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HockeyDad23

Travel & Pens Elite Tryouts

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Im new to the forum and learning a lot as a hockey parent. My son is a 2009 birthday. He really wants to try out for Pens Elite. Last year at North Pittsburgh he dis not make a travel team. A lot of coaches that know my son from ADM and summer league told me they were he didnt make travel. Soooo we opted for the NP in house league. In a matter of a few games he is on Line 1 of 3 and for the most part is noticeable in a good way on the ice. Needless to say he became a stronger skater since tryouts.

i want to give him the opportunity to try out at Pens elite to see what it takes to make it as I dont think he would make it. Any advice on this? Is it a waste of our time?

Any advice for preparing for North Pittsburgh travel tryouts? Thanks all!

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A lot of this depends on your son's personality.  If he takes getting cut as a sign to work hard and set a benchmark, try out - he will know what to work for. If he will wallow in failure and it will kill his love for hockey, don't do it.

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3 minutes ago, HockeyDad23 said:

Thank you i appreciate the feedback. I guess its a delicate slope either way.

It really does depend on the individual player. Not knowing you from Adam I would say you need to try out at North Pittsburgh and make making a travel team your benchmark.  Be excited and enjoy the ride when he makes one, regardless of level. Treat him to his favorite dinner out even if it is squirt 6. 

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My child did not make a travel team first time out of the gate as a squirt. There is a lot of movement as players decline spots, so even if he doesn't get an invite at first, there is still a chance. Now he plays fairly high level hockey and works his butt off. And there is no shame in making a lower team. Kids are better served playing with like skill. They develop so much better that way. It is not a bad thing to experience a little disappointment, but to try out at Pens Elite 'just to see'....that is expensive and a bit time consuming. I would use that money to take him to a Pens game. You are still handing money over to the Pens, but it may be more enjoyable.

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It's good to hear that he's doing well in the in-house league. 

I would set your sights on North Pittsburgh again since you are familiar with that rink, and have a back-up plan with another club at a nearby rink if you really want to try travel hockey.  The nearest travel programs to North Pittsburgh are Butler Valley (playing out of Frozen Pond  on Route 8), Arctic Foxes (RMU Island Sports Center), Pittsburgh Aviators (Shadyside Academy or UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex), Beaver Badgers (Bradys Run), and Lawrence County Lightning (in New Castle PA playing out of Hess).   

I would not bother with Pens Elite.  You have many good programs in the north that can meet his needs.  Get him a year or two of travel experience and then maybe reconsider it if and when he can earn a spot on an "AA" or "A Major" travel team in the local travel league.

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13 hours ago, aaaahockey said:

It really does depend on the individual player. Not knowing you from Adam I would say you need to try out at North Pittsburgh and make making a travel team your benchmark.  Be excited and enjoy the ride when he makes one, regardless of level. Treat him to his favorite dinner out even if it is squirt 6. 

Great comment, and it is all about kids being placed on teams at a similar skill level and them having fun, especially at that age.

Don't let parent ego get in the way of the process - I know parents that change organizations every single year because for some reason, the group of evaluators got it all wrong when assigning little Johnny to the #3 team instead of the #1 AA team.  In cases like this, the kid suffers because they are not developing any long lasting friendships when going from one organization to another every single year.  Both of my kids that played PAHL and PIHL hockey played with some of the same kids for years, and my oldest has been out of hockey for years and is still friendly with those kids.

We all want the best for our kids, so my advice is to manage your expectations.  

Edited by fafa fohi
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People have told me that North Pittsburgh has a ton of kids at both the Peewee and Squirt level.   A lot of kids get cut from the travel teams.  If you really want to play travel hockey then I would at least consider Butler Valley or another program as a fall back to North Pittsburhg.

Additionally, try signing him up for the PPE tune up for tryouts.  Not all of the PPE kids do it but some do.  If he does it then he can see up close where he stands with some of the PPE kids.   

 

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On 2/10/2019 at 11:06 PM, Jack Handey said:

It's good to hear that he's doing well in the in-house league. 

I would set your sights on North Pittsburgh again since you are familiar with that rink, and have a back-up plan with another club at a nearby rink if you really want to try travel hockey.  The nearest travel programs to North Pittsburgh are Butler Valley (playing out of Frozen Pond  on Route 8), Arctic Foxes (RMU Island Sports Center), Pittsburgh Aviators (Shadyside Academy or UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex), Beaver Badgers (Bradys Run), and Lawrence County Lightning (in New Castle PA playing out of Hess).   

I would not bother with Pens Elite.  You have many good programs in the north that can meet his needs.  Get him a year or two of travel experience and then maybe reconsider it if and when he can earn a spot on an "AA" or "A Major" travel team in the local travel league.

The Steel City Ice Renegades out of Alpha ice rink in Harmarville are also pretty close to North Pittsburgh for tryouts.  They seem to have a good number of travel teams in squirt.

Most importantly keep him on the ice as much as possible with clinics, 3 on 3 summer leagues etc. The more ice he gets as a squirt the more he will develop.

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Considering that Pens tryouts are right before NP tryouts I would say go for it. Explain to your son that it's at a higher skill level. Tell him upfront that he will likely not make it, but it will help him prepare for NP tryout.

This will not be a waste of time or money. Any tuneup at any rink would cost you the same or even more.

If he wants to progress to a higher level he needs to be exposed to it.

Taking Pens tuneup session is also a good idea, as someone suggested. You get the best value for the money there for sure.

Go for it. And it will help him make a better team at NP next year.

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23 hours ago, lferg said:

This will not be a waste of time or money. Any tuneup at any rink would cost you the same or even more.

 

A tryout is not the same as a tune-up.  Your player will get some advice and coaching in a tune-up but will get no coaching nor feedback in the tryout.  Unless you consider acceptance or rejection as feedback. 

Walk before you run and try a PAHL team first.

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On 2/15/2019 at 10:27 PM, lferg said:

 

Go for it. And it will help him make a better team at NP next year.

How do you figure? He has the skills that he is going to have right now, a try out isn't going to help him get on a better team between now and the next tryout. If you really want to spend $$, spend the tryout fee on a lesson. Dollar for dollar, if you are looking to improve a skill, private lessons with a good instructor are the best bang for your buck over anything, really. But to expect anything now to help much for this year's try out is a bit much. He is where he is at this point, anyone who tells you something different is most likely trying to get in your wallet.

Lessons over the summer are the best time for those gains. Cut costs by sharing the lesson with a similarly skilled bud or two.

That being said, keep him moving on the ice before tryouts so he doesn't lose his skate legs and he doesn't get rusty. However you do it, through a private, a tune up, a public skate, stick time, any of that works. A try out is not good for that purpose.

What is at NP's rink between now and tryouts? Do you know families on the travel teams you can talk to? NP director of hockey ops? Most rinks and programs offer things to keep the rust off before tryouts. Probably get better info there on what you need to make a team then from here where people post anonymously.

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On 2/16/2019 at 10:06 PM, Jack Handey said:

A tryout is not the same as a tune-up.  Your player will get some advice and coaching in a tune-up but will get no coaching nor feedback in the tryout.  Unless you consider acceptance or rejection as feedback. 

Walk before you run and try a PAHL team first.

My personal experience is different. I received an excellent post-tryout written feedback from one of the coaches who took part in evaluation, with specifics on the areas for improvements. I was pleasantly surprised. 

And contrary to a reasonable expectation, players very rarely get an individual attention, coaching or corrections during the large group tune-ups. Tune-ups are not designed for skills improvement. The objective and benefits of tune up is to prepare the player for the structure, content, pace, and types of drills that will be used in tryouts for the respective age bracket.

There are so many kids participating in large group tune-ups, there is simply no time for coaches to do corrections. And if the kid is lucky to be corrected at all, it is not nearly enough to result in a noticeable skills improvement. Therefore, the effectiveness and benefits of a large group tune-up sessions is about the same as tryouts. 

Just count how many times coaches individually corrected your kid in next tune-up. 

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Checkout Jr.vengeance at harmarville.  The 09 group is coached by former NHL player John Zeiler and they practice with the 08 group who is ranked12th in the U.S.  it’s also cheapest squirt program around and the philosophy is limited travel so the kids can play multiple sports and become good athletes.

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On 2/24/2019 at 7:48 PM, Moj said:

Checkout Jr.vengeance at harmarville.  The 09 group is coached by former NHL player John Zeiler and they practice with the 08 group who is ranked12th in the U.S.  it’s also cheapest squirt program around and the philosophy is limited travel so the kids can play multiple sports and become good athletes.

Limited travel?? Anybody who wants to fact check this can go onto MyHockeyRankings and see the exact nature of this “limited travel” for the 2008 teams.

In reality, the Vengence had one more travel tournament/game set than the PPE. Picture included for some laughs. 

977C7365-93BA-4CE1-B552-F94FEDB4FDC2.jpeg

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I guess when I said limited travel I should have clarified that we did not have that many travel dates scheduled at the beginning of the season. We decided as a group of parents to add a few during the season when our team received invites from top 5 teams in the country. As a group we chose to travel to play against these teams and nobody in the Vengeance organization told us we had to travel. Since you seem pretty good with technology take a picture of last years schedule, if my memory is correct didn't that other team go to Boston for 4 games against 2 different opponents. I wander how many families gave the thumbs up for that trip. The thing I like about the Vengeance is we have some input on the schedule and where and who we choose to play. If you are a high level team you have to travel to play competition. Example, not sure if it is to the minute but I believe the 11th ranked team and he 7th ranked team are about 25 minutes down the turnpike. As a parent on the Vengeance I know for a fact the large majority of the families would like to play the other team as often as possible and even speaking to several families on the other team they seem to feel the same. I wonder Why the AAA Detroit teams play each other and Chicago AAA teams play one another. Come to think of it for the life of me I just can't seem to wrap my head around this. Can you shed some insight on this in a 3-1 game with shots on goal pretty even everybody I talked to seem to agree it was a good game.

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Just out of curiosity, why did you decide to compare the 08 teams when the poster was promoting the 09 team? With that said, Columbus, Cleveland and Buffalo can all be made into day trips if you get the hosting teams to work with you and in return you do the same for them. Galactic Ice is home to a PAHL organization so I'd hardly count that as a travel tournament. Unfortunately, the aversion of local organizations to schedule games against each other is a problem for the growth of the sport in this city.

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Not trying to bust balls here Moj, but there seems to be a substantial amount of half truths and myths flying out of the Vengeance camp that should be at least explored and expanded. 

You guys float this idea that you’re allowing your team to be “athletes”. Like if you play for any other organizations, somehow your kid isn’t allowed to play other sports. Do you comprehend how ridiculous that sounds? My kid is at PPE. And he enjoys a robust selection of sports aside from hockey. Kids on the team play soccer, lacrosse, baseball, golf, basketball, and yes even football both tackle and flag. They also wrestle and do martial arts. One kid competes in youth triathlons for Christ’s sake. I know kids on North Pittsburgh, SHAHA, The Preds, Butler Valley and other organizations as well. Amazingly, most of them also play multiple sports and are good athletes. The Vengeance have not cornered the market on 10 and 11 year old athletes by any means. It’s just a tired and ridiculous argument that frankly has been your teams biggest commercial and it’s just a misinformed exaggeration to try and differentiate yourselves from PPE and other programs. 

As far as parents having “input” into scheduling and what not......that honestly sounds like what has been called the “anabolic” parent mentality on these boards. Parents who also are too close to the coach or the director of the program. Parents who can’t get out of the way and let the coach do their job. These same type of parents who write line combos on napkins and get in the ear of the coach. It actually sounds nightmarish, at least for me. I could be crazy. I just want to sit there in the stands and watch my kid play hockey. But to each his own. So what happens if the parent group on your team is split 60-40 about going to a tourney? Is there an official vote? How would that work? And what if that 40 percent happen to be the parents with the most power and influence in the organization? I guess the trip is booked huh? And it sounds like your schedule is a shifting sea of uncertainty. You said you “added” stuff at the end of the year. I personally know three parents on the Vengeance that we’re livid that it became so much travel after they were sold the idea that it was limited travel. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. 

As far as the PPE going to Boston last year, didn’t you guys go to Chicago?? The answer is yes. Pretty much a wash. We knew about the Boston trip from day one. We know our entire travel schedule up front. Like it or hate it, the parents aren’t deceived or misled. We know exactly what we are signing up for. And this isn’t a commercial for PPE. There are many great options out there for youth hockey. PPE is definitely not for everyone and it has its flaws and warts. It’s expensive. It’s a big political organization. But we’re not baited and switched. 

The Vengeance parents I know say that there is an inside joke on that team. The joke is......”our fundraiser is our tryout”. I’ve heard that from these parents multiple times. The joke being that the team is pretty much set. Most of the kids on the team are winked and handshook in.....and that the tryout fee is kind of laughed at because no average “outsider” has any chance of making the team. Honestly, your line up is set. The parents are juiced in by reputation and there is little player movement. These tryouts are just to pad the income line. I can say that there have been minimum 3-6 player changes on the 08, 07, 06, and 05 PPE teams each year. 

Finally, as far as that 3-1 game is concerned, nobody gives a crap honestly. But it lives on in your camp as some watershed moment. That the teams were even. And this crap about shot totals. Blah blah blah. It was a meaningless youth game in the middle of the season. The only stat that matters isn’t how many shots were taken.....it matters how many went in. Any way you analyze it or justify it, it was a loss for the Vengeance. But truly nobody outside Harnarville cares at this point. Move onward and upward.

You guys have great kids and a good team. Just please stop trying to sell your team philosophy as ground breaking and innovative. It’s been done on virtually every birth year for decades. And that’s ok. Best of luck. 

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Yikes. I may just save all my travel try out money. I never realized all these programs were fixed and so political.  I assumed teams “reset” each year.  But I can see how the kids that played for a team last year move to the next age group and get preferential treatment having been in the program.

I didnt expect this stuff till HS. Not at such a young age. Oh well 😊

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16 minutes ago, TheZapruderTape said:

Not trying to bust balls here Moj, but there seems to be a substantial amount of half truths and myths flying out of the Vengeance camp that should be at least explored and expanded. 

You guys float this idea that you’re allowing your team to be “athletes”. Like if you play for any other organizations, somehow your kid isn’t allowed to play other sports. Do you comprehend how ridiculous that sounds? My kid is at PPE. And he enjoys a robust selection of sports aside from hockey. Kids on the team play soccer, lacrosse, baseball, golf, basketball, and yes even football both tackle and flag. They also wrestle and do martial arts. One kid competes in youth triathlons for Christ’s sake. I know kids on North Pittsburgh, SHAHA, The Preds, Butler Valley and other organizations as well. Amazingly, most of them also play multiple sports and are good athletes. The Vengeance have not cornered the market on 10 and 11 year old athletes by any means. It’s just a tired and ridiculous argument that frankly has been your teams biggest commercial and it’s just a misinformed exaggeration to try and differentiate yourselves from PPE and other programs. 

As far as parents having “input” into scheduling and what not......that honestly sounds like what has been called the “anabolic” parent mentality on these boards. Parents who also are too close to the coach or the director of the program. Parents who can’t get out of the way and let the coach do their job. These same type of parents who write line combos on napkins and get in the ear of the coach. It actually sounds nightmarish, at least for me. I could be crazy. I just want to sit there in the stands and watch my kid play hockey. But to each his own. So what happens if the parent group on your team is split 60-40 about going to a tourney? Is there an official vote? How would that work? And what if that 40 percent happen to be the parents with the most power and influence in the organization? I guess the trip is booked huh? And it sounds like your schedule is a shifting sea of uncertainty. You said you “added” stuff at the end of the year. I personally know three parents on the Vengeance that we’re livid that it became so much travel after they were sold the idea that it was limited travel. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. 

As far as the PPE going to Boston last year, didn’t you guys go to Chicago?? The answer is yes. Pretty much a wash. We knew about the Boston trip from day one. We know our entire travel schedule up front. Like it or hate it, the parents aren’t deceived or misled. We know exactly what we are signing up for. And this isn’t a commercial for PPE. There are many great options out there for youth hockey. PPE is definitely not for everyone and it has its flaws and warts. It’s expensive. It’s a big political organization. But we’re not baited and switched. 

The Vengeance parents I know say that there is an inside joke on that team. The joke is......”our fundraiser is our tryout”. I’ve heard that from these parents multiple times. The joke being that the team is pretty much set. Most of the kids on the team are winked and handshook in.....and that the tryout fee is kind of laughed at because no average “outsider” has any chance of making the team. Honestly, your line up is set. The parents are juiced in by reputation and there is little player movement. These tryouts are just to pad the income line. I can say that there have been minimum 3-6 player changes on the 08, 07, 06, and 05 PPE teams each year. 

Finally, as far as that 3-1 game is concerned, nobody gives a crap honestly. But it lives on in your camp as some watershed moment. That the teams were even. And this crap about shot totals. Blah blah blah. It was a meaningless youth game in the middle of the season. The only stat that matters isn’t how many shots were taken.....it matters how many went in. Any way you analyze it or justify it, it was a loss for the Vengeance. But truly nobody outside Harnarville cares at this point. Move onward and upward.

You guys have great kids and a good team. Just please stop trying to sell your team philosophy as ground breaking and innovative. It’s been done on virtually every birth year for decades. And that’s ok. Best of luck. 

You sound scared... 

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18 minutes ago, HockeyDad23 said:

Yikes. I may just save all my travel try out money. I never realized all these programs were fixed and so political.  I assumed teams “reset” each year.  But I can see how the kids that played for a team last year move to the next age group and get preferential treatment having been in the program.

I didnt expect this stuff till HS. Not at such a young age. Oh well 😊

The Pens are not political. With all due respect to said individuals, I won’t name names but there have been some heavy hitters with kids trying out, in the program.....Execs, pro’s, former pro’s and I can’t name one single case where a kid was put on a team, put on a team he/she didn’t belong on due to outside influences.

 

 

Edited by Rico
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12 minutes ago, Rico said:

You sound scared... 

That rebuttal doesn’t exactly prove that he’s wrong in what he’s said here, Rico.   Stick to posting straight jacket pics and talking about the Jackson 5.  

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