Originally published at https://www.mihshockeyhub.com/news_article/show/1012538
By Craig Peterson
It’s that time of year again. Travel team tryouts and the recruitment process in an area of the country that is saturated with a wealth of hockey options. I’d argue that no place has more opportunities to pursue as many different avenues of winter hockey than the state of Michigan, between Tier-II and Tier-III junior teams, AAA and AA programs and more than 130 high schools. In order to make the best decisions for you in your final years of youth hockey, it’s crucial to fully understand all of the avenues available to high school-aged kids.
I wanted to address some of the most common misconceptions we’ve all heard in the high school circles as coaches, players and parents, and hopefully shed some light on the truth about this route and how beneficial it has proven to be for many, many players from different walks of life.
My fear, however, is that the people who need to read this and stand to benefit most from this path are ones that won’t give it a second glance because of the many preconceived notions out there about the high school game. I’m certain at least one, if not all of these thoughts and opinions below have been shared by every young hockey player in the state, all I ask is for a chance to change your mind.
“I’m Too Good To Play High School”
I heard it from friends when I played, I heard it from prospective players when I coached, I hear it in rinks when I watch games. Everyone in Michigan high school hockey has heard the excuse from travel players who somehow feel they’re above this level of the game.
Now, if you can play in the USHL or NAHL at 16- and 17-years-old… Fine, you’re right. You are too good to be playing here and by all means, take your game to the next level! I would never suggest a kid capable of playing Tier-I junior hockey hold himself back so he can play for Chelsea High.
But you should know, that applies to literally 16 kids in the entire state. I’ll explain…
Of the 467 hockey players to compete in the USHL during the 2018-19 season, only 16 of them came from the eight Michigan-based U-16 AAA organizations. And of those 16, only 10 were born in the state of Michigan; so Little Caesars(4), Honeybaked(2), Fox Motors(2), Belle Tire(1) and Compuware(1) combined to produce 10 Tier-I junior players from last season to this season. Victory Honda and Meijer came up empty and the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies promoted three players to the USHL from Georgia, Pennsylvania and Russia.
So, you’re “too good” to play? Let’s think about that for a minute. First, that’s a very poisonous mindset to have, thinking anything is beneath you. It’s a microcosm… That mentality can be a slippery slope and seep into other aspects of hockey and life. Are you “too good” to work out? Is that homework assignment “beneath you”? Are you “Too qualified” for a job?
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