Room for Two?
Is there room for two Major U-18 Programs in South East New Brunswick?
Would the prospect of that rock the boat?
Would it change the landscape of hockey in this region?
Would two organizations eliminate the competitive juggernaut or would it water down the talent pool and the game?
Questions, questions and more questions.
Maybe it’s time to ask a few questions, I know they have been asked before, well that’s what I’ve been told.
But have they all been answered?
Maybe some people don’t like the answers!
The hockey world doesn’t care for a slippery slope.
A matter of fact they’re probably scared shitless of it.
I grew up in an era of AAA and A, there were no AA or AAA Minor or Minor this or that.
We knew the hierarchy, we understood it and we had to accept it for what it was.
We knew the politics, but when I first heard that there were three Bantam AAA programs or Pee Wee AAA teams around the area I almost had a conniption fit.
“How could they,” I thought.
“They just watered it down.”
“They just ruined competitive hockey.”
You see my initial thoughts are etched in personal experience.
They are shaped and molded by my decision or my skill set at the time.
I chose to play high school hockey.
It was a different world back then.
High school hockey was extremely good hockey, not saying it isn’t today, but things were different.
Midget AAA hockey was extremely good hockey at that time as well.
We had a choice, some players chose the Midget route while others chose high school.
What a concept having choices and options.
Even back in the “Stone Age” of the mid 90’s players had choices to make.
It was still hockey and it wasn’t watered down at all.
Nevertheless, the landscape of hockey was about to change dramatically with one word; opportunity.
In my opinion there was a massive shift in the game at the end of the 90’s and early 2000’s that no doubt was caused by the alarming numbers of kids leaving the game.
Numbers were low and they were low for a reason.
I don’t have enough time or space on the internet to lay that out. Just put it this way, it’s not good.
Don’t believe me, go back and look at the numbers, the numbers don’t lie.
In an effort to save the game, associations and hockey institutions expanded their reach and gave kids an opportunity to experience high level hockey.
Now there’s some people out there that will die on that mountain saying that philosophy ruined the game, while others say that move gave their son or daughter an opportunity to develop and grow.
That gap year changed the course of countless thousands of hockey players lives, why? It gave them another opportunity to experience the game, it grew their passion, it grew their competitive soul. It grew their skill.
It gave those players an opportunity to play at the highest level they could, but more importantly it showed them how close they really were.
How many kids from this region could benefit from playing Major U-18 hockey?
Could you imagine the competitive rivalry between those teams?
Could you imagine the developmental possibilities!
Could you imagine having two organizations steeped in tradition, a tradition of developing players for the next level?
Ghost rosters would be the thing of the past.
Developing players would be paramount and the main objective for both organizations.
A Major U-18 Program could easily be run out of Dieppe, Bouctouche or Cocagne without causing any logistical issues with facilities in the Moncton area.
There’s enough ice time for everyone, don’t believe me, look into it, how many rinks sit empty and go unused.
Two programs would strengthen this region it would change the landscape of the game forever.
It would leave a lasting legacy of development in Southeast New Brunswick.
It’s time to start asking questions, it’s time to start asking the right questions.
It’s time to grow the game.
It’s time to develop more players.
It’s time for options and opportunity.
It’s not the “Stone Age” anymore.
Questions, questions and more questions, they have all been asked before, maybe some people won’t like the answers.