Tier 3 is about to have an expansion explosion like we have not had in the last five years or more. No less than twenty new pay to play expansion teams are planned across the United States alone.
Yes. No less than twenty new pay to play teams in the United States will be out competing for players and those tuition dollars.
What does this mean? The easy answer is that it means players need to be more careful than ever when deciding on Tier 3 options, and that there are so many Tier 3 options now, some of them are bound to fail or not even get off the ground and play a game.
Not only will some of these Tier 3 teams fail, but they are likely to bring down some existing Tier 3 teams as well. Yes, in the Tier 3 game, safety is not found in numbers but in the lack of numbers.
So on top of the more than 200 pay to play roster spots that went unfilled last season, new and mostly inexperienced operators will be looking to fill roughly 500 more roster spots.
As players begin their junior hockey journey, this year it will be more important than every before to be armed with information on which teams offer real opportunity. Roster spots will be available everywhere, opportunity will not come with every roster spot.
Now is the time to have a plan. If the USHL, NCDC and NAHL do not work out for you, having the right Tier 3 backup plan will be very important.
What is the right Tier 3 backup plan? One that is negotiated to be affordable and offer the greatest amenities possible. One that does not have excessive travel for away games, or extra fee’s that are hidden. One that offers great development coaching, and an advancement plan that works within your own development and advancement plan.
What does the wrong Tier 3 program look like? Inexperience, ineptitude, excessive travel, extra fee’s for extra services and a whole host of other items most parents and players embarking on junior hockey do not even know about.
There are going to be more pitfalls out there this year than in the last five to seven years. More opportunities to make the wrong decision without accurate information. It is not just about the money you will spend for what you receive, it is about a whole year of your limited junior hockey career.
Tier 3 hockey, in the right circumstance, can be a great opportunity to prepare for Tier 2. Choosing the right Tier 3 option for you is not something that is easily done. Not only is it a large financial decision, but it comes with a tremendous commitment to development from the club and the player. Not all clubs are equal, some are far better than others when moving players on.
Proof of development is determined on a team by team basis, not league by league. Just because one “league” may move a lot of players on, does not mean one organization in that league is equal to the top organizations who are moving the majority of players.
Do not be sold on propaganda. Proof is available, and if there is no proof, it simply doesn’t exist. If the proof shows one team simply doesn’t move players up, then why is that pattern going to change all of a sudden this year? If the pattern shows one team is never competitive, why is that going to change this year? If one team shows they sign more players than necessary to earn more money, how is it that pattern will change this year?
Hard questions need to be asked. A lot of information needs to be obtained. While this is a team game, the development game is an individual one. The advancement game is an individual one.
Lets make the most of each year, and make the right choices for you. Your opportunity is time, and time is limited.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser