The youth hockey landscape is changing with the addition of the AHF as a league option to the DVHL and EJ. Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same in my opinion. I have been around the DVHL on and off over the years since the 1980's and they have not changed at all. There was no need to change and I think the stagnation that was the perfect opportunity for the AHF to form. Make no mistake, the AHF will be a big money grab for those involved because the rinks are owned people directly involved.
I marvel that there are so many players developing around the US in non-traditional hockey-hotbeds (California, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, just to name a few) that are making the steps to juniors, NCAA, professional. Let's face it, all of the states I mentioned are relatively new to youth hockey as compared to over 50 years in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Then I ask, "How are the other states doing this?" Part of it is the NHL teams in these states are assisting.
Yet nothing has really changed in the almost 50 years that the DVHL has been around.
The Flyers organization needs to assist; part of the reason Ed Snider got behind Snider Hockey was to reach and create younger fans in order to grow the game.
Here are my thoughts:
-There needs to be a hockey symposium to discuss a vision for the future
-Create a governing body for Southeastern PA much like they have in Pittsburgh
-Have a split-season at the U16 and U18 level. Will stop the fighting over the same resources (players, coaches, ice time) to prevent older players from burning out. People will argue over this idea, but it works all over the country. Look no further than myhockeyrankings.com at the Tier 2 18U level and one will see that 7 of the top 10 teams all do a split season.
Looking to forward to hearing others opinions.