Major Midget Still The Best Option For Most 16-Year-Olds

Major Midget Still The Best Option For Most 16-Year-Olds

Decision time. You’re offered a spot with a Junior C team a short drive from your house, and you’re offered a spot with a Major Midget ‘AAA’ team an hour from your house.

What do you do?

The answer to this question depends on your hockey goals.

Can the Junior C team absolutely guarantee you’ll play? Or will you be buried down the lineup as they sign/ acquire veterans throughout the season? And looking at their roster, will you be playing with other skilled players? Or will you be one of the most skilled players?

Are you looking to stay active, and have fun for the next 5 years?

Or are you looking to continue to advance up the hockey ladder?

Junior C has had mixed results. Advancement of course happens for many, but the situation needs to fit, and as often as not, players starting in Junior C end up back in Junior C. There is nothing to complain about here, depending on your hockey goals, as Junior C is a wonderfully fun and competitive stream of hockey, where players will make friendships and memories worth a lifetime.

If advancement and age appropriate development among skilled players, in a faster league, are important to you as a hockey player, and you can ignore the ‘prestige’ of playing Junior as a 16-year-old, Major Midget ‘AAA’ is still the best option.

Of course, we’re only comparing Junior C here, as the players who grab Junior B or Junior A spots, obviously should go.

What are the noticeable benefits of Major Midget ‘AAA’. Here are a few:

  • Development – You are likely practicing more than most Junior C teams. Players on your team have played at a higher level their entire life, and the game is still focused more on skill, and speed. Certain Junior C teams can offer this, but can the league as a whole? Competition is solid in Major Midget from top to bottom.
  • Affiliation Opportunities – Want to affiliate up from a Junior C team to Junior B as a 16-year-old? You can’t. Forget it. You’ll play the Junior C season, and the Junior C season alone. Want to affiliate to Junior B, or even dip your toes into Junior C as a 16-year-old playing Major Midget? Go for it, you can get a handful of games or more and set the stage for the following season, which leads us to…
  • Advancement – Look at the stats. Sure we’re comparing one 16-year-old per team to a dozen, but more players advance from Major Midget to Junior B, Junior A, and above each year. Especially if the NCAA is a consideration. If the best 16-year-olds were in Junior C, we’d expect a higher ceiling than observed. Look at the data, it doesn’t lie.
  • Scouting – This is below the above three, because if you’re good, you’ll advance. But overall, Major Midget players are scouted more often than Junior C. Why would a scout travel to see two 16-year-olds when they could see 30? Add in tournaments, and playoff formats, and the opportunities to be spotted remain much higher.

As we said, the exceptions are there. Is anyone questioning Brett Brochu going into Dresden and playing almost every single minute all season on a winning team? Nope. Ross Krieger using Junior C to step into Junior B, then Junior A, and now University hockey? Nope. If the fit is right, the pathway works. But for most, the pathway doesn’t.

As you decide your team for next year, know your goals, know your pathways, know the organization and coach you’re agreeing to play for. Look up recent 16-year-olds who have advanced from the Junior C (because there are great Junior C programs out there who can make this happen) or AAA (because some AAA programs are better than others as well) program. And don’t get sucked in to the idea that you ‘must’ leave minor hockey to be successful.

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