After taking in parts of the Chowder Cup Pre-Draft Showcase, USPHL Spring Showcase, and Eastern Hockey League Showcase, there is just one conclusion to be drawn.
There are way too many junior teams and it is bad for the game of hockey out east and it is slowing the development of some of the elite players.
It is great to encourage kids to play the game of hockey, but having showcase after showcase with some very talented kids at one end of the spectrum and some kids who can barely skate at the other end of the spectrum is a waste of everyone's time and money.
The phenomenon will likely not end any time soon as all the third and fourth tier junior programs are raking in cash from naïve parents who think their child has a shot at playing college hockey and beyond.
The solution is simple, but unfortunately it will not happen until more people wake up to this disaster. The majority of kids should be playing for their high school team. Enjoy it. Let the game be fun. High school hockey will benefit and so will the development of players who will have to earn their way into showcases such as these.
This is certainly not a slight at any of the three outlets that put on these showcases and worked tirelessly to ensure that they flowed smoothly.
It is not an indictment against some of the truly elite players that were at some of the showcases. Providence recruit Bryan Lemos of the Junior Bruins showed why he is considered by many to be one of the truly gifted players in the region.
He wasn't alone. There were several other players who merit recognition for their play over the past two weekends, but unfortunately it was all marred by the fact that there were far too many teams and a cluster of players who didn't belong.