When most people think about strength and depth of talent of hockey players in Minnesota, they often point how the state is a leader in producing NCAA Division I players, NHL draft picks or even Olympians. Perhaps an even greater of how effective our development model is would be the quality and talent of Junior Gold hockey.
Most players growing up in Minnesota dream of playing for their high school hockey team. Unfortunately, those rosters are limited to 20 players. In some communities, there can be as many as a hundred or more players competing for those coveted spots as well as positions on the junior varsity team. Simple math says there will be kids left on the outside looking in.
In other parts of the country, that would mean the end of hockey for those players. Here, in Minnesota, Junior Gold hockey provides another opportunity for high school players that are too old for Bantams to continue playing while developing their skills.
Junior Gold hockey, after years of carrying a poor reputation for dirty hits and fighting, has evolved into a clean league with considerable skill and opportunities for player development. Many players have made their high school team after playing a season or two of Junior Gold, and some Junior Gold players have even gone onto play after high school in junior leagues such as the NAHL. In fact, there are now even a few players who choose to play Junior Gold instead of high school hockey.
Interested in finding out more about Junior Gold? Ask your local hockey association if they will be fielding a team this season or contact one of the Metro Hockey League’s Board Members.