As seen in USA Hockey Magazine
By Christie Casciano Burns
For people outside of youth hockey,
AAA is the number you call when your car breaks down. AA puts
you on a twelve step program to sobriety. A is the grade you want on your
child’s report card. But those letters have a whole different meaning to hockey
USA Hockey designates certain leagues throughout the country to create separate levels of play. Tier 1or
AAA offers the highest level of competition with between 60 and 90
games per season!
AAA hockey can be a great environment to play
and develop for players who want that challenge. Scouts and recruiters will pay
the most attention to the AAA level because, by definition, that’s where they will find the
largest pool of talented players,” according to Deputy Executive Director of
College Hockey Inc, Nate Ewell.
Aaron Haider’s son Ethan plays goalie for the
AAA 2001 Minnesota Blades and says, “It has
helped him become the goalie he is today.” Diane
Firmani made her son wait until he could drive before letting him join a AAA team because of the hour-and- a-half long
drive from Wasilla to , and up to $7,000 in costs and fees. Anchorage
The intensity of
AAA hockey can build players and families, but it can also break them
if they’re not careful. “It’s important that families continue to check
themselves each season to make sure they are participating in AAA hockey for the right reasons,” said Jim
Sarosy, chief operating officer for the Syracuse Crunch (AHL). Ewell also
points out, constantly trying to “play up” at the highest level can sometimes
hurt if a player doesn’t get enough ice time.
“Honestly, it doesn’t make a particle of difference until Midgets,” said Firmani. “At the young levels, it’s merely bragging rights for parents and instant martyrdom. Some parents have refinanced their houses for
Move up the levels – or don’t -- for the right reasons: for your child, not your ego or your frustrated dreams of professional glory.
And keep in mind
NHL.com staff writer Mike Morreale’s assessment of hockey alphabet
soup, “If you’re good enough, you will be found whether it’s A, AA or AAA. Players aren’t defined by a letter. They