Interesting perspective here from south of the border regarding development of the new U15 showcase program.
The American program parallels the development of the new E15 Academy league that has formed in BC and Alberta this fall.
The writer notes that the league is particularly advantageous for late birthday 15 year olds, a group which has been hard pressed to remain in a Triple A stream in traditional hockey brackets.
We note here that in midget hockey in Canada, the gap between a first year and a final year player can be as much as three full years.
Also interesting to note that of the 20 players just announced for the BC Hockey U16 team, 9 were born in the first quarter, 7 in the second quarter, 4 were born in the first two months of the third quarter and none in the last four months of the year.
Here’s the US post:
The Tier 1 Elite Hockey League held the first of seven U15 & U16 team showcases on September 13-15 at the Taylor Ice Arena (Michigan). For the last two years USA Hockey has been discussing the advantages of having a U15 division, and after watching this weekend we couldn’t agree more.
Up until this time in the player’s career they have played in a two year system, minor or major. Players who move from U14 to a U16 program are now competing for a position on a team with players who are a year older and many have just completed a year at playing at the higher level. Many of the players who do not advance to the U16 level are the late birth date players who need the extra time to develop. Very few of the players who are not chosen at this time ever return to Tier 1 hockey. This would allow 20 players per organization to continue under the USA banner and to play and be instructed at the highest level for youth players.
We believe this is a good idea and fits right in with age appropriate hockey, and high performance training. The 12 teams in this start up division are the Colorado Rampage, L A Kings, Colorado Thunderbirds, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars, TPH Thunder, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals, Belle Tire, TeamComcast, Philadelphia Flyers, Cleveland Barons, and the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Next season we expect this division will grow!
About Tier 1 Elite Hockey League
Abut Tier 1 Elite Hockey League is the Nation’s premier amateur hockey league featuring 20 organizations stretching from coast to coast. With significant visibility, top level talent, and elite coaching often coming from the upper levels of professional hockey, the Tier 1 Elite League boasts the ability to move young, talented players to organizations such as Major Junior, Tier I Jr Hockey, NCAA Hockey, NHL, and other professional leagues.
The T1EHL showcase tournaments and games are heavily attended by scouts from the USHL, NCAA schools, and the OHL due to the convenience of seeing many top players in one game or weekend. This has led to a significant percentage of Tier 1 players moving on, making the league one of the most respected in the United States for amatuer hockey.