AAA Matter?

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The short answer not until Midget (U16/U18). As a coach the answer would be – Depends on the player. It does nothing for the Peewee(U12) or younger players development to be the best player on any team regardless of level. The player is not being challenged. If you are a stud at A you should be playing AA and if you are a stud at AA you should play AAA. Secondly, a player that can survive, aka middle of the pack, at AAA Squirt(U10) does not always translate to a AA/AAA player at older ages. As a parent unless your U14/U16 player is just tearing it up at the lower levels,(A/AA) spending the money, time and travel on AAA is ridiculous. Everyone wants little johnny to be on the BEST team no matter what. I have seen countless parents force kids to play on higher level teams where they are 3-4 liners with limited playing time when if they had played on lower level team they would have more playing time and developed more skills. Everyone thinks they can only be scouted if they play AAA. NOT TRUE!! It helps but if you are a good enough player they will find you. I currently have a son who never played a day of AAA hockey that is playing Jr. hockey in the EHL. He played one year at U16 AA. Was it easy? NO. Did he work his tail off? Yes. He plays in a league with players that spent years playing AAA. I stand in the rink with parents that have spent $10K a year to play AAA for the last 5-7 years. Their sons are in the same league mine is. There is too much emphasis on what level a team is and not enough on developing skills. IMO