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The Death Pool – Two More Go Down

Over expansion of Tier III hockey is a problem, and that problem exists for new teams as well as teams that are well established. The turf war that exists between leagues has been going on since before the stupid “Tier” system was brought into existence by USA Hockey.

Now, simply through over expansion, there are not enough players in the market to fill pay to play team rosters. Demand has once again surpassed supply, and many teams throughout North America, in multiple leagues are now on the “Death Watch”.

The New Jersey Titans U-19 program has now gone down directly do to over expansion on the East Coast of pay to play programs. While this in itself was to be a new program, within a quality organization, the project had to be shelved due to low numbers.

The Pittsburgh Vengeance Tier III program is the second victim or over expansion on the East Coast. A well run program for years, producing high level players moving on to Tier II and NCAA programs regularly, will not take the ice this season.

These are not the only two programs having problems.

From coast to coast, we have reports of teams with low roster numbers. All the while tuition and other expenses have quickly risen.

Compounding the issue, more players than ever are simply quitting the game due to financial pressures that everyone is experiencing. Twelve thousand in tuition for Tier III hockey or put that money toward education? These are the decisions a lot of families are having to make now.

It’s mid August, and we have reports of a roughly eighteen teams with low roster numbers that if the season started today, could not put a competitive team on the ice. Out of those eighteen we expect at least half will fold in the coming weeks if not more.

In years past we would have reminded people to keep an eye on protected lists coming out through USA Hockey, however those lists are now simply a waste of time when there is only one Tier III league in USA Hockey now. More than ever, players and parents are going to have to be very careful where they spend their money.

As players begin to show up to camp and walk into dressing rooms with five goalies and little else, its going to get a lot crazier before it gets better.

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