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More Pay To Play Expansion? – Diluting The Definition And Experience Of Junior Hockey

Would any of you take a gallon of water and add it to a gallon of gas and then pour that mixture into your new car and expect it to run properly?  Attempting this would likely cause your car to run improperly at best and could more likely cause serious damage.

Dilute

tr.v. di·lut·ed, di·lut·ing, di·lutes

1. To make thinner or less concentrated by adding a liquid such as water.
2. To lessen the force, strength, purity, or brilliance of, especially by admixture.
3. To decrease the value of (shares of stock) by increasing the total number of shares.
adj.
 Weakened; diluted.
The 2013-2014 season saw more than a dozen teams in both USA Hockey and AAU leagues not be able to fill a roster until after the Holiday break or not at all.  Some teams at the pay to play level lost excessive amounts of money due to not being able to fill their roster, not to mention not being competitive within their leagues.
Already we are hearing of teams at the pay to play level who were previously announced to take the ice for the 2014-2015 season not being able to find even a base of players to build around and folding up their tents in June or July.  Why then would anyone think that expansion in July or August at the pay to play level resembles anything remotely close to being responsible to their league members and the people who are signing up to own these teams?
The experience of playing junior hockey at any level was never designed or developed for every player who wants to or can afford to play to have that opportunity.  The experience of junior hockey was never designed or developed for players to have the opportunity who have not achieved significant accomplishments at lower levels of hockey while developing their skills.
Junior hockey was never intended to be an opportunity for players to continue playing when they can not make AAA, AA, or other high caliber youth hockey teams.  Pay to play hockey was never designed or developed for players who can not make good high school programs.
Junior hockey is, was, and always should be an elevation of play.  It was and should have always been an exclusive opportunity to develop the best players possible.
Junior hockey is not a “right” to the self entitled teenagers today.  Junior hockey is not for those parents who can afford to either buy a team or pay more than a better player in order to secure a roster spot.
Todays pay to play, specifically Tier III teams are creating unrealistic expectations for players who do not deserve to be on a roster.  The belief by some of these players making these diluted rosters is that they are actually better than they really are.  They come away believing that they should continue to climb the ladder to higher levels of play when they should have never gotten their hands on the first rung of the ladder to begin with.
Yet we live in a free market economy.
Parents will continue to placate their “I need it now”, self entitled, immediate gratification needing children.
Junior hockey is not the internet.  You can not purchase additional speed, and you can not move from here to there simply by being on line.
When you visit a physician you know that physician has received the years of education and training in order to be able to call himself a Doctor.  When you meet with an attorney, you know they have had the education and like the physician have taken the appropriate tests in order to even have a practice.
Why would you even begin to think that any player is entitled to play junior hockey without having the education or testing required to compete at that level?  You cant simply purchase a medical or legal degree.
It is time that USA Hockey and AAU find some self control and stop the expansion and dilution of junior hockey.  It is time for people to stop thinking that it is a right to have the opportunity to play junior hockey at any level.  It is time for league administrators to open their eyes to the damage they are doing to the game for the sake of the almighty dollar.
What do you say to the player who says; “I was good enough to player Tier III, why am I not playing Tier II or NCAA hockey?”.  Creating false hope and unrealistic dreams is about as responsible as telling a terminally ill patient that you found a cure while shopping in a Sears lawn and garden center.
What you should say to many of them is that you may have been good enough to fill a roster spot on a team that needed your money to make their budget, but you were never going to get an opportunity at higher levels.
Quantity almost never equates to quality and right now there is just too much pay to play hockey.
Joe Hughes

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