Hockey/CSDHL vs. AAA
Is it really more beneficial for a 13 year-old to play AAA over Central States hockey? I don't think it is, but the debate goes on. I think CSDHL is simply made up of kids whose parents have more money, not necessarily those who have more talent, with the exception of the Midget Major age group...
Thank you for writing. Very interesting question and here's what I have found out. Hockey is an expensive sport and ice time cost money. If a parent has money and they want their child to get better, they will spend the money to help improve their skill level. Skill level is directly proportional to the amount of ice time they get...plan and simple.
Next thing, if you are looking for an area to place your child in which he or she will be playing at a highly competitive level, then the next thing I recommend that you do is to check out their competition schedule from last year. See which tournaments they attended and look for the results of those tournaments on how the team finished.
Sometimes you might have great players without proper direction from a coach and sometime you will have a great coach and no skilled players. That doesn't make him a bad coach. So, I would also recommend that you find out information about the coach by asking other parents...they will tell you the truth. Best way to do that is to ask a parent, which parent is the most unhappy and then go ask that parent why?
As for leagues, it really depends on how much you want to spend, it really always comes down to money. If the AAA team is going to tournaments where the scouts hang out, then I say AAA. If the scouts hang out at the CSDHL, then I say place him with the CSDHL.
But, again, if your child lacks the skill level, no scout in the world is going to help. One thing that I can advise you is that you always place your child in a Summer Power Skating Class! Why? because kids hate it and they don't go and then come September you and your child will be saying..."If we had only!"
There are a lot of AAA players out there hoping to grab the brass ring. But because the field is so high to select from, he or she will have to stand out from the rest. They way to do that is great skating. Anyone can shoot the puck, but not everyone can skate good.
Anyone can skate forward, but not everyone can skate backwards and fast as someone skating forwards. But most kids don't want to work on their skating and all they want to do is scrimmage, rather when work on their craft. It's like a surgeon working without a knife. A big majority of a surgeon's job is cutting, where as 80% of hockey is skating.
Out of 80% of skating, 80% of that is balance. If you don't have the proper balance on all edges...forget it. But the only way you are going to get that is through hard work. Remember, "Skill level is directly proportional to the amount of ice time he gets!"
But I have found that 95% of ALL kids don't want to do the work because of one reason or another...My back hurts, my leg hurts, my skates are not sharpened, my gold fish died...blah,blah,blah.
The best thing you can do for your child is positive motivation. When he starts to complain, tell him that he is the one that wants to make it to the NHL...not you. Sometimes that works. I say these things too you only because I know what time commitment (aka:money) it takes to get your child to the AAA level and if this is where he is at now... congratulation on raising a great kid. Kids don't get to this level without parents participation.
I hope that some of this stuff that I'm throwing out there helps. Thanks you for writing me and let me know how your boy or girl does as they get older.
Rob Lopez - Commissioner
University Ice Hockey League - Mexico