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1 hour ago, twoboys said:

The only thing stopping the PAHL teams from doing it are the PAHL teams.  For starters, if the coach doesn't want to do it then it won't happen.  The organization also has to give them extra ice slots for practice and independent games.  That may not be possible.  If it is possible then you got to pay more.  Does everyone want to pay more?  Not always the case.  Sometimes, parents are happy to play AA and a couple of tournaments.  And lastly, they need prime practice slots since kids are likely traveling some distance to get there.

All of these factors -- coach's expectations, ice slots/times, cost for parents -- should be laid out during tryouts. If players/parents don't want to play a 20-game PAHL schedule plus an additional 20-30 tournament/independent games to prepare for a run at Nationals, those players/parents can always consider trying out for A or B teams.

 

1 hour ago, twoboys said:

If you are having a high level AA team your team probably isn't home grown.  All of this makes the other teams in the organization mad and jealous.

This is absolutely not true. There are plenty of high level PAHL AA teams that consist of players developed within their respective organizations.

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11 hours ago, sadday4hockey said:

I would qualify "plenty" as 6-8. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and ask you to name 3.

I also think you have to define high level.  Not every AA team is high level.  I would bet that at most 2 teams per age group could be considered high level.

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12 hours ago, sadday4hockey said:

I would qualify "plenty" as 6-8. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and ask you to name 3.

Over the last 15-20+ years, a significant amount of AA teams from Allegheny, Altoona, Armstrong, North Pittsburgh, Preds, Vipers, SHAHA, Southpointe, Steel City, etc. have consisted of players developed within their respective organizations -- many of these players moved on to play AAA, Junior, and/or College (NCAA and ACHA) hockey. Recently, the increased number of faux-AAA and independent AA teams have, unfortunately, caused players/parents to be more concerned with collecting jerseys than organizational development. 

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24 minutes ago, twoboys said:

I also think you have to define high level.  Not every AA team is high level.  I would bet that at most 2 teams per age group could be considered high level.

Imagine if all of the faux-AAA and independent AA teams played in PAHL. Then you'd have 5+ high level teams per age group.

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6 minutes ago, RegDunlop7 said:

Over the last 15-20+ years, a significant amount of AA teams from Allegheny, Altoona, Armstrong, North Pittsburgh, Preds, Vipers, SHAHA, Southpointe, Steel City, etc. have consisted of players developed within their respective organizations -- many of these players moved on to play AAA, Junior, and/or College (NCAA and ACHA) hockey. Recently, the increased number of faux-AAA and independent AA teams have, unfortunately, caused players/parents to be more concerned with collecting jerseys than organizational development. 

I think you proved my point if you have to go back 15-20 years to come up with some high level home grown AA teams. 

Let's make it easy.  Why don't we just talk about this years teams. 

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We now have AA and AA squared. 😆 'High level AA' team = marketing ploy to charge more. This AA squared team is so much better than playing in a PAHL AA because it is high performing! 

What? If they are similar in compete level to a AA PAHL team, guess what...you are not higher performing. 

Parents caught on to the faux AAA so now they are AA squared. Somewhere in between AA and AAA, I guess.

Same old with a new label. 

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3 minutes ago, The King said:

When did they move on? Most i bet move on below bantams.

Agreed, I would say most players move on to AAA during Bantam. Junior and College hockey would obviously come after Midget.

 

4 minutes ago, The King said:

I also think you’re displaying a very mystical and grandiose vision of AA hockey in WPA. It’s not even close to what it was 20 years ago.

This is part of the argument. I'm saying that all of the faux-AAA and independent AA teams are ruining AAA and AA hockey in Western PA.

 

12 minutes ago, The King said:

The people in charge do not want teams that practice 1-2 hours per week and play 20 games.

Agreed, which is why most high level PAHL AA teams practice 4-5+ hours per week and play 20-30 tournament/independent games in addition to the 20-game PAHL schedule. I wouldn't consider any AA teams that only practice 1-2 hours per week and play 20 games as high level.

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30 minutes ago, twoboys said:

I think you proved my point if you have to go back 15-20 years to come up with some high level home grown AA teams.

I said that, over the last 15-20+ years (which includes now), there have been a significant amount of "home grown" high level AA teams.

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21 hours ago, RegDunlop7 said:

All of these factors -- coach's expectations, ice slots/times, cost for parents -- should be laid out during tryouts. If players/parents don't want to play a 20-game PAHL schedule plus an additional 20-30 tournament/independent games to prepare for a run at Nationals, those players/parents can always consider trying out for A or B teams.

 

This is absolutely not true. There are plenty of high level PAHL AA teams that consist of players developed within their respective organizations.

It is your prior post that contains the quote that I feel is inaccurate.  What happened 15-20 years ago is frankly irrelevant to youth hockey today.  The team that is the closet to home grown is probably Armstrong's National Bound Program.  They play a ton of games including independent games and better tournaments.  I heard there are a fair number of kids from the area but there are also kids that travel pretty far to play for them.  Have your kids played AA in PAHL recently?  Recruiting is happening left and right.  One organization gets a coach and has a plan and they reach out to everyone to fill the team.    

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1 minute ago, twoboys said:

What happened 15-20 years ago is frankly irrelevant to youth hockey today.  The team that is the closet to home grown is probably Armstrong's National Bound Program.  They play a ton of games including independent games and better tournaments.  I heard there are a fair number of kids from the area but there are also kids that travel pretty far to play for them.  Have your kids played AA in PAHL recently?  Recruiting is happening left and right.  One organization gets a coach and has a plan and they reach out to everyone to fill the team.

Armstrong's National-bound teams are great recent examples of how PAHL organizations used to manage their AA teams -- with Allegheny, Altoona, and the Preds enjoying the most success. The increasing amount of faux-AAA and independent AA teams has, unfortunately, shifted the focus from organizational development to jersey collecting.

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On 3/10/2020 at 2:13 PM, RegDunlop7 said:

There are plenty of high level PAHL AA teams that consist of players developed within their respective organizations.

This is a present tense statement and then you do a 180 and include 15-20 years.

 

2 hours ago, RegDunlop7 said:

Armstrong's National-bound teams are great recent examples of how PAHL organizations used to manage their AA teams

Are you trying to tell us that these teams were developed within the Armstrong organization? If so, I'm afraid I've got some bad news.

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57 minutes ago, sadday4hockey said:

This is a present tense statement and then you do a 180 and include 15-20 years.

Lol if we're gonna question grammar on this forum, we might as well start removing everyone's posts now. What I should've said was "there have been plenty of high level PAHL AA teams over the last 15-20 years that have consisted of players developed within their respective organizations." I do agree that more associations operated this way several years ago, but I'll counter with the argument that faux-AAA and independent AA teams have enabled the deterioration of organizational development.

 

57 minutes ago, sadday4hockey said:

Are you trying to tell us that these teams were developed within the Armstrong organization? If so, I'm afraid I've got some bad news.

@twoboys mentioned that Armstrong's recent National-bound teams have been "home grown", but I don't have enough details to know if that's true or not. Regardless of player development for this specific case, I will defend how Armstrong is successfully managing/preparing its National-bound teams while keeping PAHL AA hockey strong and not succumbing to the faux-AAA or independent AA nonsense.

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  • 9 months later...

I finished my hockey career at Cal U about a decade ago but spent my entire youth in Butler Valley organization. As one person already mentioned, Brandon Saad played here (he was playing up as a squirt on our peewee team and was still the top scorer by a lot, his brother George was the only one who came close to his talent). We also had an incredible team in 2006 that was a goal away from winning Nattys. The organization was always a disaster, hence Brandon leaving before bantams and that '06 team being completely independent from the rest of the organization. I stayed because we had a group of 15 kids who just loved playing together and parents who were capable coaches.

Although I never left BV (I wasn't nearly as good as the players around me), a lot of my friends and even my brother did go on to play for other programs. At that time, my best friend went to the dying Viper Stars program in Lower Burrell. They were an atrocious 1-69-0 during his first season and barely improved during his second. He eventually left for Armstrong and nearly clawed his way back to nationals in his senior year iirc. 

Of course, that Armstrong program was also on the decline back then and was dealing with a lot of internal drama. This culminated in a pair of coaches and a manager leaving the Belmont to restart the Pittsburgh Huskies program in Lower Burrell. That team instantly attracted a lot of quality players from NP, BV, Armstrong, Vipers, and Jr. Pens (a lot of guys who played together when they were younger) and was also instantly competitive in the 16U and 14U divisions which was all that comprised the organization then. 

So to parse through the point(s) of this rant, I'm not a fan of Butler Valley's board at all and it comes as no surprise that they went this route, completely burying the BV history in the process. At the same time, Esmark Stars was the top ranked Mid-Am program last year....the same team that was 1-69-0 when they made the jump back into AAA ~15 years ago, so there is always hope for all of these programs. Finally, there is a lot of talk about homegrown players here but the truth is that just doesn't happen in American hockey. Any good player is getting better from constantly practicing both within and outside of their team, if a kid is limited to just what his coaching staff and parents tell him then they're limiting their potential as well. 

The one anomaly in this world is the Armstrong Arrows. I didn't grow up around K-town, but my mother relocated to Freeport a few years ago so my baby brother played in Armstrong for a while. There's nothing special about the organization, the coaches, or even the water but somehow they always manage to pump out these great teams. For as terrible as Kittanning is as a town, the hockey they produce is undeniably good.

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Back to the vaunted Icemen teams

15U - 9th out of 9 teams in MidAm

16U - 11th out of 11 teams in MidAm

18U - 10th out of 10 teams in MidAm

Now one would think that these might be the worst teams in the country at their respective age groups and yet we have the following to prove us wrong.

20 teams at 18U ranked lower

17 teams at 16U ranked lower

7 teams at 15 ranked lower

 

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So many thoughts..... which direction to go?

Non-sarcastic answer - you can't just switch from a Tier 1 roster to a Tier 2 roster and that's that. You have to play 14 games as a team this year (normally 20) and each player 7 games (normally 10) to be eligible. Whether it's even allowed to switch Tiers at all is doubtful since you have to declare before the season.

 

Sarcastic answer - if you're going to drop down, shouldn't you get it right the second time and declare A Major Black? You can call your team whatever you want to, AAA, AA or even 7000A. The bottom line is it's what you do on the ice that determines your actual level of play.

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