Sports encourage people to work as teams and be competitive, and hockey is no exception. Just like any other sport, hockey is broken down into a number of leagues based on age and talent. AAA Hockey is the most competitive level of North American hockey. It's for youth ages 18 and under and the levels are broken down by birth year, which is a standardized system in AAA Hockey. In order, the age levels are Mite, Squirt, Pee-Wee, Bantam, and Midget. A player will spend two years at each age level.
Not only is AAA Hockey the most competitive level of hockey, but it's also the stepping stone to playing for Junior A or College teams. For this reason, the dedication that is involved in AAA Hockey comes from the players, the parents of the players, and the coaches.
To get started playing AAA Hockey, a player must have a good background in the sport and some natural talent. Tryouts are strenuous and last one week. Anyone can try out, but only the top players will make the team. The coach, the assistants and the hockey director will choose the players for their AAA Hockey team. To build the best teams, there are no geographical restrictions. This allows AAA Hockey teams to recruit from anywhere in the world.
Once accepted onto a AAA Hockey team, time is not the only commitment. AAA Hockey is an expensive sport, and most families find themselves shelling out about $12,000 to $15,000 a year, which includes about $7,000 in fees; most of the rest is travel expenses.
AAA Hockey players play around 65-85 games each season, with more than half being away games. Away games can be played anywhere in the country and parents are responsible for the travel costs. In addition, a lot of equipment is needed when playing hockey to keep the player safe. Just the basic equipment a AAA Hockey player would need includes skates, a helmet, hockey sticks, gloves, elbow and shoulder pads, and shin guards. This basic equipment costs around $1,400.
After a long season, AAA Hockey teams have a chance to compete for the Championship. If won, the team can go on to compete for Regionals and Nationals.
Hockey is a competitive sport by nature and has gained a lot of popularity in the U.S. over the past couple of decades. Having the opportunity to play AAA Hockey is not only an honor, but is also a stepping stone to playing for College and NHL teams in the future.