XXHigh School hockey in our country is essentially split into three groups for purposes of participation. Currently there are 1,988 high school teams (30,000 players) registered with USA Hockey, and another 1,000 teams (20,000 players) affiliated with educational entities (local school districts and the National High School Federation). The third group is composed of those who participate in both programs.
XXTo complicate the issue even further, high school-aged players can opt to play in USA Hockey age-classes: Bantams, Midgets, Juniors, and/or High School hockey, and in some cases several levels at the same time. In many areas, dual participation is allowed either concurrently during the regular season or by "split seasons" (before and after the regular season).
XXUSA Hockey districts vary in their focus with some promoting Midgets or Juniors as their top programs while other areas use high school hockey as a vehicle for their best players to progress. Some USA Hockey affiliates direct the high school programs while others are directed by school-related governing bodies such as the National High School Federation or the local school district.
XXIt is! There are players moving in every direction.
XXThe USA Hockey High School Section is composed of one representative from each of the 11 USA Hockey districts and a chairperson who represents the section at the USA Hockey Board of Directors meetings. The mission of the section is to improve and promote the sport of high school hockey in the United States.
XXThe section recognizes that both the USA Hockey-affiliated and the National High School Federation-affiliated teams conduct high-quality programs, and recommends that a common ground be pursued between the two entities in an effort to support and enhance the opportunities available to all participants.
XXThere needs to be a united effort by both entities, regardless of governance issues, toward providing an enjoyable, challenging, and rewarding experience in hockey based on each participant's level of interest and aspiration.
XXBoth groups have much to offer. With a united effort, needless and counter-productive conflicts can be avoided. Certainly everyone involved, regardless of affiliation, is advocating what they think is in the participants' best interests. This being the case, it becomes simply a matter of discussion, education and a united focus. Flexibility and a genuine desire for providing the best possible experience for each player should be the goal. By combining the strengths of both groups, it can only lead toward enhancing the overall quality of high school hockey in our country and creating an even better experience for its participants.
XXAnd isn't that what it's all about anyway?
6 AMERICAN HOCKEY MAGAZINE