U-16 programs are making a difference. Some might believe that league’s and team’s popping up all over the hockey world in this region are “watering down” the talent pool. Clearly those people don’t understand the game or the process.
The one and only negative effect that “Minor Midget” programs is having is on some high school programs, which is unfortunate, but that’s the only and I mean only negative effect of having a developmental league.
Obviously, U-16 programs are all about developing players and giving them an extra year of growth. It’s not about wins and losses, it’s all about development.
Sadly, some people around the hockey world will never darken the door when it comes to watching “Minor Midget” games.
As a scout if you’re not watching these games throughout the season you’re not doing your job.
“Oh those players are long-shots to make it.”
That take is horrendous.
There’s countless stories out there with regards to late-bloomers excelling after a year of “Minor Midget”.
Obviously, some hockey minds disregard those stories and consider them all one-offs.
Players playing at the U-16 level shouldn’t be focused on the draft or stats or numbers, they should be focused on the process.
Just today while talking with parents of not one, but two QMJHL players, they said a quote that is exceptional when it comes to potential late bloomers or players playing at this level.
“You have to run your own race.”
Countless young players are running their own races at the U-16 level in hopes of developing and parlaying that into an opportunity at a higher level the following year.
All these young players need is an opportunity to get more reps, touches or game action.
U-16 action might not be as sharpe or crisp, the players still have some gaps in their games, but the caliber of hockey is still very high and deserves the attention of scouts and QMJHL and MHL organizations.
You see this level of hockey is all about making solid projections, not rolling the dice or trying to find diamonds in the rough. Throw the draft percentages out the window, these players need some extra time to develop, they need some extra time to grow. Let’s hope the “hockey minds” understand the process and not jump to conclusions or overlook the U-16 circuits around this region.
U-16 is good hockey, there are good players playing at that level and it’s my hope scouts and hockey influencers disregard all the bull shit and perception that comes with this level and understand the impact and importance that it plays in the growth and development of the players and the caliber of hockey in this region.
U-16 programs are making a difference, don’t believe me, go watch a game, you won’t be disappointed.
See you at the rink,