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Everything posted by muckerandgrinder

  1. Yes. I agree 100%. My son followed that very same trajectory. Checking was the game changer for him and he thrived when the game got faster and more physical while others dropped by the wayside. He played AAA until he graduated. And yes. He plays beer league and has a blast. I just heard that Esmark rostered a bunch of AA players and was scouring for others after other teams tryouts were over. Still… nothing wrong with that either as long as you play a schedule that is on par with your level of skill. Pretty sure that is not Esmark’s way of doing things though. AA players can definitely move up to Tier 1. But a whole team of them playing high end opponents all season might not be the best idea. Again, this is one person with a few cocktails in them telling me this so who knows how much truth there is. That’s why I asked. Curiosity got the best of me lol
  2. The topic had turned to what was happening at 09s and younger and how it might affect Esmark. Basically I was asking if what I heard was true since it might be a factor in the local landscape WHEN THE ‘11 AGE GROUP IS AT BANTAM (2 years) AND MIDGET. Had the thread not wandered in that direction I wouldn’t have even brought it up. But, being that you wanted gravitate everyone toward “perspective” I have some for you as well. -You have referred to the , ahem,…mite age groups a few times in recent memory. Not in a bad manner but in regards to development. I thought it made sense since this after all, a place where people post about youth hockey. -You my friend are one shy of 700 posts on a freaking youth hockey message board. Rock bottom? Think about it. Perspective. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
  3. Could be the case at other age groups but I was just going by on what I heard about the ‘11s. If I’m correct Esmark doesn’t field teams until PW and never had any competition for players after Pens tryouts at 12U minor until now. Sounds like that has changed? Looked it up and it looks like Veng. and Preds had decent showings last year. Maybe they did well enough to retain players and draw players to their teams? Either way. Talking about ‘11s here but more or less wondering what effect Esmark having to compete for players at the younger levels will look like in a few years down the road. Funny how much info a pissed off parent who had their “faux PAHL AA/AAA independent” team dismantled will get up with in a ten minute conversation. My ears were bleeding lol
  4. Is there any truth to the rumor that Esmark ‘11 is cold calling people who did not make Vengeance and Preds 2011 teams to fill out their roster and added a bunch of AA players? Also heard that Pens ‘11 black got deep into their alternate callback list after players declined and headed for Vengeance and Preds squads. (Pens black also adding players cut by Vengeance and Preds?) If this is true Esmark could be taking a bit of a step back in the younger groups. it would be strange because Esmark has always been near the top.
  5. Same with the BY thing as well. Some organizations go that route when they do not have a strong group at that birth year. It’s perplexing. The other side of that is most of the challenging tournaments have BY divisions. Mixed BY tournament divisions have always been hit or miss. And these days if people are forking over $ for hotels, travel, fees they want more of a known quantity.
  6. I agree that if your potential competition in PAHL is solid, you should not go independent. It’s just plain crazy. And when I say “solid” I mean that at least 4 teams in your age group make a good match. If it’s only 1 or 2 then a sizable drop off, you spend 3/4 of your season winning lopsided games. And that is not good for anybody. The problem with sanctions or “boxing them out” at any birth year is that you set a precedent for other teams in age groups that might not have as strong of competition in their BY or mixed age group. I think that teams in those instances that branch out to go independent are doing themselves and everyone else a favor. It changes with each year/group but yes… I do agree that teams who go independent just for the ego or simply to “keep up with the joneses” are nuts. Its a copycat world though. Especially in youth hockey. As always, I’m seeing both sides.
  7. Quick thought. This situation and Armstrong/Mars. EVERYONE comes out of the woodwork to observe, analyze, critique and the video is picked over like the Zapruder film. Some posts are like mini novels. On the flip side, somebody posts something positive or constructive? CRICKETS. Tells you all you need to know about youth/HS hockey and sports in general.🤦🏻‍♂️
  8. The biggest problem with Silver Sticks (and has been for many years) is that they still use the same website from 10 years ago. They do not promote it and getting information on registration, dates, details etc. has always been difficult. There are a TON of tournaments out there now and many of the are subpar yet… they have glossy websites, slick banter (swag for the players and coaches!) and registration months ahead of time that is easily accessible. Also, higher level teams want to know who they are playing if they are going to be spending a weekend somewhere. Silver Sticks could still be relevant. They simply have to get out of the year 2005.
  9. Attendance is directly influenced by winning and losing everywhere. Even in major markets. I won’t bore anyone with stats but the Rangers, Bruins, Flyers and Blackhawks have played for less than 100% attendance in lean years. Given the regional population here that is way less than 50% of NY, Boston, Philly or Chicago it far less damning of the fan base when the Pens play to less than 100% capacity than a major market. I think the percentage of people who are knowledgeable and passionate about hockey here is in direct correlation to the size of the population. I’m not sticking up for Pittsburgh but just looking at numbers. High School hockey has been an institution in Minnesota forever. Yet they lost a franchise. And North Stars attendance was way down well before Green started the sale. The Wild have not played to 100% every year since they began playing in Minn. Winning = asses in the seats. Everywhere. Oh, and Detroit is the self proclaimed “HockeyTown”. They are at 84.4% in a new arena. We can throw in covid etc. but still. As far as HS hockey here, it’s not the kids or general population’s fault that hockey is treated like the red headed stepchild in HS sports. Just like PAHL… PIHL could do a better job with placements and divisions. When you have a very good TJ team playing AA with 5-6 AAA players on their roster the last few years I see a competitive balance problem. Not TJs fault at all. PIHL does a very vanilla job in evaluating teams and placing them correctly. The only time PIHL does a thorough job is with their constant book checks and boy oh boy, do they love the power of discipline aspect of their operation. Put some of that energy toward something constructive for the teams/kids and things could begin to get better.
  10. I’m going to play devils advocate here but judging from my experience, a sizable percentage of the parents who have played hockey do not yell at the referees. That is a solid statement that I can get on board with. That said, a lot of them do tend to lend their “expert” opinions to other parents in the stands in regards to not only officiating but other topics such as questioning makeup of lines, d pairings, PK/PP etc. Parents are new to the game are easily influenced by another parent who extols a type of street cred simply because they played hockey at some point. I don’t think there is really a demographic for a good hockey parent prototype. It really comes down to “less is more” talking at games and practices and “if you are talking you are not listening” when it comes to your kid.
  11. A guy in my adult league has a kid on Preds ‘11s. Apparently they registered for the AAA/AA division and were moved up to “Elite” AAA without any input from the tournament. Tried to move back down to where they registered but we’re not allowed because the schedule was set and the weekend went as expected.
  12. Before the name calling and pillow fights start up gain I figured I’d chime in. Had to take a look at the rankings and it looks like this thread’s whipping boys Predators ‘09 tied #52 Belle Tire AAA and only lost by a goal to #47 Westchester Express AAA by a goal today. I Know that anything outside of the top 20 is not worthy and some people will find ANYTHING to pick apart a team or organization but still.. It also looks as if their ‘11s are solid as well at #41. Next PAHL team on the board is SHAHA AA at #118. (Not to mention PPE black @ #96 lol). Just throwing some actual info into the mix here Edit… sorry N.Pitt @ #84 for the ‘11 group.
  13. Sweet Jesus. Is this thread still going on? It was good for the first few pages when there was some constructive talk of how PAHL could get better in order to keep teams from going independent. Then it went into the all too inevitable death spiral of “PPE or nothing” “faux AAA” “all ends in beer league” last week. Some sour people out there lol.
  14. Newsflash: Independent teams generally get 10-12 home game slots (depending on age group) with refs/EMT covered in their cost from their home organization. For instance, if a 10U team played a 14 game PAHL regular season and 6 placements they would get 7 regular season slots and 3 placement slots. An independent team gets all 10 to schedule as they see fit. Teams generally them play reciprocal away games equaling another 10 games covered by the host team. That’s 20 games minimum. Above 10U it’s a 20 game regular season + placement home slots so you get 12 home games + refs/EMT. I get it that going independent costs a bit more but it’s getting a bit out of hand with the sensationalism.
  15. There are approximately 8 organizations that I can see supporting BY teams. Hornets / N. Pitt / SHAHA / Preds / SCIR / S. Pitt / Allegheny / Foxes That said, it would be really hard to have 8 organizations with BY teams without wondering how it compromises the rest of the organizations and also teams within their divisions. I think it would be great for the organizations involved but also cause a massive competitive imbalance throughout the rest of the league that would be playing mixed BY. You would have teams like Cambria and Westmoreland fielding teams with their top players playing against the essential “team 3”s from the larger orgs. As I stated before, many of the teams on the outer regions of the PAHL jurisdiction already have 3-4 players per team playing a few divisions below their talent level. On the other hand, the better “known quantity” tournaments in the country (CCM, Superseries etc…) are all trending toward birth year divisions. The mixed BY tournaments like MYHockey etc. are such a crap shoot with lopsided and mismatched divisions way too often. it’s a tough call in a day and age where even everyone A Major and above are supplementing their PAHL schedule with teams from Ohio, NY etc.. and birth year being a factor in scheduling those games. I only have ideas but can’t form a perfect solution as of yet.
  16. PAHL has to do a better job. A lot of this lies at their feet and the league should not get a free pass with the exodus. Honestly, I believe that they should still govern AA but it needs to be treated differently than A minor 3. The AA divisions are notoriously too big every year and the gap between the top and bottom is historically immense.I get the fact that this is somewhat of a necessity because nobody wants to play in a 5 team division but… just spitballing here… - Make the AA division 12 teams with a 20 game schedule (yes.. organizations can charge more). Mid season, divide the top 6 and the bottom 6 onto two separate divisions. Relegation if you will. This way, the top teams aren’t obligated to spend another Sunday putting up a 10 spot on team 12 and each division could play for their own respective banner. -Start at squirt (because they are the youngest group and the players/teams that you want to get a buy in from) and work with the DVHL to play a season end AA tournament from the top 2-3 teams in each division for an AA state banner. Do a mid season tournament maybe. As a byproduct, teams from each side of the state could form good relationships and possibly set up independent games during the season. -Outside of AA, for the love of god…please do something about the placement process that allows some of the smaller organizations (Johnstown, Westmoreland, etc…) to have teams playing in A Major 2 hat have 3-4 players who are playing 1 to 2 divisions below their skill level and dominate. I get the fact that they have a smaller pool of players but something has to give here. It has been going on for years. I don’t necessarily have a solution but it is a problem. Some of the goal differentials are staggering. I know that I have offered other ideas on other threads but PAHL needs to revamp a bit and offer a modicum of critical thinking. Lastly, as far as the independent teams leaving PAHL… there are SOME teams over the years that fall into the category of not have being anywhere near the calibre of PPE or Tier 1 but can see that they are a few notches above what PAHL AA will have to offer on the upcoming season. It’s not every year or age group but it does happen. Kudos to the teams who legitimately see that and make a move as opposed to spending their weekends winning games by 7-8 goals. It’s the copycat teams that go independent just for the sake of doing it that create the problems. Pick the above ideas apart if you want or… crazy thought here.. modify or add to them. I understand that there are logistical issues with what I’m proposing but everything starts with an idea and a little bit of thinking. I want PAHL to be successful and a place where all skill levels are nurtured. The landscape has changed and it won’t happen when they keep running out the same old model year after year for AA all the way down to B. This is another contributing factor as to why some teams, right or not, leave.
  17. Solid points. My suggestion wasn’t to force every organization into BY. Just give the option to some of the larger organizations who have the capacity and enrollment. I used MidAm as an example but between East/West PA, WNY, Ohio, VIrginia and Maryland I think you could definitely field enough teams for true AA divisions at multiple levels. No automatic qualification either. Your previous season would simply be component of the application process. it’s not a perfect science and I know this will never happen. I’m simply into solutions and the whole PPE vs. everyone else is beaten to death. There are kids out there who aren’t good enough to make PPE but are also getting very little out of what PAHL has to offer structurally and competitively. This scenario has created the dreaded term “faux AAA” that everyone derides on a regular basis.
  18. Automatically AA? Even if the whole AA team from last year moved up to bantam and the #2 team went 3-13 in A Major 3? If that’s the case, why even waste games on placements? This actually adds to the reasons why some teams are moving on from PAHL at earlier ages. For the record, I don’t like to see it because a solid, forward thinking (I emphasize “forward thinking”) local league is good for the game and the kids who play it. As far as scheduling goes, it’s not easy, but it’s not that hard to narrow down what would constitute a good matchup. I’ve done it and have scheduled games as early as May right after tryouts. (I do not miss it though! Lol) I look at your ranking and opponents last season, you look at mine. Sometimes you have to look back a year or two. Sometimes you have to make a phone call. I will tell you this….HOME game or not, there is nothing worse than a team rep selling his/her team at a higher talent level than they are and wasting both team’s weekend with uncompetitive lopsided results. This happens way too often and from all I hear it’s getting worse. Sadly, some parents thoroughly enjoy winning three or four games over a weekend by 10 goals each.
  19. Let’s state the obvious (over and over again) that PPE is on a different level than everyone else as far as Tier 1 hockey goes in this area. There is no denying it. But it’s such a default to say that any other organization that fields a Tier 1 team is just there to sell snake oil to unwitting players and parents. There is such a hyper focus on Tier 1 aspirations here and I personally think that everyone is missing some of the other components that drive teams/organizations to make changes. PAHL- Yes, it’s perfectly good league for a majority of the players (otherwise referred to here as the “have nots”) in the area. Tens of thousands of kids in the area from ages 5-18 have benefitted from PAHL as an avenue to pursue their passion of playing hockey. But... 1)The parent coaches are a must and under appreciated. That said, at times this leads to picking teams based on school/neighborhood friends. You can have 5 PW teams in an organization but it takes 1 hand picked zip code team to create a domino effect and muddy the waters for the rest. 2)The FPP. Another valid idea that has some serious flaws. Yes... it has stopped some of the meat head mentality but at the same time there have been too many major birth year heavy teams that tend to play clean/physical (a.k.a on the edge) and are subject to the discretion of the home team officials. Don’t even think of having a team that is slightly bigger in size across the board. You will suffer for it. 3) A new term “Faux AA”. What in the hell is going on around here? Teams claiming to be “AA” in PAHL before placements. New BY teams selling themselves to teams out of town as some juggernaut in July without any type of track record from the previous season, in order to get independent games before they even practice or play a scrimmage... hope that November game in Philly, NY or Saskatoon is still a go if they lose to the Lawrence County #2 team in placements. I get it that some teams are locks for AA but not everyone who is flying the unproven “AA” flag right now. As a side note... they add too many teams to the AA divisions every season and at every level. PPE- Quite simple. They don’t have to play anyone around here. Just don’t box everyone out. Acknowledge that other teams and organizations do indeed exist. I’ve always been amazed how Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams in other states/cities have worked together to assist visiting teams secure 3-4 game weekends. Sorry about the long post. To boil it down.. there are teams that do not aspire to be the Pens Elite. At the same time, they do not think PAHL is a good fit for them anymore. Teams are going independent or Tier 1 just as much to get away from PAHL as anything. My solution? An Independent regional Mid Am A/AA birth year LEAGUE where qualification for entry is solely based on the previous season’s ranking and a few other variables (open to discussion). This would not eliminate the perceived “faux AAA” situation but I honestly think it would go a long way in fixing youth hockey in this area if not nationally.
  20. Well then..... now that’s a hell of a point! if “the best” kids aren’t there just they should have just shut it all down. Honestly, why do players that aren’t the presumed and anointed “best kids” even play at all? Better yet.. dissolve PAHL and have high school hockey create a SEC- like power conference so the “haves” can all play each other exclusively. The “have nots”? Let them play shinny! SMH
  21. A few quick observations... 1) If I’m a betting man, my money is on the fact that someone here has a kid who didn’t make the Preds ‘11 BY team. Too much scorn and down and dirty info there, fact or not, to not have some type of tie in.. reeks of sour grapes. 2) Politics, awful parents, undisciplined players and favoritism are everywhere. Honestly, as far as hockey parents go... has anyone here ever had to spend an afternoon at Center Ice (or whatever it’s called now) against the Badgers? At any level? I mean, is that place a Wal Mart at midnight or a hockey rink? Don’t get me started on the officiating. Every. Damn. Time. 3)My son played 3 years for the Predators, 4 for the Hornets before that. I’ll tell you this much... he never had to constantly practice as a 2nd year peewee on a mini rink at 7 a.m. like he did at Mt. Lebanon. If I’m going to deal with politics, it’s a lot more palatable with multiple rinks when all of the teams (yes ... even the B team) are getting 3 practices a week starting in August. Not so much when there is a single rink and 3-4 teams get the bulk of the ice. 4)Playing devils advocate here but... Every team/coach has his favorites. It’s unavoidable. Based on pure numbers and opportunities, I’d rather have a coach favor just one player than a dad coach favor his kid and also his 3 or 4 buddies. (Here’s looking at you Hornets and SHAHA) Look at it whatever way you want but daddy ball seems to be pretty limited at the Preds. Again, there may or may not be truth to some of this stuff but just throwing out there based on my experiences. If you can keep the negative people out of your ear for a short bit and look for the positives, any organization can be a fit. Every organization has been shredded here at one point or the other. This is the Preds turn. Good luck in your search for an organization. My only advice would be to start with an organization with multiple rinks and go from there. That way, no matter what b.s. is or is not happening you will at least get the ice time.
  22. “We are in squirt AA”? In June? Has PAHL done away with the placement process? Normally placement games weren’t until Sept./Oct. and teams had to qualify for AA on down. I do know that a lot of states/organizations/regions used to automatically designate the “major” birth years as AA and minor as A. On that note, I have noticed “AA” tryouts being a big thing these days. What happens if an org. advertises “AA” and the team does not qualify? Just curious. And back to my original question. Are there still placements in PAHL?
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