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We live in north Pittsburgh and my son will be entering his last year of mites. We are trying to decide between north pittsburgh wildcats or yetis? Any advice on which is better experience or better for development? Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

In terms of transition from mites to squirts, North Pittsburgh is a large organization, so they often field multiple teams at each level.  I've found that you're more likely to find a fit for your child's development level when there's multiple teams like that.  North Pittsburgh consistently fields a AA team for squirts because of that as well, but coming in as the younger birth year you will likely be on Team 2 or below.  The AA team isn't a birth year team for squirts, but it is de facto since older kids usually fill out the roster.

Other organizations that are smaller may or may not have a AA team as their top team, but it all depends on the players that try out for the program and how they place.  I don't want to say one is better than the other for development, because I'm sure it is hit or miss with who is coaching, but North Pittsburgh is simply a bigger organization and can field more teams at different skill levels.

Edited by Duck Bill
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35 minutes ago, Fosta812 said:

We live in north Pittsburgh and my son will be entering his last year of mites. We are trying to decide between north pittsburgh wildcats or yetis? Any advice on which is better experience or better for development? Thanks.

At this point in your little skaters career, there is nothing more important than having FUN.  Make sure you are looking for a program that gives you quality ice time with coaches that foster development through having fun.  The more fun they are having, the more they will WANT to get on the ice to work hard.  That will also lead them to want to go to more public skates/stick times on their own time to keep practicing! Let me know if you have questions about anything! We are here to help.  Good luck!

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Posted (edited)

I know families that have done both in the same season. Mites is the only level you can do this. 
 

North Pittsburgh’s mite program is a house league. Games are on the weekends. Yetis mites play in the PAHL so you will play jamborees at different rinks. It is possible to do both though there may be some weekends with conflicting schedules. 
 

Levi Rogers runs the Mite program at the Yetis and is very good with the kids and emphasizes skating skills. The teams will have parent coaches for the jamborees. 
 

Looking into the future, beyond the Mites, someone above mentioned that North Pittsburgh’s program is large. They will usually field 4+ squirt teams that play in the PAHL. It can be a good long term home. The next step for Yetis, would be either the Icemen birthyear team, which plays an AHF and independent schedule or to continue with the Yetis which fields PAHL teams. There will likely be fewer Yetis teams than North Pittsburgh teams, so there may be a wider range of talent up and down the roster. 
 

Both are good organizations and have supporters. 
 

its easy for me to spend your time and commit your free time, but if you are in a position to do both, consider it. The extra practices are a good thing and you can see which fits the best and have great visibility into each organizations plans for next year come tryout season. 
 

 

Edited by James Gatz
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If by that age you aren't already being scouted for the Brick team, then do you even hockey bro?

In all seriousness, go wherever it's a good fit and the child enjoys themselves. Add additional skills and skating classes if your player is willing. If you need to prod them to go then don't do it.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/17/2024 at 6:44 PM, James Gatz said:

I know families that have done both in the same season. Mites is the only level you can do this. 
 

North Pittsburgh’s mite program is a house league. Games are on the weekends. Yetis mites play in the PAHL so you will play jamborees at different rinks. It is possible to do both though there may be some weekends with conflicting schedules. 
 

Levi Rogers runs the Mite program at the Yetis and is very good with the kids and emphasizes skating skills. The teams will have parent coaches for the jamborees. 
 

Looking into the future, beyond the Mites, someone above mentioned that North Pittsburgh’s program is large. They will usually field 4+ squirt teams that play in the PAHL. It can be a good long term home. The next step for Yetis, would be either the Icemen birthyear team, which plays an AHF and independent schedule or to continue with the Yetis which fields PAHL teams. There will likely be fewer Yetis teams than North Pittsburgh teams, so there may be a wider range of talent up and down the roster. 
 

Both are good organizations and have supporters. 
 

its easy for me to spend your time and commit your free time, but if you are in a position to do both, consider it. The extra practices are a good thing and you can see which fits the best and have great visibility into each organizations plans for next year come tryout season. 
 

 

@James Gatz edited.

The Yetis ( formerly Butler Valley Dawgs ) have always had a strong Mite program and is suited for those that want their player to have limited local travel via jamborees.  NP is more of a house league where teams play each other.  Both are respected programs and you can't go wrong with either one at this age.

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At this age, one of the best things you can do with them that will cost you next to nothing is to....play with them at home. I am convinced that my boy developed some great hands because he was obsessed with....knee hockey. Whoever he could get to play with him, he played. Sounds silly , but those little light balls can move pretty fast. It helped his reflexes. That, driveway play....we get so focused on the skills training, lessons, etc that we miss the development that happens with unstructured play. And quite frankly, if they aren't pursuing the sport on their own time in some way, whether physically or watching it somehow, that gives you a big clue that you shouldn't be dumping a lot of money there.

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40 minutes ago, Saucey said:

At this age, one of the best things you can do with them that will cost you next to nothing is to....play with them at home. I am convinced that my boy developed some great hands because he was obsessed with....knee hockey. Whoever he could get to play with him, he played. Sounds silly , but those little light balls can move pretty fast. It helped his reflexes. That, driveway play....we get so focused on the skills training, lessons, etc that we miss the development that happens with unstructured play. And quite frankly, if they aren't pursuing the sport on their own time in some way, whether physically or watching it somehow, that gives you a big clue that you shouldn't be dumping a lot of money there.

Agree with most of those thoughts. However, the one thing you're going to fall behind on is skating.  It's hard to make up for lost time there. Kids that grew up in our neighborhood and only played deck hockey, they had great hands, they had above average shots, they struggled to make their school's Middle School team.  One took classes and private lessons. But became frustrated and gave up hockey.  

 

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On 5/21/2024 at 10:45 AM, zam said:

Agree with most of those thoughts. However, the one thing you're going to fall behind on is skating.  It's hard to make up for lost time there. Kids that grew up in our neighborhood and only played deck hockey, they had great hands, they had above average shots, they struggled to make their school's Middle School team.  One took classes and private lessons. But became frustrated and gave up hockey.  

 

True. But I wouldn't even spend there at that age with privates or anything until it is clear that hockey is their passion. It is a late development sport, and we really didn't do anything extra until my boys were older and wanted the privates. I had some good hockey players. Otherwise you might as well take that money and stuff it in a drain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My son is currently going into his final year in Mite's at North Pittsburgh. He is 7 (late 2016 Birthyear) and he started Little Pens and Learn to Play right before his 6th birthday (all of which were at Baierl). Then last year he did the Baierl Spring and Summer League before transitioning to his first year with North Pittsburgh. He played in the white division of ADM last season. I would guess he would move up to red for the upcoming North Pittsburgh Season. This spring and summer he ventured out a little bit and still did the Baierl Spring and Summer League along with a full ice team and trying out the Mite Development League at UPMC. 

I have personally thought that North Pittsburgh has done a great job with my son. He really enjoys that coaches and everyone at the rink. He also made a lot of friend's through hockey that don't go to his school. 

As far as travel goes, they didn't do basically any travel outside of the option to go to the Nutcracker Tournament. My son played in it and all he has talked about is going back again in December to play in it.

As far as the Yeti's go, we never considered it due to our location. We are just west of Baierl, just across the boarder in Beaver County. It just made more sense logistically to play at Baierl.  I know some parents have spoken about the Yeti's Mite Program being more travel oriented. My son's team played two different Yeti's team in the Nutcracker Tournament and one team was really good while the other was more average, so I can see the skill level disparity that some of the other people have mentioned. Both teams were playing in the White Skill Tier.  

I didn't grow up playing ice hockey, so I learned a lot just talking with other parent's at the rink and with North Pittsburgh/Baierl being upfront with what options my son would have going forward. 

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@newhockeydad  "I have personally thought that North Pittsburgh has done a great job with my son. He really enjoys that coaches and everyone at the rink. He also made a lot of friend's through hockey that don't go to his school."

That quote says it all.  

Your son appears to be having fun, he's making new friends and developing as a hockey player and the rink is at a convenient location.  If he keeps playing hockey in his later years, there is plenty of time for him to play on a travel team as U10 is just a year away.  There are anabolic parents out there that think their 7-8 year old needs numerous tournaments home and away at that age which doesn't guarantee player development.  If you see your son's skill level progressing then he is in a good spot.  And don't be afraid to ask his coaches about areas he can work on his game, especially from a dryland standpoint.

Good luck to you and your son.

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14 hours ago, fafa fohi said:

@newhockeydad  "I have personally thought that North Pittsburgh has done a great job with my son. He really enjoys that coaches and everyone at the rink. He also made a lot of friend's through hockey that don't go to his school."

That quote says it all.  

Your son appears to be having fun, he's making new friends and developing as a hockey player and the rink is at a convenient location.  If he keeps playing hockey in his later years, there is plenty of time for him to play on a travel team as U10 is just a year away.  There are anabolic parents out there that think their 7-8 year old needs numerous tournaments home and away at that age which doesn't guarantee player development.  If you see your son's skill level progressing then he is in a good spot.  And don't be afraid to ask his coaches about areas he can work on his game, especially from a dryland standpoint.

Good luck to you and your son.

I think you miss the point about tournaments and travel.  You should do these things because kids enjoy them and it adds to the experience.  If you are too lazy to take you kid to a jamboree at Armstrong or you are too cheap to take your kid to an out of town tournament in Cleveland, then hockey probably isn't for you and you should get out now. 

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36 minutes ago, twoboys said:

I think you miss the point about tournaments and travel.  You should do these things because kids enjoy them and it adds to the experience.  If you are too lazy to take you kid to a jamboree at Armstrong or you are too cheap to take your kid to an out of town tournament in Cleveland, then hockey probably isn't for you and you should get out now. 

If your 6 year old doesn't have the drive and commitment of Sidney Crosby they have no place on the ice 🙄.

It is attitudes like this that can make hockey rinks seem like such a toxic place. Every kid is different, every family situation is different.

People have to do what is best for their family and their kid's development, not as hockey players but as little humans who need room to learn, grow, and thrive. 

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7 hours ago, twoboys said:

I think you miss the point about tournaments and travel.  You should do these things because kids enjoy them and it adds to the experience.  If you are too lazy to take you kid to a jamboree at Armstrong or you are too cheap to take your kid to an out of town tournament in Cleveland, then hockey probably isn't for you and you should get out now. 

His kid is seven years old.

Looks like we found the anabolic hockey parent I was referring to - thanks for revealing yourself @twoboys.  

Then again your comments are so lame you might be trolling.  Difficult to tell.

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On 6/3/2024 at 7:49 PM, fafa fohi said:

@newhockeydad  "I have personally thought that North Pittsburgh has done a great job with my son. He really enjoys that coaches and everyone at the rink. He also made a lot of friend's through hockey that don't go to his school."

That quote says it all.  

Your son appears to be having fun, he's making new friends and developing as a hockey player and the rink is at a convenient location.  If he keeps playing hockey in his later years, there is plenty of time for him to play on a travel team as U10 is just a year away.  There are anabolic parents out there that think their 7-8 year old needs numerous tournaments home and away at that age which doesn't guarantee player development.  If you see your son's skill level progressing then he is in a good spot.  And don't be afraid to ask his coaches about areas he can work on his game, especially from a dryland standpoint.

Good luck to you and your son.

 

Thank You. We certainly don't dislike traveling to new rinks or possibly playing a few more tournaments. We just found a program that works for him in North Pittsburgh and went with there development model. He did do one of the First Line Events full ice mite teams this spring. Which he is currently finishing up and that seemed to help him better understand the game a little more from a full ice perspective. He really enjoyed the different style of game from half ice to full ice. He also plays soccer, so the full ice game seemed to carry some similarities to soccer with having to be in position.

I am trying to make sure I give him all of the opportunities to advance in hockey however I don't want to be overwhelming considering he is only 7. Since he started playing organized hockey last spring, he has pretty much been on the ice every week since then. I always ask him, hey do you want to do this and let him tell me what he wants to do. 

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My son as since aged out, but he started skating at 4 and the question my wife and I asked him all the time was "Are you having fun", "Was that fun", "Are you still having fun"...  we did it constantly, to the point that it probably annoyed him but it was because we always wanted to be sure that he was doing what he wanted to do and not what we wanted him to be doing.  Let your player have fun, progress at their own pace, and then make your choices about what to do based on what they want to do along with what your personal time and financial limitations allow.  Most people realize that the odds are against any player/anywhere in the world going pro so ignore the criticisms you are going to hear from other people and parents about things like where you are choosing to play, where you are choosing to spend your money, and how much money you are spending.  People (especially on this board) like to be critical of the choices people make even though it has zero impact on them directly.  Do what is best for your player and your family, ask questions when you have them, ignore the negative, and make sure they are having fun.  

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