Author Topic: Tier 1 too soon  (Read 818 times)

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hockeydad30

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Tier 1 too soon
Topic: January 04, 2023, 12:58:54 PM
I wanted to get some feedback/opinions about tier 1 versus 2 hockey. My son (2013) is a first year squirt playing tier 2 AA currently. There are not a lot of 2013s in our area so next year the team would be comprised of probably a lot of 2014s. For his progression and competition, would it be better to consider AAA (there are a few within a reasonable distance) next season? Is he going to play in the NHL? No. College? Possibly. We would rather next year not be a lost year developmentally if possible. Is it too soon too consider a tier 1 program?
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Reply #1:
 January 05, 2023, 12:36:52 PM
For my money it was not all that beneficial for my older son to go tier 1 at squirt over letting him play another year or two at AA. That's why for my second son we waited until bantam to make the jump to AAA. Only you know the coaches he has at AA and if it would be a good move. Our club had ok coaches with my older son and the coach was only slightly better at AAA. My younger son's AA coach was great so keeping him there with him until Bantam was wise, his AAA coach is also great. So, from my experience AAA at squirt wasn't worth it. I found with my second son that instead of AAA at squirt I took about half of the $2500+ difference in cost and put it towards specialized coaches and clinics. My older son is now a freshman playing D2 and my younger son is in his 1st yr at midget with 2 prep schools that came to watch him, 1 in Pa and 1 in NY. Good luck
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Reply #2:
 January 06, 2023, 10:39:33 AM
Is it possible to talk to your organization for their honest opinion on your sons growth with the club? I know the club my son is at the coaches talk to the player and parents about how the organization took the player as far as they could and it was time to take the next step. I've seen it a few times over the years but never before Bantam. We were approached once by them but as a single parent I could not afford the cost of AAA or have enough PTO for the travel required for him to move on. Some will say it's best at that age to do private lessons or clinics instead of AAA.  For my son what the club did was at Bantam AA he would practice with his team plus the u16 A National team, he went to 2 tournaments and a couple non league games with the u16 team. Maybe your club would allow your son to do the same, practice and play some games with a Peewee A team.
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Reply #3:
 January 06, 2023, 10:57:19 AM


No need to go Tier 1 prior to midget.  Work on skating, skills and let him have fun.   At an older age if the fundamentals and love of the game are there.  The rest will fall in place.   When my son was younger I always felt he would fall behind because I made him put his equipment away after evals and just be a kid.  All his teammates were at camps, practices, and spring teams.  Turns out it had zero affect on his development and he is playing at a higher level than 99% of them.   No journey or path is the same, let him have fun and be a kid.
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Reply #4:
 January 07, 2023, 02:00:26 PM
The 2nd poster made some good points that I would add to. First, don't expect an honest assessment from most clubs. Their primary focus is getting the extra tuition from AAA over Tier 2. The coaching also may be subpar, despite it being AAA. Second, Expect $1000+ per weekend of travel if you drive to tournaments/games. You can likely expect to be pulling your child from school 1-2x a month for these travel weekends. Third, I agree it's better to play AA and get GOOD lessons. Not all clinics and coaches are worth the money. Finally, make sure your child is having fun and making friends.
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Reply #5:
 January 09, 2023, 01:43:11 PM
Unfortunately, there's no clear cut answer.  Couple considerations.....  1)  Not all Tier1 is created equal.  There are very elite teams out there with Brick level kids playing 80+ game schedules with national travel.  There are other AAA teams that may play 50 games against relatively local teams and don't operate all that differently in terms of commitment level than Tier2.  On MyHockeyRanking you can see how many games and where teams play and will note a wide disparity between Tier1 clubs  2)  Need to assess your kid.  Is he still being challenged and developing at the AA level?  If so, there's less necessity in making a move.  Also important to assess his / her desire to play.  Would being on the ice more frequently excite them or would it become a grind / burden?  3)  Need to assess your situation.  I've seen kids drop out of AAA because parents couldn't handle the logistics (i.e. driving an hour each way to practice 3 times a week) or economics of it all.  4)  Hockey wise / development wise Tier1 is better provided your kid is ready for it.  It's more ice, typically better coaching, and the competition is stronger.  Need to be honest with where your kid is at.  If he's scoring with relative ease and no one can touch him in practice, a jump might be needed to keep development going.  If he's the 5th best skater on his AA team and will become an end of the roster guy on a AAA squad it's a different equation. 
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Reply #6:
 January 17, 2023, 03:25:02 AM
1. Get assessed by coaches outside the area who you will never play for and tell them to give you their unvarnished opinion on where your son is right now.

2. Without seeing your son but having seen AAA teams at higher age groups, I can almost guarantee your kid needs more skating lessons. Not hockey lessons,  but skating lessons. I know this, because across the board,  all kids in this area need better skating skills, and generally,  for boys, the window for gaining skating skills at a fast pace closes at 13 years old. You can build speed between 13-16, but it's an uphill battle after 13 years old to get the finely tuned edges he'll need to maneuver at speed and stay safe. Before 14yo, put as much money and time as possible into skating skills. Seriously,  5-8 hours a week of pure skating and skating lessons without stick in hand before 14yo would not be too much.
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Reply #7:
 January 18, 2023, 03:10:55 PM
I think I know what AA program your son plays in. The coaches and most of the 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 players at your rink are all leaving for Tier 1. With all the best coaches and players leaving, who will your son play with next year? The coaches are all about skating and passing. That is all that is needed at this level. If your son wants to get better, follow the coaches to Tier 1. If your son wants to stay at same level, stay put. How much improvement has your son shown under his current coaches compared to previous seasons? I bet a ton! Your son needs to skate better and will not get that at your current rink. Skating is the name of the game at all levels now. Do you son a favor, follow one of the best skating coaches in NJ to Tier 1 and watch his game soar!
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hockeydad321

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Reply #8:
 January 18, 2023, 04:57:07 PM
I know your rink and dilemma. Coaches leaving for Tier 1 and taking best players at 2014, 2013, 2012 & 2011. Who will be left to play with next year? Who will coach? You have one of the best skating coaches around leaving. How much better is your son after 1 year with these coaches? A friend of mine who played as a youth and raised 2 hockey sons gave me advice when my son started playing: "Find the best coach you can and follow him. Once the coach can't teach your kid anything more, find the best coach and follow him. It is all about the coaching before your kid hits 15." Best advice I was ever given! Do yourself and your son a favor and "follow the coach"!
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Reply #9:
 January 24, 2023, 03:20:37 PM
My family is making jump to Tier 1 PeeWee next year. We spoke with the coaches and are assured no tournaments further than 2 hours away from rink, with only 2 hotel stays for showcase/away games in CT/NY. No plane rides to Chicago, Florida, Detroit or Anaheim like other parents I spoke with that are leaving current Tier 1 team due to $20k+ in travel costs. Our team not doing that so make sure you find the right team for what fits your needs. If you can play 2 hours or less away and limit travel costs, Tier 1 is a way better buy than Tier 2. Tier 1 at $5200= 3-4 days on ice, 1 day off ice (licensed trainer), 2 day/month video, 2 days/month skills with Flyers skills coach, actual summer training camp, ice time included starting in August, 2 tournaments, real Goalie coach on ice every practice. Uniform package another $700. Total $5900. Think of what you get with Tier 2 for $3450- 2 days on ice, 2 tournaments, 2 skills/month (if rink has ice time and doesn't jam all skills into September). Uniforms= $500. Total $4K. Now factor in ice time for extra work _$50/hour/week and summer camp costs. Totaled up you pay more at Tier 2 for less. We are Tier 2 this year and at $6100 with more than 1.5 months left until tryouts. We will probably spend another $600 on semi-private lessons until tryouts. Tier 1 is a better buy and if your kid is serious, better to get in Tier 1 now than wait and possibly be passed over. Parents that have not experienced 3 days of ice time/week have no idea how fast your child improves. Skating is the game at all levels no and the window to improve skating closes around 13-14 years of age. You can improve edges some and speed some, but your stride is complete once puberty hits. Better to perfect stride now to give your kid the best chance at success!
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