High School Hockey’s Decline

I have lived in the town of Franklin for about 19 years now, and there has been plenty of tradition in this town. Traditions like the Italian festival called the Feast of St Rocco or the Fourth of July parade. One of the best traditions in the town of Franklin revolved around high school sports. High school sports in Franklin reigned supreme for years, with teams that were dominant in their division and their conference. Now this post isn’t a knock on Franklin hockey, but high school hockey in general. High school hockey for years was one of the best things out there, but now well it’s a saturated affair.

Today’s high school game isn’t what it used to be. I have been out of high school for 4 years now, and have to say the years of amazing games are gone. I have watched games from all around, not just the Bay State, but from Rhode Island and other surrounding states. The game is simply in a decline, and to me there are a couple reasons why the game has declined. One is the new form of Junior/Prep level of hockey. And in my opinion the other reason is parental greed.

My biggest gripe is with the junior/prep level game, it truly takes some of these kids that are high school freshman and give them false hope. These freshmen who can develop with a proper JV program and perform at a high varsity level are ruined. They are told by some of these programs that they’ll have what it takes to move up, but in all actuality will play two or three years of meaningless and scout-less games to just go to a four year school who didn’t even give them a look. These kids will play for some team and do nothing for a few years, while they could have played for their town and just played with pride.

The other big one has to be with parental greed in my opinion. I truly think parents will shell out thousands and thousands of dollars so their kid can “get the leg up” on these kids playing the high school game. These are the parents who hold the hope that they’re kid is going to the NHL, when they are actually 19 years old and still playing junior C. Newsflash mom and pop, 80% of these kids are going to end up at some state school and not playing hockey. Every parent wants what is best for their kid, but if it’s having their kid play in a league where it’s the same as a high school game, then that’s just outright dumb.

A thing I didn’t mention is this. I think there is a major problem with today’s generation. Maybe it’s the old man in me saying this but I really think there is a lack of dedication. Today’s generation of high school players think they’re entitled to ice time, sorry guys if you’re not good enough you aren’t getting on the ice. Working hard and being dedicated gets you on the ice (unless you’re coach is an idiot).

I remember the early 2000s of high school hockey games in my town. As a fifth grader, I looked up to the guys who played in these games. Those guys were dedicated and did whatever it meant to win a hockey game. They didn’t leave their town to go play for some junior team or a prep school. These guys didn’t let their parents get in the way either. They went out, played the body and won hockey games; I hope today’s generation of players could see those games today. They could really learn something.

Hopefully something changes soon, if not, then the intensity of high school hockey could be gone.

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