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Author Topic: AAA, Elite, High Energy The Cost Of The Top Level Abbreviation  (Read 2386 times)

Description: Is it the talent or the money that gets them there?


Is it really? This article, (external link below) explores tier 1 AAA hockey and it's history as the top level in youth hockey, reserved for only the most talented players. At one point this concept may have held true but today it has become increasingly apparent that tier 1 or  “elite” organized youth hockey isn’t so much about the talent anymore.

It’s still considered the highest level and there are players who require the higher level competition in order to be effective. But it’s far from being what it once was, "talent-wise" on a level playing field.

Tier 1 and elite have become such a draw that new organizations are popping up almost overnight and they’re charging astronomical prices advertising as tier 1 or comparable equivalent.

And, parents are willing to pay regardless if their kid possesses the supposed “required” talent to make a team. Why you ask? The caption above says it all. More and more teams have become so watered down that there really isn’t an across the board comparable talent level anymore. Some teams are still very strong while others are a mix of top level talent and players who shouldn’t be there. And then there are the teams which have no reason to be there at all but they’re calling themselves elite anyway because the label serves as a purpose to charge thousands above average to play. This, mainly for a the word or abbreviation designations “elite” and “AAA”.

It’s a very long article but it’s a good read nonetheless, check it out.

THE COST OF AAA HOCKEY – The Hockey Think Tank


Reply #1:
 March 28, 2019, 08:02:30 AM
Long read, yes. It's not entirely accurate but I agree there's too many teams. Anybody can start a new club and call it whatever they want if they're independent. If they have a marketing plan they can fool anybody into thinking what they're selling is the best option. Very sad but true is the fact that parents will mortgage theirs and their kids futures just so they can say AAA. You see it in EJ showcases all the time. Some of the independent AAA teams aren't any better than high A level. Many wouldn't even qualify as AA.


Reply #2:
 March 28, 2019, 08:22:27 AM
This isn’t a youth hockey issue. It is across the board with all youth sports because the risk/reward is so great. Parents believe their child will make it to the professional level or at a minimum get a athletic scholarship.

As a high school teacher, I have met many students that played AAA for years only to walk away from the game at 14 or 15. Why? Because they are old enough to say to their parents “I’m burnt out and you can’t make me do it.”


Reply #3:
 March 28, 2019, 10:54:06 AM
Over the years my kids played travel baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, football, basketball, and ice hockey.  I have witnessed all sorts of organizations and teams rise and fall; and come and go; but only heard people complaining that there are too many teams or the talent is being watered down in ice hockey.  Never heard those complaints anywhere else.  The irony is ice hockey is also by far the most difficult of those sports to start a new team or organization. 


Reply #4:
 March 28, 2019, 12:28:34 PM
07 Long Island Gulls - this story was about this team, but the author could not use the name, defamation of character.  Just curious anyone have other teams that fit the story profile better. I would like to hear it

Reply #5:
 March 28, 2019, 02:39:38 PM
This list is from last season and is not even close to all of the independent clubs out there. There are a lot of clubs which would fall into the same category.

To be clear, this is only a list of independent clubs. There is no finger pointing in this message.


Offline G D T

  • Member
Reply #6:
 March 28, 2019, 03:17:02 PM
My kids are multi sport athletes, and I agree that there are too many teams competing within the same talent pool for all sports. Instead of having 1 kick a$$ team in the region, you now have 3 teams where only half of the players can really compete at that level.

But parents are willing to pay, so more clubs are going to keep popping up to catch a competitors AAA castoffs.


Reply #7:
 March 28, 2019, 08:19:57 PM
07 Long Island Gulls - this story was about this team, but the author could not use the name, defamation of character.  Just curious anyone have other teams that fit the story profile better. I would like to hear it

That team is everything wrong with youth hockey. Delusional parents are letting it ruin their kids youth hockey development.


Reply #8:
 March 28, 2019, 08:50:17 PM
You make friend and 100% correct.


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