It was revealed to YHH last night that Minnetonka (and Prior Lake) have opted not to field AA and A teams next year at the PeeWee and Bantam level. Sources involved with Minnetonka fully expect Minnesota Hockey to reject their request for the AA and B designation for their top two PeeWee and Bantam teams. A source involved with MNH told YHH today that they full expect those “big” associations to comply.
In other related news, Wayzata is expected to field two evenly balanced PW AA teams next year.
Tony Says: Hey Minnetonka, this AA/A thing was invented for the 30 kids in your association (15 PW and 15 Bantam) that think they are A players. There are 10 or so associations out there who this was for, Minnetonka is one of them. To quote the disgruntled parent from Big Association X, “Little Johnny would be an A players in 90 percent of the associations out there….” Well, now is Little Johnny’s chance to shine. Taken at face value, the AA/A pilot will do a lot for the competitive balance of hockey statewide. But if the Skippers are allowed to play AA and B, the advantage swings heavily back in their favor at the B and C levels and potentially shift the balance back to the top.
Having nearly 100 kids at all three competitive levels (7 teams each), is more than enough talent to afford players ranked 16-30 a chance to play A level hockey in district and tournament play. When the regular season ends, these kids will have a legitimate shot at a Regional bid and subsequent State bid at the single A level. This move will also afford more kids in Minnetonka a chance at B1 hockey (not a bad thing) and teams they play in the metro with average participation numbers a better game at the B1, B2 and C levels.
And if that isn’t enough association with 30 percent fewer players are finding a way to field AA/A teams (Eden Prairie and Moorhead for sure).
I vacillate on Prior Lake. Part of me says, go AA/A. Both of your PeeWee teams won state and your Bantam A team was a perennial T10 team. The other part of me sees your PeeWee teams this year struggling enough to potentially hurt development. So you guys get a pass this year.
Best of luck to all of the associations as they choose their tournaments and the levels they will play this year. Remember, if you are a large association, Go Big or Go Home!