agree 100%.  

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Maiden    2
Maiden
13 minutes ago, Bevalaqua said:

Your right, there's risk in going for it.   But even if a kid thinks he's got a shot at D1, I know a bunch of kids who wound up going to the BCHL then getting a D3 offer at a great school - Williams college, etc...   That's not a bad outcome either.  A lot of the D3 schools in New England are almost as competitive to get in as an Ivy.  So if you can leverage your hockey skills to get into a better school than you would have otherwise, it's still a win.   

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought D3 schools could not offer athletic scholarships?

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minor life    2
minor life

Everything at D3 is academic money.  But, most people don't know, you can negotiate with D3 schools through the admissions department when it comes to tuition.  I had a pair of brothers go to the same school for the price of one.  If the coach wants you, and you have the grades, you can negotiate a great deal in a lot of cases.

This is an expensive game.  USAH cant help in any way with costs and they have no authority to do so even if they could.  Rinks are either independently owned or corporate for the most part.  The cost of operating an ice arena is ridiculous.  Electricity costs are trough the roof.  Equipment costs will never come down either as long as those manufacturers are paying the NHL guys for endorsement deals.

Its a grim picture, and in many cases an unsustainable business model.  Hence the bankruptcies of manufacturers, arenas and teams folding.  

This does come down to time spent with your kids.  What are you willing to pay without any guarantee of a return on the money you spend?  For me, it was the time that I spent with my son that was the return, and I didn't care or think about cost.  It was just part of it.  I didn't get a new car as often as I wanted to but that was ok.  Then again I remember watching and hearing people talk about taking out loans to pay for hockey.  I couldn't imagine doing that.  

AAA hockey before Pee Wee Major is a laughable concept.  Its parent in a pissing contest to say "my kid plays AAA".  Bantams on up for AAA is worth the money if the player really has the ability.  That's where honest assessment comes in, and in my experience honest assessment is the biggest problem.  Not many people can really look in the mirror and be brutally honest with themselves about a players current ability or potential.

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Canarse    2
Canarse
2 hours ago, minor life said:

Everything at D3 is academic money.  But, most people don't know, you can negotiate with D3 schools through the admissions department when it comes to tuition.  I had a pair of brothers go to the same school for the price of one.  If the coach wants you, and you have the grades, you can negotiate a great deal in a lot of cases.

 

When it comes to many private schools (D3) this concept applies beyond hockey and athletics.  Many of these schools have large endowments and can spend them as they please.  If a private school wants your kid, they can usually make you a deal.  Parents that automatically dismiss private schools because of the sticker price are often making a mistake.

As mentioned before, the D3 schools in New England (NESCAC conference) are some of the best liberal arts colleges in the country.

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tpriest    0
tpriest
10 hours ago, Mr Ricochet said:

 

The whole post is excellent but the blackened is really important.  I'm still learning this upgrade but I think TPriest gave your post a thumbs up.  He can vouch for what I'm posting.

A few yrs back he and I discussed his boy playing and at the time he was playing youth hockey and asked me about it.  I told him first and last it all comes down to skating and that doesn't cost a nickel a lot of times.  Find a frozen pond and work.  No doubt a skating coach is ideal but anyone can look online and find drills to skate.   That can be done on a pond for free or freeze your back yard.

I'm reading 2k for a 6 yr old to play.  Don't know what level that is but what's wrong with a 5-6-7-8-9-10 yr old playing house hockey and working on skating on your own with your child?   If the kid and you indeed do the side work and the kid is putting up 3-4-5 points a game then you move him up to travel. And if the kid is that good in house hockey your phone will be ringing, trust me on that. If not the kid still plays hockey, you still enjoy watching, you still make friends and memories without coughing 2-3-4k for a 7 yr old to play hockey. 

I realize time has passed me by at warp speed.  But I played house hockey as a 6-7-8 and 9 yr old, phone kept ringing and was recruited to travel.  Played AA and moved to AAA a yr after.  That path is nonexistent today?  ....

And of course this is all relative.  If you can afford 2-3k a yr for a 6-7 yr old you play at that level.   If not what's wrong with house hockey while the kid develops (skating) at a fraction of the cost?  ...... If your child becomes an elite skater at age 12 or so and you went the house route there will be very little, if any, difference between him at that age and a kid who went the travel route as a 6 yr old.  ....... I know it to be a fact cuz I went that route. 

 

Rico, we have had these discussions in the past when my son was younger. I do agree, get on a pond, do as many stick and pucks and drop in's as you can at the local rink and keep it fun. In my opinion kids getting really good on all 4 edges is critical to being an above average hockey player. That being said I put Tristan in one to two camps or clinics a year in the offseason and for sure one was always a power skating clinic. My son is not amazing by any means but I can honestly say he does work his edges very well. We also have a shooting tarp hanging in the garage. SHOOT PUCKS!!! Scouts and coaches have told him to shoot lots of pucks, like every day. It isn't a huge investment to buy a shooting tarp and hang in the garage or basement, or buy a net for outside. A lot of stickhandling and shooting exercises can be done at home. If your kid loves hockey and wants to be better he will take the drills and exercises learned at camps and clinics and use them on his own to get better. That being said, forcing them to practice and shoot pucks won't work, they have to want to do it.  I will never tell anyone that a camp will make your kid a stand out in 3-5 days. But the kids that take camps serious and take what they learn and incorporate it into their game and practices regularly will build a higher skill level. You cannot teach hockey sense though, I think that's just a natural sense you either have or don't.

Yes, if your kid is playing house and is pretty good, they will be knocking down your door at squirt level to travel. Mites has gone to pretty much non travel here in DBQ but I heard that they do have a special travel mite program now. They want to get them traveling as soon as possible. Tristan didn't learn to skate until he was 8...He was a late starter.

The risky part about AAA, especially AAA Spring/summer teams that pop up after regular seasons wrap up is they're usually a money grab. You better do your homework, they look appealing upfront when you can do 4-5 tournaments and some practices for $1500 but then you find out later it ends up being a team of 30 and your kids gets minimal ice time. I personally always felt my money was better spent in the offseason on camps vs. money grab AAA. I see a lot of people doing it though. There are also different AAA leagues that are different levels, some in the midwest I would debate if they are even AA compared to other regions. I think a lot of what you're paying for with AAA is exposure. Your kid is meeting different coaches and being exposed to other coaches and people in the business at bigger platform tournaments. If you pick the right caliber AAA team, that could pay off. In DBQ there are 4 kids that Tristan played with when he was younger that are his age that left to go play in bigger markets (AAA). These kids will most likely play Tier 2, if not Tier 1 IMO. The families have money and they already have the exposure and contacts. 

That's my 2 cents anyway...I could be all wet but it's the paths I see out of DBQ. I think my son if fortunate that he's a pretty solid player, works hard, has a good attitude and is coachable. Coaches and refs have told me he's a pleasure to coach or ref. We also have a lot of contacts in the business through billeting for the Saints. Not going to lie, I think it helps with exposure either with the coaching staff that comes through DBQ and the hockey families we meet and become friends with all over the country. I have kids that we billeted that are now starting to scout and coach in Juniors now. This isn't why we open up our home, but I have learned that it does allow us to meet people that we most likely never would if we weren't billeting. 
 

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SCBlueLiner    1
SCBlueLiner
12 hours ago, Canarse said:

I'm not sure how USA Hockey is supposed to lower the costs.  Ice time is expensive unless there are public arenas to use.  It's not like the rink owners are getting fat, at least the ones around here aren't.  Several rinks have changed hands several times.  USA Hockey doesn't control equipment prices either.  Unless USA Hockey can get local governments to build or buy rinks I don't see how costs can be reduced significantly.

They can do it by altering the structure of hockey they sponsor.  The most expensive part of travel hockey is the travel part.  Yes, ice and equipment costs are spendy, but quickly get dwarfed by hefty hotel and travel bills.  There are teams, Pee Wee aged teams, that are traveling across the country playing hockey.  If you are 12 years old there is no reason to have to take a flight several times a year to a game.  There are "AAA" teams that play a national schedule.  I'm not talking about Midget AAA, I'm talking about the younger ages, though I do think something could also be done to alter the structure of hockey to minimize the cost of Midget AAA, I'll mention that in a moment.  USA Hockey, to their credit, no longer sanctions Tier 1 at Pee Wees and has not national championship, yet "AAA" continues at Pee Wees and Squirts.  Why doesn't USA Hockey reach down to the affiliate level and have them put the clamps down on them?  I know it can be done.  The Districts in Minnesota rule with an iron fist and keep things in check there.  Maybe a little too heavy handed at times but they keep the ship running smooth. 

In order to address the rising costs at Tier 1 Midgets, USA Hockey should push and emphasis Varsity hockey and de-emphasize club hockey.  Hockey should be more community based, simple as that.  If a school district has a varsity hockey team the community is more apt to support it with facilities and resources and that will in turn lower ice costs.  The community is not going to be on board for using tax dollars to build an ice facility so somebody who operates a "non-profit" hockey club can line their pockets as the director of that club.

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Canarse    2
Canarse
22 minutes ago, SCBlueLiner said:

They can do it by altering the structure of hockey they sponsor.  The most expensive part of travel hockey is the travel part.  Yes, ice and equipment costs are spendy, but quickly get dwarfed by hefty hotel and travel bills.  There are teams, Pee Wee aged teams, that are traveling across the country playing hockey.  If you are 12 years old there is no reason to have to take a flight several times a year to a game.  There are "AAA" teams that play a national schedule.  I'm not talking about Midget AAA, I'm talking about the younger ages, though I do think something could also be done to alter the structure of hockey to minimize the cost of Midget AAA, I'll mention that in a moment.  USA Hockey, to their credit, no longer sanctions Tier 1 at Pee Wees and has not national championship, yet "AAA" continues at Pee Wees and Squirts.  Why doesn't USA Hockey reach down to the affiliate level and have them put the clamps down on them?  I know it can be done.  The Districts in Minnesota rule with an iron fist and keep things in check there.  Maybe a little too heavy handed at times but they keep the ship running smooth. 

In order to address the rising costs at Tier 1 Midgets, USA Hockey should push and emphasis Varsity hockey and de-emphasize club hockey.  Hockey should be more community based, simple as that.  If a school district has a varsity hockey team the community is more apt to support it with facilities and resources and that will in turn lower ice costs.  The community is not going to be on board for using tax dollars to build an ice facility so somebody who operates a "non-profit" hockey club can line their pockets as the director of that club.

I don't even know where to start.

No way USA Hockey has the power to do the things you want.  Programs, parents and rink owners would kick USA Hockey to the curb faster than a Al Iafrate slapper.  You can bemoan AAA hockey at younger ages, but trying to ban it?  Do we really want Big Brother in hockey?  I sure don't.  We did a lot of the things you say are awful.  We had a great time.  Yes, it was expensive and that is unfortunate, but in a non-traditional market there was little choice.  I shudder at the idea of keeping the kids at squirts and peewee in a local program and watching a half dozen kids dominate the others.  That's no fun for any of the kids involved. 

The idea of Varsity hockey sounds great until you think of the costs for a school system that has never had hockey.  They would have to buy ice time at mainly privately held rinks and buy a certain amount of very expensive equipment every year.  In my part of the world the school districts can barely pay for the sports they have now.  They would laugh you out of the room to suggest adding hockey.  De-emphasizing club hockey would effectively kill the sport in non-traditional markets.  

The Minnesota system is admirable, but unrealistic elsewhere.  They have many publicly funded rinks and a long and proud tradition.  Still, the cracks in the wall are evident in Minnesota.  Full season AAA travel teams do exist in Minnesota.  There are fewer and fewer kids drafted into the NHL from Minnesota that have exclusively played HS hockey.  

The genie is not going back in the bottle.

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Bevalaqua    0
Bevalaqua

There are some ways of reducing the costs.   For example, a lot of the youth teams my son played on were coached by parents (guys with good experience - like former college players).  The parent coaches would usually get a break - like free tuition - in return for their services.  And a good parent coach is cheaper than paying a professional coach.  So for a parent who might not have the financial means, but has some hockey experience this can be a good option.   That said, once they get to say Bantam level and higher, it's usually not a good idea to have the parents coach...   

Also, the youth hockey organizations can fund raise.  We used to have a banquet every year where people would donate signed jerseys from NHL players, tickets to NHL games, rounds of golf, etc..  We would raise thousands auctioning off these items, which helped reduce the costs.  

But even so, it's still and expensive sport, no doubt...

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SCBlueLiner    1
SCBlueLiner

I am approaching this from the perspective that I want to lower the costs and broaden the participation in the game.  Do you deny that access to the game is increasingly becoming limited to the upper-middle class and higher?  Especially at the higher levels where it costs money to pursue those higher levels of play? 

My ideas may be pie-in-the-sky and unrealistic but they are ideas that we should strive for.  USA Hockey is the governing body entrusted with the growth and promotion of hockey in the U.S.  They are the only entity that has the power to do something about it.

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