Very few players from any local youth hockey age group will play at the Provincial Junior A or Division III level, let alone at the Tier I Junior A or Division I level. The same rule applies to the small percentage that does, and only a small percentage of those players will ever play professionally. The same rule applies to Professional Hockey players trying to make it to the NHL, as there are many “professional” leagues. Most junior and college players that choose to continue their hockey career travel to Europe to play in “Elite Leagues” as an alternative option, which is considered “Pro Hockey”. The reality is, “Elite” means the highest level in that region. There are some exceptional leagues, however not every league fits the profile of what most american spectators would normally view as a “professional” level league. That being said, it’s still a very high level of hockey with many talented players and coaches …and it’s a lot of fun to watch too! America has begun to adopt this methodology, one example is the Federal Hockey League. For more information on the Federal Hockey League, please visit FederalHockey.com. We recommend that any player wanting to continue their hockey career, consider leagues like this. They can be a big stepping stone in your hockey career, and provide a wonderful experience!
So how realistic is it that my child will play professionally? …not likely. So maybe lower your expectations a bit?! We’re not saying your son / daughter won’t be successful, we just want you to understand that success and the highest level of success are two very different things!
The purpose of youth hockey, or any other youth sport, is to prepare your children for adulthood. Social skills, teamwork, leadership, character, professionalism and work ethic are just some of the skills they will develop. Mainly, the point is to teach children that they need to be confident, hard working and accountable in order to achieve their goals. These children are NOT professional athletes. It’s important, as parents and coaches, we maintain perspective!