Here is one thing that parents all over the country can not seem to understand. In any given area be it Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Pennsylvania there are truely only enough high end kids at any age to have ONE REAL AAA team. Any organization or team can sign up with USA hockey and call themselves AAA. What does it really mean? NOTHING!!
Just look at the results from the Warrior tournamet in Micigan or the Bauer invitaional. It is no fluke that the same few teams win all the Elite AAA tourneys, that is because they are truley AAA. The so called AAA bracket at these tourneys are filled with so called AAA teams and some top AA teams. Take a look at the results! In both Tourneys AA teams not ony beat AAA teams but in some cases destroyed them. Look at Plymouth, Novi, Indy, Chesterfied they are all AA teams that go to these touneys and win the majority of their games. Are those top AA teams robing their kids of something beacuse they are not AAA? Are those kids any less likly to be given an opurtunity to play Jr. A or College? The answer is NO.
The reason St. Louis has such a great AAA program is because as one person said they have ONE AAA program. Could they have more? YES, but why should they? So they can pay more money? So MOM and DAD can tell their friends that Johnny is on a AAA team? From the age of 6 to the age of 14 it DOES NOT MATTER if your kid plays AA or AAA!! What matters is if your child is having fun? is he/she getting the best coaching possable in a given area, is the team and or individual improving? In some cases the best coaching possable is on a certain AAA team and in some areas it may be better for a kid to play AA for a better coach so that player can have the chance to play in all situations. Scouts do NOT scout kids that are 6-13. In fact most scouts do not start looking at kids until they are u-16's so unless your kid is good enough to play on one of the absolute top AAA teams in the area then there is really no reason to spend that money. In fact it would be much more benificial to your son/daughter to have them play on the AA team and take private skill lessons with the extra money you save. I will guarentee you that your son will not only have more fun but will improve much more quickly.
In any event what really should happen is organizations need to go back to having one level of play and kids play in the area/town they live in. I played youth hckey in the 80's and there was no AAA hockey. That came along in the very late 80's and early 90's. The original reason for AAA hockey was a good one, that was to bring together the best players from a given State or area and have them play against one another. Unfortunitly once a label was placed on it eveeryone wanted their kid to be on the so called AAA team. So when Johnny got cut from the AAA team in town DAD went and started his own AAA program. Then people started to figure out you can charge 5 times what AA teams charge and people will pay it so their kids can play on a AAA team. What we have know is 20 true AAA teams in the USA and the rest are AA teams paying AAA prices. Hey if you have the means and want your kid to feel like they are better because they are on a so clled AAA team then go for it. If you want your kid to truly get better, and have more fun then go out and find the right coach, find the rigt program, don't get hung up on how many A's are behind the program get hung up on; are they doing things the right way? If that is a AAA program then so be it, but from what I see at these tournys the good AAA options are few and far between.
Just a couple side notes. ONE I'm sure I mispelled words sorry I was not an english major.
SECOND, I'm not some bitter parent mad that my kid isn't good enough to play AAA!!
I'm just a person who loves hockey and has been through it all and wanted to share some points that I believe parents sometimes forget. Hey we are all human and want what is best for our kids! One thing we all need to remember is just because it cost more does not mean it is better!!!