I work on the production team for a US television program on HBO called Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and we are in the process of exploring/researching a hockey-related story, I was hoping you could help me with.
In short, we are curious about the dynamics of junior hockey in the US and Canada, the pros/cons of the system and where it may create difficulties or potential pitfalls for young kids. In my time around junior hockey in Western New York and Ontario, it was abundantly clear that the system gets competitive for kids at a young age, often necessitating their moving away from home, staying with billet families or elsewhere.
I would love to hear stories from those of you that know about this first-hand: Have you or one of your kids left to pursue hockey at a young age? What were the social/academic/cultural challenges in doing so? Did you stay with a billet family, and if so how was that experience?
I would love to get some of your insights on these topics, or to hear stories/opinions on the general subject altogether. Feel free to leave responses here, or email me directly if you would like to speak privately or arrange a time to chat over the phone. Thanks in advance for your time and attention.
I would also consider posting this on www.finishyourcheck.com in addition to here. It's a pretty active USHL focused message board. Not sure how many posters there have kids in junior hockey. I do know within the last few days there was a string regarding the experiences of billet families.