Why Midget AAA will never work in Ontario!

Midget AAA is level of hockey in Canada where most players who aren’t quite ready for Major Junior (the Canadian Hockey League) or can’t crack a Junior A or B line-up because teams are only allowed 4 spots for 16 year-olds. Under Hockey Canada ‘s current Canadian Development Model only 4 player 16 years of age are permitted to play Major Junior for each team, 2 for a Junior A or B team. This means that there is a limited number of spots available to develop players at the Junior level, it also reduces the talent pool of the Midget AAA, often taking the best player out as they progress to Junior. Thus what you have left are all the mediocre players and less talented players. The players who play Midget AAA are by no means at the end of the road in terms of their hockey careers, they simply need work a little bit harder.

For the purpose of this article we will look at Midget AAA in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. In a typical year of Minor Midget AAA hockey in the GTHL there are 12 teams that compete. At the completion of that year the Ontario Hockey League conducts a draft. All the top players are drafted and move on to Junior hockey, well in some form. However the following season in the Midget AAA there is another 12 teams. How can you fill the gaps of the talented Minor Midget AAA players? With Minor Midget AA player or Midget AA players! You may be saying what about the second year Midget AAA players? Lets face it, if they have developed and are any good they are moving onto Junior hockey in some form. The end result is the talent diluted Midget AAA.

Not to mention the fact that in Ontario there is 53 Junior A team competing in 3 leagues with Junior B having 26 teams in 3 leagues, the market is saturated, to say the least. If Hockey Canada want s to make Midget AAA its primary development league it should restrict Junior hockey to 17 to 20 year olds of possibly extend it to 21 year olds. Additionally they should reduce the number of Junior teams, if each team were to sign four –sixteen year-olds as permitted by the CDM in Ontario that means that 80 sixteen year-olds have been taken from the Midget AAA talent pool.

Not only is the talent pool diluted, but the scouts aren’t going to come and watch it. If you were a scout and needed see as much talent as you could. Would you watch a Junior game or Midget AAA game? I would have to say that I would go to watch the Junior game. There is a better mix of players, including those players who have worked hard to develop. Additionally there are those diamonds in the rough, that were just slow at developing.

It almost seems that the Hockey Canada wants to control the flow of players out of minor hockey. Could this be a money thing? Possibly, by limiting the number of players allowed to leave the minor hockey stream they create an artificial demand for minor hockey. By creating such a demand the owners of organizations who charge registration, end up making money. As a member of one of the newly formed rebel leagues stated, your going to pay to play in my league, why not a least have a stall and a dressing room to call home, rather than getting charged admission to go to your own games. So the CDM which was created to promote developing in Canada and its member organizations is actually driving players away to NCAA and other opportunities.

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28 Comments

  1. It is a sad fact. My son missed his AAA Minor Midget year due to two knee surgeries in the last twelve months. He has been off he ice since last June. He has just now ( July ’07) been given the go ahead to skate. He has been training hard in the gym, and is looking good on his skates.

    Where does this missed year leave him? No scouts saw him in his Minor Midget year. He has not been able to skate for any tier 2 teams as of yet, and probably would not be ready to skate to his full potential for another several weeks. He missed spring tryouts for a midget team. Has a year of injury as a 15 year old ruined his chances of playing at an elite level? Seems it may be so. Midget does not attract attract a lot of attention. I am sure he will get picked up by a team needing a player this season ( if they have an import spot) but where does he go from there? midget age players should be playing midget. It’s that simple.

    • Don’t worry, if he is a good enough player, they will find him. There are many OHL players who were never drafted and went on to great careers. Tanner Pearson is one that immediately comes to mind. Sometimes being drafted is not a good thing because, unless he is a top end player, he will be stuck to one team. If he is undrafted, he can get his game back in one full year of Midget AAA then go as a walk on to any OHL, Junior A, or Junior B team looking for quality players.

  2. Well this is all new to me; my son is 15 and has been selected to play on a Major Midget AAA team (has 3 age groups playing) in Northern Ontario – I am not sure what this means nor how to proceed to promote his future endeavers in hockey.

    Do I leave him play in the hopes that someone will view him and enquire or do I find an agent for him? So many different views on this subject and I just want him to be given what ever opportunitiies are available.

    Your suggestion are appreciated as I am not sure what to do next.

  3. Interesting argument, you could say the same thing for the CHL. The top players are being drafted and playing in the NHL, leaving a diluted CHL. Who replaced Sidney Crosby when he went up? Surely not a player of the same calibre.

    “If you were a scout and needed see as much talent as you could. Would you watch a Junior game or Midget AAA game?”

    Well that depends on what level you are scouting for. If you are a Junior scout, you are going to watch Midget hockey. If are an NHL scout, then you are ridiculous to watch midget hockey. No player has ever made the jump from midget to the bigs. Kids playing and excelling at midget AAA will be noticed and will move on to the next level. If they excel at the next level, they will again be noticed and have the opportunity to move on.

    I agree that by forcing midget aged kids to play midget hockey will increase the calibre of the league. But it also takes the challenge out of the game for the elite kids. If a kid tears up the league as a 15 year old, why make him come back the next season? He has proven he is too good for the league and needs a bigger challenge. By allowing the best players to move up to the next level, you allow younger players to step in and improve their game, by playing in a faster game than their previous option.

  4. Hey, great post. I’d like to link to your site from my blog – http://www.hockeyscribe.wordpress.com if you don’t mind. I’d appreciate a link back as well.

    I cover youth hockey in michigan and your article, while somewhat different in Canada, is similar to our Tier I (AAA) vs. Tier II (A/AA) argument here in Michigan.

    Chris
    http://www.hockeyscribe.wordpress.com

  5. im 14, and im a goalie
    i want to go far in hockey, and i think i could, i just dont get any opportunities to get scouted, and it seems the gthl teams in my age group arnt looking for goalies.
    so im stuck playing select hockey, when i know i shuold play AA, or even AAA.
    last year, i had a point in the season, when i had 10 shutouts in 11 games, and it just seemed to easy. i got moved up to play midget, and it still seemed easy.
    aswell as playing starting goalie for my hiighschool hockey team,western tech, and making it to the finals, i still havnt found a way into gthl.
    if there is any advice, i would be more than happy to use it.

    John

  6. Hey, i’m a 14 year old playing in an Bantam A league (not a chosen team just whoever signs up gets in because it’s a small town) i know, and so do others, that i should be playing AA or AAA, but my family just doesn’t have the money.. how does someone with skills like me but no money get anywhere? i find it very unfair that because i don’t have the money i can’t play in a challenging league.. what are my options?

  7. for the 14 year old boy whose family does not have money, i know that is a barrier but AAA associations will allow for fundraising to offset your fees. travel costs and hotel costs can be split with another family. i think if you truly have the required talent, over and above other players trying out, your AAA association in Lambton will find a solution

  8. I’m in Minor Midget and i play AA hockey in the GTHL. I think I have the skill to go some where in Tier 1 or Tier 2 hockey. I’ve never seen any scouts looking at our games. I’ve only seen a scout once but i was out for that game due to an injury. They say you can be scouted playing AA. However, how can that be done when there’s never any scouts there? It seems that they’re only looking at the Minor Midget AAA teams. Is it fair that the players playing AA dont get as equal of a shot as the players playing AAA?

  9. You won`t see very many scouts looking at AA, if you do, it would be at a showcase or a tournament. Don`t be in a rush for Junior A, you can get many benefits playing for a Junior B team. Create a resume and video and promote yourself if you feel you should be at another level.

  10. Kids, If you want to be scouted and move further ahead in hockey. Forget how many scouts may or may not be in the stands. Forget whether you play Midget A, AA, AAA or junior or whether your in a select league … just put your skates on one foot at a time and work your rear end off … I don’t mean just on the ice, that means off ice conditioning and studying the game.

    Remember that no matter where you are playing or what level you are playing if you work hard enough and become good enough all players that can play will play at the level they so deserve.

    We all feel ripped off in life and you will feel that way many times in the future, but know that the harder you work the greater your success – no matter who may or may not be watching.

    (And to Chris – trust me their are many scouts at AA hockey in the GTHL – they just don’t always make it known that they are there)

  11. ontario has more midget aaa teams then any other province,they get a free pass to the telus cup,and infact won it last year! there is tons of midget aaa teams in ontario,they won the telus cup,clearly all the talent is there and the system works fine. to say midget AAA wont work or isint working is rediculous.

    • Agreed! Midget hockey is alive and well in Ontario and in Canada. I hate to say it, but it appears that most of the negative feedback about Midget hockey comes from those who want everything now and refuse to be patient. Developing as a hockey player takes time and each player will develop at their own pace. Playing at a level higher than your skill level can be just as damaging as playing at a level too easy. relax, enjoy the ride and give all you have always. You will succeed!

  12. Hey, I play Minor Midget AA hockey in the Ontario Alliance hockey league. I played AAA last year, but disliked the coach and did not think he was improving my hockey skills. So I moved down to AA. I believe, I am one of the top players in the league. I work had every game and practise. I am a good offensive player but also a great defensive forward. I backcheck hard. I am a team player. All i want is to have a chance for scouts to evaluate my game.

  13. I am a 17 year old goalie (born in 1993) playing select but I believe I can play much higher. I am trying out for AAA next season and I am wondering if there is a chance that I can make it somewhere. I always wanted to play in the NHL even a a little kid.

    • Why dont all you guys just tryout for the GMHL?

      Despite what you may hear, the hockey is good. There are Major junior scouts at games and even NHL scouts at games, The 2nd highest scorer in the league will be playing in the ECHL next year and is being looked at by the Ottawa sens. Hockey Canada has been leaving kids out in the dark for too long, kids playing AA with AAA talent due to financial reasons is just wrong. Come to the GMHL and develop.

      Greater metro junior A hockey league.

      GMHL.NET

  14. Lets see if the people in Toronto would stop thinking that your system is the best way of doing things maybe you would win some championships across the country.You learn from success. From what I understand the attitude out there is that after minor midget if you are not drafted into the OHL you are done. Look at the percentage of kids that make it into the NHL and tell me yours is going to make it, nevermind pro hockey period. Well chances are he’s not. Allow your kid to play the best hockey he is able to and to have fun. If a young man is only good enough to make it into tier II junior (OPJHL or other leagues) then fine maybe he will develop late. If he can manage to get a scholarship then awesome.A good friend of mine years ago played juvenile hockey, when he was 19 he went to an open tryout for a junior team. He was a late developer. He made the team and in his second year he won the scoring title in the sjhl. He parlayed that into a division II scholarship and went on from there to the east coast league. From there he won the scoring title in the east coast and played a little in the IHL. Sounds like a pretty good hockey career to me, and a good education. I know this sounds like a rant but come on people stop planning your retirement on your kids hockey success. He is probably not going to be able to support you because he makes millions in the NHL.

  15. I talked to a scout, i would not put too much stalk into any league, the rule of thumb is that if your good enough the scouts will find you, no matter what league you play in! this is true because a few years back, Altanta drafted a kid in first round from Jr B league, and last year Charlie Coyle got drafted in first round from EJHL some tier 11 league in states, last year a kid got drafted to OHL out of mIdget AA.

  16. I totally believe if it is meant to happen it will happen, you never know who is watching and when but it can be very discouraging on the way. Due to politics and living in a small town my son can’t even make it out of house league.

  17. I am in AA hockey in the omha ( going into midget minor) I am born in 1997 and i am playing midget minor ( the team consists of players born in 1996) when the age group that i should be playing is bantam major, do you think that because I am playing a year older than i should be, an ohl scout would look at me just as much as if i was playing my own age in AAA?

  18. getting drafted to the ohl means nothing.. claude giroux never got drafted and look where he is now

  19. There is one issue that has not even been touched in this conversation, i know where my son plays who is minor midget , favoritism also plays a big part as to where my son got to play this year, he has been approached by 2 triple aaa teams to try out in the begginning of the year but because our tryouts are after everone elses the league would not release us for the tryouts in other centers and he missed out. the other problem with this is that when I voiced my opinion on this issue my son was held accountable.
    Of course I cannot prove this so it is known as hear say but when you are clearly the best goalie on the ice at double aa tryouts and get looked over because the one goalie that got picked over my son whos dad just happens to be real good buddies with the coach. causes another problem for kids to reach higher levels and I am sure that I am not the only parent out there who has to deal with this

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  23. I’m a little confused about Midget AAA Hockey. I’m on a wiki page and it says that Midget AAA is U18. I’m currently 17 years old, and i’ve only skated about 2-3 times in my life. I’m a quick learner, so given 2-3 weeks of practice i should be gold (or atleast close to it). I am wondering if i should go to Midget AAA hockey, or should i wait for something else?

    Hockey has been something that i’ve watched, but now after a long wait, i am starting to want to play.

    • Having skated 2-3 times in your life plus 2-3 weeks of practice is totally enough you should totally try out for a Midget AAA team. Good luck! (Although, you’re probably not going to need it.)

  24. If you are going to further reduce or eliminate 16 year olds in Junior hockey then Major Midget needs to go to only 16 year old players. The 16 year old age group is discriminated against in Junior hockey and then challenged to beat out 17 year olds on M Midget teams. Also, the OHL draft should be moved to the Major Midget year.


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