When to jump from A/AA to AAA HOCKEY? (2023)


Clip from PowerTech Development Podcast Episode 109 | "How Coaches Can BREAK Players" (Responding to Comments II) with Coach Andy.
Should your kid stay in A/AA or jump to AAA hockey? Coach Andy shares what factors played a part in his decisions as a dad.

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Here is my decision, okay as a parent.

So this is this is for parents.

Now, when you when you're when you're putting your kid in the in the game, you might not understand the game, and you might have a skewed version of what your son is or whatever, but I looked at it this way if my son.

So this is like the protecting of my of my child and saving me a bunch of money.

And whatever is when I was when my son was going to play at the AAA level.

So he did that when he was 12 or 13, 12., um, I looked and I said, well, if you know, I know, I'm, pretty sure that he's going to be a top five on that team, right? So that makes sense for me to do it.

So if he was a 10 I would not have had him go to AAA yet.

So that was my first decision so that, um and is that good or bad.

Well, for me, the decision was if you're not a top player.

Then to me playing at the AAA level made no sense to me.

Now for some parents that might make sense, but for me, it made zero sense for my son to be an average player playing AAA and not because he would probably do better at a double a level of development or he's, just not that good of a hockey player.

So I'm not going to invest all kinds of time, money energy.

And and and and and fake fake my way through home.

My kids are like a superstar hockey, players, he's average that's, where that's what he would have been average.

So at average I'm, not going to go to the highest level because I part of part of us because I understand, where would an average player where average player ends up at 16 or 17 or 18., right? It was kind of like I'm, not going to invest the time, the energy the money.

Yeah, it's.

A lot of reasons dial him in to something that he could never be.


So because he had the like a huge desire had Talent was willing to do the work.

And the mental focus I said, yeah, let's let's, go for sure, okay so that's that.

But at the same time as a dad as a mom I'm, not the mom by the way, my wife was, um.

And the people around him all the time were always telling him proper stuff.

Do you know what I mean? So it was like it was always about, um hard work.

It was always about learning details.

It was always about learning a 200 foot game.

It was always telling him beforehand that you know, like I told Charlie, I said, your biggest your biggest issue you're going to have going through minor hockey is me.

And and people might say, well, you would be the biggest asset to him and yeah, sort of kind of the asset that I was them is that I had experience the asset that I had to him is that he was hanging around with actual hockey players professional and junior hockey players, his whole life, and that he had access to ice basically whenever he wanted in my training or our training systems and stuff.

So that was the asset.

But the biggest thing was and make no mistake about this is there is a jealousy factor, or it would be nice to see this kid, fail, that's reality.

So I prepared him for that and I think every parent needs to do that.

So like if you're looking at a kid that if you're if you're looking at the kid and it's like they'll, because a lot of teams do this right, they sign players early.

And then they got like maybe four spots left.

So if you're like seven eight nine or ten, eleven, twelve, then you gotta have a talk with your kid to say like all, right? So we know where you stand there's, no, you know, don't, sugarcoat it.

You know where you stand.

So it might be a harder year than you think you're gonna have doesn't mean you can't be good.

You have to work for everything get and all those kind of talks, right? Yeah, absolutely or or or just your kids personality like we were.

We were my wife was brought it to my attention, probably more than I realized.

But she said, I hope, he's not a problem in the room, our son, right? Why would you think that he goes? Because he never shuts up, but not in a bad way, he's always talking to guys.

And but it depends for sure it depends who you're dealing with right because like for some people like the kid that's always yapping is like you're a pain in my ass for other people.

The kid that never talks is a pain in the ass, that's, what I mean so it's like it just depends on your personalities.

Right? Yeah, yeah.

So like with my kid on the bench, it could be come on guys like or, or you know, the coach can hear him say, if you get that deep I'll do this, you do this or whatever they're having actually a constructive hockey.

Talk coach might look at that and say, look, you think you know, everything, eh, yeah, you know what? I mean, absolutely that happened that happened to me in junior I.

Remember, my last year, this is I've talked about this coach a bunch that just me and him are not no way.


We did not mix and I remember him doing that exact thing to me on the bench like me like trying to keep the boys up or whatever talking on the bench and him looking me right in the face and saying, that's enough like stop talking and I'm, just like, oh, okay, like right where it's just like you think you're doing something for the team and the personalities just don't Jive.

And but but that's good that's, a good outline because parents have to keep that in mind.

So that you don't get into a situation like we're talking about in this in this video, you can do things for your kid to get them set up and get them, uh prepared to deal with a coach like that or put them in a better situation, where they'll be more successful right because to a certain degree, you want your kid to face, adversity and have to battle and those types of things you do.

But you do, but you don't want them to be that's like in such a Soul behind the eight baller at that.

There it's just a losing battle that there's, no way.

They'll ever be rewarded because they're just not good enough, or they just don't care enough and that's kind of where if you're like more of a bottom end player on a triple A team, that's kind of where you can start to think about.

Okay, maybe if we go play it in the double A atmosphere, maybe that's actually better for the kid.

It's, better he'll be a better player.

He'll be one of the better players.

There he'll get more ice there and he'll maybe have that that confidence of playing again, where you don't feel like you're, just getting buried on a on a triple A team when you're 14 or whatever it's like because it's not necessary, you know, as we're talking about this what's going through my mind is that the comments on this.

One is going to be well, yeah, well, you like so you're, saying, if your kid's not the best not to challenge I know where this is and on the other side is I know this as a trainer.

And as a coach is a kid's body language.

This is another thing parents have to kind of like help your kid.

So if your kid is like, super quiet, never look someone in the eye, super shy, looks disinterested that's exactly what they're going to look like to the coach.

So if you're if you know, so, you know, you try to teach your kid to look guys in the eye to to be assertive in their in their speaking and in their play and uh, because you don't want the coach questioning like, yeah, I don't, really, actually think the kid wants to be here.

Yeah, right.

So it's like there's, a lot of things you could do as a parent to dial it in.

And then, and then the lessons that that happen like there are going to be things.

There are going to be things that happen.

Good and bad right like.

And some kids are going to have a hard time and I, don't know and I actually been sincere about this I, don't know, if quitting is the best answer or if it, if like if it's really bad, I, don't know, um, because you don't want to teach your kid to quit.

So you know, if you're having a if you're having a a rough year, where you got a coach that's like all over you or not giving you a lot of ice and stuff like that as a parent, you don't want to Total baby them.

And you you do want to teach them about the the life lessons right the hard work and about the people that are around you and how to deal with them.

And and and the worst thing though is to say, it's, it's, um, not that it's not fair.

But it's is yeah, yeah.

You don't want to always be a victim.

That's exactly what it is.

You don't want to be a victim.

You want to work hard and and find Pride within yourself.

And the family that you found small, victories, yeah, for sure I'm thinking of, uh.

So kind of kind of along the same lines is you have to be able to to balance both sides of it right? The challenge part, which is so it's, huge man, you have to be able to put your kid in a situation where they have to battle, but they have to be in an environment where they can get a win here.

And there like an individual, yes, like it's.

Not it can't just be only a battle like there has to be some battle, but they have to be able to win.

And this is like goes down to the way that the brain works.

Man because I remember learning about, um, when they do research about play like when when they end up, they did it with rats, but they end up looking at how it works with humans.

So if they have rats like wrestle that's, how rats play with each other they'll wrestle.

So if they pair like a big rat with a small rat, the small rat has to win at least 30 percent of the time or it doesn't want to play anymore.

So that's still a losing percentage.

So like if this small rat let's say, if they win 30 of the time, they'll, keep trying to wrestle the bigger rat, yeah, even if they have a chance, they think they have a chance if they can win 30 of the time they can see like, okay, maybe I can make progress.

Maybe I can beat at some point I'll be able to beat this thing that I'm battling against, even though it's only 30 a 30 win percentage sucks because you're, no good if it's 30 right.

So they need to be given a bone here.

And there, right? It can't be something where it's such a battle that they can never win.

They have to be able to get a win here and there or they're just going to quit.

And everybody knows that like, if you if you keep doing anything over and over and over, and you always suck at it, you stop doing that thing.

If you play guitar and every time you play it, you break a string because you're so bad you're, not gonna play anymore.

You don't want to do that you'll go do something else.

So in this environment, when it's me with computers, yeah, that's, right, Eric.

How do I turn this on? Yeah, it's exactly it it's exactly it just email it.

So so keep that in mind, though because that's exactly it man, you don't want your kid to quit.

You want him to have to battle, but you don't want him to quit.

And if you if you want to find that balance, and they have to they have to be able to get some wins, you know, in the whatever the environment is whether it's on their team or individually or whatever they have to get a something where they feel like they're accomplishing something at some point to some degree.

It has to happen here and there and that's, why it can't just be tough guy, mentality just suck it up it's like to a certain degree suck it up.

But you have to be able to get a win at some point or you're, not in the right place.

It should be somewhere else.


So, yeah.

And then from the coach's perspective, you gotta, hopefully you recognize that the kid needs a win needs to win.

This is what we're saying.


What is the difference between AAA and AAA hockey? ›

Each age division is subdivided into skill levels: A, AA, and AAA, with single-A being the lowest and triple-A the highest levels. Level classifications are not changed from the previous system.

What does it take to play AAA hockey? ›

At its most basic level or age group, AAA hockey is considered the highest level of hockey and the equivalent of AA hockey. If a 16-year-old player is proficient at the Midget Minor level, he or she would qualify for the highest competition level as an AAA player.

Is Junior B better than AAA? ›

AAA hockey is generally considered to be a higher level of competition than junior ice hockey. This is because AAA hockey teams are typically made up of the best players from a particular region, while junior ice hockey teams may include players from a wider area.

Should my son play travel hockey? ›

If your child is looking for a way to improve their skills, travel hockey might be the right thing to do. Aside from placing them among the better players, it offers much more practice time than they'd get from their high school or house league.

Can you make the NHL without playing AAA? ›

AAA hockey is the highest level of minor hockey. You don't HAVE to play AAA to make the NHL, but playing at the AAA level certainly does help in development.

Is elite higher than AAA hockey? ›

Using the FED further, as an example, they have an Elite level and a Tier 1 level. The "Elite" level is the top rung (in that league). What they call "Tier 1" -- which they used to call "AAA" -- is more akin to a high level rec or town league hockey...but marketed as something much greater.

How hard is it to make a AAA game? ›

AAA game development process requires an average of 100 professionals if the work is done from scratch.

How many years does it take to make a AAA game? ›

But for games in the AAA category, it's a good assumption to say that they take something between 3 to 5 years to develop.

How hard is it to play d3 hockey? ›

It's not as hard to play NCAA Division 3 as it is to play NCAA Division 1 hockey, but it's certainly no cake walk to make a roster either. Most team rosters are filled with strong players who've been hand recruited to attend their school to play sports (there's occasionally one walk-on spot per team).

Why do people play junior hockey? ›

In conclusion, playing junior hockey can provide aspiring hockey players with numerous benefits, including the opportunity to continue developing their skills, gain exposure to professional scouts, travel and experience new places, and potentially save money on their path to playing at the collegiate level.

Can you play junior hockey and go to college? ›

There are some, very few, players that go directly from high school to the college hockey ranks. However, most players stay in the juniors' program until they age out at 20 years old and then attend college. Some players go on to play NCAA D1 and others NCAA DIII.

Is OHL the same as Junior A? ›

The OHL traces its history of Junior A hockey back to 1933 with the partition of Junior A and B.

What age do kids get scouted hockey? ›

At what age do hockey players get scouted? The hockey scouting process can begin as early as 8th grade, which is why the NCAA established new recruiting rules the prohibit Division 1 and 2 college coaches from contacting college hockey recruits until their sophomore year of high school.

What age do most kids quit hockey? ›

In the United States, about 70% of kids quit playing ice hockey by the time they are 13 years old. The main reason why kids quit playing ice hockey is because they are not having fun anymore.

Is 11 years old too late to start hockey? ›

And while many kids start hockey at ages 5-9, older kids can and should join whenever they become interested.

What percentage of youth hockey players make it to the NHL? ›

When it comes to boys who play hockey, the chances are about 1-in-1,000 of playing one NHL game. But even when you get to the elite levels such as major junior hockey, the odds are still against you. The fact is that players who play at that level basically have less than a 1-in-5 chance to play a game in the NHL.

What percent of hockey players make it to the NHL? ›

But what are the odds of actually making it to the NHL? While there is no definitive answer, the general consensus is that less than one percent of junior hockey players will eventually make it to the NHL.

Is Tier 3 junior hockey worth it? ›

In my opinion yes, just because you play Tier Three Hockey does not mean you're not any good. Some players just want to play competitive hockey for a few more years and there is nothing wrong with it at all.

Is 3 stars or 1 star better in hockey? ›

The three stars (French: trois étoiles) in ice hockey are the three best players in a game as chosen by a third party, with the first star considered the best of the three players, akin to the player of the match in other sports.

How long can you play junior hockey? ›

Players can play until they are 20 years old. As long as they do not turn 21 prior to the start of the season, you're still eligible for the CHL, or Major Junior.

How much does it cost to play Tier 3 junior hockey? ›

Prices in the $8000 and up range are pricing some players out of being able to play Tier 3.

Is it possible to make a AAA game by yourself? ›

From the definition alone, it is quite clear that creating an AAA game by yourself is nearly impossible. These games are frequently quite expensive, which is a major factor why it is nearly impossible for an individual to create one. We will consider why AAA games are developed and why they are so expensive to make.

What is the typical budget for AAA games? ›

Generally, AAA games cost several million dollars to develop and can exceed tens of millions of dollars. The budget for AAA games development begins with pre-production, which involves tasks such as conceptualization, planning, and so on. Pre-production can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Why are AAA games so demanding? ›

This is because AAA titles are significant releases that typically require months, if not years, of work to produce the end product and they can go through multiple changes during the development process.

How many people work on the average AAA game? ›

Team size: The production teams for AAA title video games are huge, with at least 50 to 100 employees working on it. For instance, at Ubisoft, AAA game development involved 400 to 600 staff for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries.

What qualifies as a AAA game? ›

The term "AAA Games" is a classification used within the video gaming industry to signify high-budget, high-profile games that are typically produced and distributed by large, well-known publishers. These games often rank as “blockbusters” due to their extreme popularity.

Why do AAA games cost so much to develop? ›

For every character, there are teams of concept artists, production designers, modelers, animators, rigging artists and the lot. Then we go to programming. AAA games use a lot of manpower making sure everything goes right, the game plays well, the game looks good, the game runs smoothly and bugs don't happen.

Is hockey the hardest team sport? ›

Hockey is often considered one of the hardest sports in the world due to a number of factors. One of the most significant is the speed and physicality of the game. Players skate at high speeds and are constantly in motion, making it difficult to maintain control of the puck and navigate the ice.

Are hockey hits 17% harder than football? ›

A study conducted on hockey players found that hockey hits are 17% harder than NFL hits. In terms of injuries, the most common sports were football (5.11 per 1,000 players), basketball (12.76), and soccer (2.32).

Why is D3 better than D2 sports? ›

Division III: A well-rounded college experience

If you want to focus on academics as much as your sport, a D3 program is your best bet. This doesn't mean you don't train or practice. But it's less demanding and intense than it would be at a D1 or D2 school. Academics are just as important as athletics in a D3 school.

Do you make money in junior hockey? ›

How much does a Junior Hockey make? As of Jun 19, 2023, the average annual pay for a Junior Hockey in the United States is $50,242 a year.

What do junior hockey scouts look for? ›

When scouting hockey players, scouts look for a variety of qualities. They want to see players who are fast, have good puck-handling skills, and are able to make good decisions on the ice. They also look for players who are physically strong and have the ability to play a physical game.

Where do hockey players go after juniors? ›

For most junior hockey players, the next step in the game, and development, is college hockey.

What Junior league produces the most NHL players? ›

Major junior hockey in Canada continues to lead the way, worldwide, in terms of the number of players selected yearly at the NHL draft. The CHL has three leagues under its umbrella. The Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Is there fighting in junior hockey? ›

Rules of the NHL, the North American junior leagues, and other North American professional minor leagues punish fighting with a five-minute major penalty. What separates these leagues from other major North American sports leagues is that they do not eject players simply for participating in a fight.

Is junior hockey worth it? ›

For many young players, the answer is yes. Junior hockey provides an opportunity to develop one's skills and compete at a high level, all while being scouted by NHL teams. It can be a tough road, but for those who are dedicated and talented enough, junior hockey can lead to a successful career in the NHL.

Is OHL or USHL better? ›

The USHL has retained the number one ranking for the 2021-2022 season. Simply put, the USHL is out producing every other league when developing NHL draft picks, NCAA players, and alumni who after playing NCAA go on to sign NHL free agent contracts. No other league is doing it better. The numbers are undeniable.

How many 20 year olds are on an OHL team? ›

Ontario Hockey League teams have the ability to carry three 20-year-old overage players each season.

Is AHL better than OHL? ›

The AHL delivers a much higher level of hockey, top to bottom of the roster, than the OHL and a large number of junior players never get a sniff at the pros, even a couple of tiers below the Dogs' level.

What does hockey IQ mean? ›

Hockey IQ is about skaters consistently making the right decisions. Teaching Hockey IQ starts with coaches allowing players to not be punished, reprimanded or corrected for not executing plays on the ice. We need to make sure our players are making the “correct” play on the ice regardless of execution.

How do I get my child noticed in hockey? ›

Building a resume with a ton of goals and assists certainly will get a player noticed and maybe even place him or her a step ahead of the competition when reaching out to a coach or scout. It's no different than those skilled plays that get a player's name circled when coaches see someone play in person.

Why 70% of kids quit sports by 13? ›

There are so many benefits of playing sports in childhood, including boosts in physical health and social and emotional skills. However, about 70 percent of kids stop playing sports by age 13, says a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports. The reason? “It's just not fun anymore.”

Is 14 too late to start ice hockey? ›

Kids that start hockey before they are physically and mentally ready are more likely to have a negative experience. It is never too late to start playing hockey. Players have joined hockey programs at 12-13 years old and still made varsity hockey teams.

Why do kids quit sports so early? ›

The main reasons kids quit sports are: It's not fun anymore. Pressure to perform...and injuries that can result from overtraining due to that pressure to perform. Their own perceptions of their own lack of competence at the sport.

How hard is it to pick up hockey? ›

While ice hockey can take a long time to master, the fundamentals can be learned in a few weeks. If you're starting out young, it'll take much longer to learn the basics. It could be a few weeks to a few months. However, you'll have a much better foundation than adults since your brain is more malleable.

Is 8th grade too late to start hockey? ›

It's NEVER too late to play hockey! Obviously you probably aren't going to develop into an NHLer if you start at 18, but there are plenty of beginner leagues where you can learn and develop at your own speed. As you improve, you'll find better and better leagues in which to play.

What age should boys start hockey? ›

The earliest age kids can begin playing organized hockey is five years old. For families that want players to learn the skills without being on a team, some programs are a starting point available.

What are the different levels of junior hockey? ›

Unlike Canada, The United States uses “Tiers” to discern competition level in it's Junior Hockey system. USA Hockey sanctions just one Tier 1 league, the USHL and 1 Tier 2 league, the NAHL in the United States. In Canada, there are multiple levels of Junior hockey including Major Junior, Junior A, B, C and even D.

What does AAA hockey player mean? ›

Also known as "Tier 1 Hockey," AAA Hockey is the highest level of youth hockey in the United States. There are several AAA hockey leagues in the United States and Canada. Some are located in a small regions of North America while some leagues have teams located all over the United States.

How many levels of hockey are there? ›

Players who have participated in major junior ice hockey or any professional hockey league are considered ineligible to play in the NCAA. The NCAA currently has three divisions for ice hockey, Division I, Division II and Division III.

How do I get to USHL? ›

Players must be invited to the USHL Combines by the USHL Player Development staff. The USHL Combine consists of on-ice skill work and games as well as off-ice physical and cognitive testing. The USHL Draft consists of two phases.

Do you have to pay to play in the NAHL? ›

Do players have to pay-to-play in the NAHL? No. As the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league, players do not pay to play in the NAHL.

What does NAHL stand for in hockey? ›

About the NAHL | North American Hockey League | NAHL.

Is AA better than a hockey? ›

USA Hockey designates four skill levels: Tier 1: The highest level of competition, also called "AAA", following the Canadian system. Tier 2: also called "AA" or "A". Tier 3: may also be called "A", the lowest level of competitive hockey.

What is A3 hockey? ›

A3 Hockey offers various development programs for youth hockey players. Our objective is to assist each player in building a solid foundation and understanding of the game. We accomplish this by developing their individual skills, hockey sense, and teaching the essential concepts of teamwork and camaraderie.

What does LL mean in hockey? ›

After both the B and C teams are selected, all remaining players will play on a Local League (LL) team. There are typically 2 or 3 LL teams in each age division.

What is Tier 1 hockey? ›

The Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (T1EHL), formerly Midwest Elite Hockey League, is located primarily in the Midwest United States and is the premier amateur youth hockey league in the United States.

What is a Tier 1 junior hockey team? ›

In the United States, the top level is Tier I, represented by the United States Hockey League. Tier II is represented by the North American Hockey League. There are several Tier III and independently sanctioned leagues throughout the country.

What percentage of NHL is American? ›

What percentage of the NHL players are American? Players born in America makeup 24.8% of the players in the NHL during the 2019-2020. That accounts for 157 players from American origin playing in the NHL, putting them as the second highest group behind Canada (42.7%) and ahead of Sweden (12%).

Are there more American or Canadian NHL teams? ›

National Hockey League
Current season, competition or edition: 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs
CommissionerGary Bettman
No. of teams32
CountriesCanada (7 teams) United States (25 teams)
Headquarters1185 6th Avenue, New York City, New York, U.S.
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