This is a portion of a posting from the Mlive Youth Hockey Forum today and is a great description of a major challenge facing kids at the midget level in Michigan. It does not seem to be discussed very often in my experience, but the rift between MAHA and MHSAA is causing problems for associations that field teams at the midget level. jrAAA does a nice job of talking about that in his post below:
state of the game by jrAAA, 8/1/08 11:06 ET
The arenas are also forcing teams to start contract ice in August…so you have to have tryouts in July so that come the first week of August you can pay your first 2008/2009 ice bill. When my son played the contract ice didn’t start until September. By forcing contract ice to start in August that screws up all of the timing for tryouts. In the past(and how they still do it in Canada) you had….in order…Juniors, AAA, Travel then finally house. Now it isn’t like that…you have all the travel teams trying to get the few players that are available not knowing what kids are waiting for the Junior or AAA tryouts. They take some players that end up leaving the team in October to play for their high school…in front of a big crowd, their girlfriends & family and the ice bills are cheaper…then again they play 20 games not like the 50+ the travel teams do all the time improving their game.
Now what else is hurting Midget hockey in Michigan….Of course high school hockey, then you have the so called AAA teams that sprout up every year…not to mention the new Junior C programs in the area. Everyone trying to go after all the same players and those numbers are dwindling because of economy, jobs, school and so on.
Being one of the founding fathers of the MWEHL I can share that the MWEHL was formed because the MNHL was becoming watered down with a number of weak teams that no one wanted to play. We have that again with AAA teams popping up all over.
Midget hockey will continue to die unless something is done….by MAHA and MHSAA. They need to put differences aside and look towards Minnesota and Massachusetts and how in those states they work at having both travel and high school hockey co exist and help each other.
I don’t necessarily agree that having additional AAA teams as an option for some players is a bad thing. There are several other leagues outside of the MWEHL available for these teams and they can always choose to go independent as well.
The larger issue is that many kids at the midget level will tryout for a travel team – some tryouts as early as April (just after the previous season ends) and commit to that team for the upcoming season. The coach limits his roster to 18 players – 16 skaters and 2 goalies – and hopes he doesn’t lose anyone to high school hockey. But every coach at this level in Michigan knows that he will most likely lose one or more players to high school as the draw of playing in front of friends and family is strong. This leaves that midget team with a short roster and facing a difficult season ahead. In some cases, teams have been forced to fold after the start of league play, after they have committed to ice schedules, after parents have made payments etc. The choices of a few end up negatively impacting everyone.
I believe we need to reach some type of agreement between MAHA and MHSAA that would provide a similar program to the one found in MN. In addition, we (as parents) need to instill in these kids a sense of loyalty to the team to which they committed originally. If these kids plan to play high school, they have no business involving themselves in a tryout and taking the spot of another player.
See you at the rink.