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14U/16U Q-and-A: Where's the best place to play?

03/14/2018, 3:30pm MDT
By Kenny Rausch

Q: Tryouts are around the corner. If my son doesn’t make the Tier I team he is trying out for, should he seek another Tier I team or play Tier II?

A: This is a great question and one that I get a lot at this age. My answer is pretty simple. He should play at the level he’s at and not be in a rush in his development. What I mean by that is, he should play on a team where he is going to get equal ice time, both 5-on-5 and special teams. That’s more important than whether it’s designated as Tier I or Tier II.

Why rush to a level where he might not get equal playing time or see power-play or penalty-kill minutes because the coach perceives him to be one of the “lower-end” players? At this critical age of development, playing is more important than winning. Playing time is also more important than the Tier I or Tier II designation. Pick the best development situation for him and maybe the following year, he can make the jump to a higher level. Watch the clip below from Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, echoing these sentiments.

Babcock on why development shouldn't be rushed

The author, Kenny Rausch, began his coaching career in 1996 with Boston University, his alma mater. As a player, he earned Beanpot Tournament MVP honors and was named a Hockey East Distinguished Scholar.

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