I think you are mistaken. My kid plays AAA in THF. I went this route because the pure AA in AHF is a joke. You have about 3 teams at each level that are legit high AA teams and some low to mid AAA (at current AAA level). The competition is just too low top to bottom at AA. My kid, while not a superstar at AAA, is a superstar at AA. And why are there so many AAA teams now? Because BB took over rinks and added AAA teams where there were none! This is a new phenomena and BB is ruining it. Did BB need to start the THF to compete against the AYHL? No. Did BB need to have pure AA teams this year? No. They did it because of money. They need to get parents to pay $4500 for pure AA and $4200 for A. While AAA is $5k+, BB AAA teams are higher than non-BB rinks. Who is at fault for this? BB is!
Also, 90% of parents (and kids) on our team would be happy to back to AA. We are not "AAA parent wannabees" as you say. We just want our kids to play good competition and get good coaching. Most Tier 2 rinks have below par coaching. AAA coaching is far better and you get more for your money. With that being said, I would take 2 day a weeks practice and supplement with privates if the competition was good. It is not and this is all BB fault!
The poster of "AAA wannabees" wasnt talking about everyone, but there are enough that have ruined the other levels
I am not sure what team your child is on, but consider 2011 AAA in NJ:
The 10th and 11th teams, per my hockey rankings, have played teams ranked in the top 5. Scores of some of those games? 15-3, 14-1, 14-1, 16-0 and 12-0. Those teams have no business being AAA
So how many AAA teams do you need at an age group within an area, when you also consider teams in NY, PA and DE also have NJ kids going there
So out of the 12 teams, maybe there should be 3-5 in NJ. Then we are talking 100+ kids that would beef up AA, and then kids playing AA (who are really A), are then sloted appropriately...