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Can someone explain the different levels of hockey leagues?

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Old
08-30-2010, 01:34 PM
  #1
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Can someone explain the different levels of hockey leagues?

I just got into playing hockey about a year ago with a local adult development program. Then about 3 months ago I joined a leisure league team which has been great. However, as I've been researching various leagues in my area I always see the different levels listed (AA, A, B, C1, C2, C3, H1, etc). I understand the basics that an "A" league has better players than a "B" league which has better players than "C" etc. However, is there a more definitive criteria as to the level of play at each level. For example how does C1 differ from C2 etc. Does the level vary if its a check vs no check league.


Any insight anyone can offer would be appreciated.

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08-30-2010, 01:48 PM
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Jarick
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It varies from league to league and from player to player, but around here:

Elite - former pro and D1 college
A - former D3 college, junior, elite high school players
B - former high school or very strong adult players
C - good adult players who usually played as kids
D - decent and inexperienced adults who know the fundamentals
Beginner - beginners and very inexperienced or limited skill adults

It seems most players fall in the D through B levels. Most people who pick up the game as adults probably won't make it much above C, as the pace, skill, physicality, etc all pick up a good amount.

Higher numbers are typically the better players in that level...C1 better than C2, D1 better than D1 etc.

And basically as you go up the levels, players are better skaters and better athletes, they're often a lot bigger/taller too, better puck handling, better shooting, better positioning, more advanced execution of plays, etc, until you get up to the very high end where it's guys who used to play pro and still want a challenge.

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08-30-2010, 04:49 PM
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Our leagues go: Gold - SilverAAA - SilverAA - SilverA - SilverB - SilverC - Bronze

Everyone goes through a "skills test" and the director of hockey places each person into the level that he feels the person is performing at. During the year, if someone is performing at a noticeably higher level, the director will move them up into the next level. People may also go down levels if they are "out of their league" so to speak.

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08-30-2010, 05:25 PM
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Gunnar Stahl 30
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im pretty sure he meant youth hockey

AAA-highest level travel league
AA-one step below
A-and so on
B-you get the picture
C-not sure if it gets lower

theres different levels in between too. there is also limited travel and what not

then Juniors

A
B
C

pretty self explanatory

something to note is that, just because a team is AAA in one league, doesnt mean they are better than a AA or even A team from another league. same goes for Juniors

around me the junior A teams play in the AJHL, but if the best AJHL team played the worst EJHL team they would probably lose, because it has happened before

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08-30-2010, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar Stahl 30 View Post
im pretty sure he meant youth hockey

AAA-highest level travel league
AA-one step below
A-and so on
B-you get the picture
C-not sure if it gets lower

theres different levels in between too. there is also limited travel and what not

then Juniors

A
B
C

pretty self explanatory

something to note is that, just because a team is AAA in one league, doesnt mean they are better than a AA or even A team from another league. same goes for Juniors

around me the junior A teams play in the AJHL, but if the best AJHL team played the worst EJHL team they would probably lose, because it has happened before
Sorry, I was referring to Adult leagues. Jarick and PDX Coyote's response helped clarify.

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Old
08-30-2010, 06:00 PM
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Dump and Chase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar Stahl 30 View Post
then Juniors

A
B
C

pretty self explanatory

something to note is that, just because a team is AAA in one league, doesnt mean they are better than a AA or even A team from another league. same goes for Juniors

around me the junior A teams play in the AJHL, but if the best AJHL team played the worst EJHL team they would probably lose, because it has happened before

Don't confuse Major Jr. A with the tier 2 Jr. A that you see in the AJHL or EJHL or in Ontario the OJHL. Tier 2 Jr. A is basically the same caliber as Jr. B. The only difference is marketing and geography.

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08-30-2010, 09:49 PM
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The beer leagues here work as follows:

A - Ex pro, semi pro, or minor pro players players (some guys have profiles on hockeydb.com kind of thing)
B - College/university players, ex major junior guys
C - Lower levels of competitive hockey
D - former House League players
E - Beginners, or players who started as adults

There is, of course, plenty of crossover between the leagues. I played in a beer league for one year (and hated it, pick up all the way) at the D level. I've seen guys at that level who belong in C, and guys who belong in E.

Usually what some guys do at the beginning of the year is slack off while they do the monitoring and shuffling of teams between divisions. Then they pick up their play and win the division with ease because at a higher division they'd probably be in the middle of the pack.

They have subgroups as well... for example, D2 would be a lower level than D1. Over here we run E1 and E2, where E2 is for brand-spanking newbies and E1 is for people that can skate half decently.

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Old
08-30-2010, 11:17 PM
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Harv
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Originally Posted by Dump and Chase View Post
Tier 2 Jr. A is basically the same caliber as Jr. B. The only difference is marketing and geography.
Except for the part where to play Jr. A you have to have graduated school and its basically a full-time job to get an NCAA deal while Jr. B is a weekend thing you do during high school.

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Old
08-31-2010, 05:17 AM
  #9
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Originally Posted by PDX Coyotes View Post
Our leagues go: Gold - SilverAAA - SilverAA - SilverA - SilverB - SilverC - Bronze

Everyone goes through a "skills test" and the director of hockey places each person into the level that he feels the person is performing at. During the year, if someone is performing at a noticeably higher level, the director will move them up into the next level. People may also go down levels if they are "out of their league" so to speak.
Not trying to hijack a thread but I totally knew you were from portland by the "silver" leagues, then i looked at your name.. PDX. I'm guessing your play at sherwood? what team / league are you on?

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08-31-2010, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harv View Post
Except for the part where to play Jr. A you have to have graduated school and its basically a full-time job to get an NCAA deal while Jr. B is a weekend thing you do during high school.


A quick check shows that both OJHL tier 2 Jr. A and OHA Jr. B teams play a 50 game schedule. It also shows that many of the tier 2 Jr A teams have 16 year olds on the roster.


Since what you stated as fact appears to be incorrect can I ask what your point is?

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08-31-2010, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by NJDwoot View Post
Not trying to hijack a thread but I totally knew you were from portland by the "silver" leagues, then i looked at your name.. PDX. I'm guessing your play at sherwood? what team / league are you on?
Yep, Sherwood. Check your PMs.

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08-31-2010, 11:51 AM
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Harv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dump and Chase View Post


Since what you stated as fact appears to be incorrect can I ask what your point is?
I was speaking of US Jr. A.

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09-01-2010, 10:11 AM
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you'll probably only get a good answer from someone from your city as i suspect the levels for beer league hockey vary city to city. probably only larger cities will further divide each letter division.

my cousin used to play in level 3 of a 4 level league in calgary.

in a smaller city (thunder bay) i've played in a few beer leagues - one had 'A' and 'B' divisions and then went to one division when team were too few, another had only 1 division, and the 3rd had 2 divisions one for older players and one for younger.

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09-01-2010, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Harv View Post
Except for the part where to play Jr. A you have to have graduated school and its basically a full-time job to get an NCAA deal while Jr. B is a weekend thing you do during high school.
Maybe it's different from region to region, but I have a friend in Vancouver who moved up to junior A when he was 16, and most definitely in school. He said junior A was definitely a step up from junior B though.

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09-04-2010, 02:42 PM
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Man...you Canadian/Great Lakes guys are lucky to have so many leagues. That really keeps things competitive.

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09-04-2010, 02:53 PM
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Just as a semi related side question,
Which level would you recommend for a 21 year old guy, who has played pond hockey and roller hockey all his life as well as several years of organized lacrosse?
I have already signed up with my team for C Division on the weekends but I was just looking for an outside opinion.

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09-04-2010, 04:17 PM
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Were I am in Missouri, there are A, B and C leagues. A is your best players and it goes down from there. Players slot themselves. There are several former college and high-level junior players in A along with a couple elite adult learners, the majority of your "good" adult learners in B and a handful of good adults with the rest of us beginners in C.

In Texas, or at least in Dallas, it was A, B, C, D, and I. Same basic structure with one more level in the "letter leagues" and the addition of I, which is your lowest level and designed as an "instructional" league that has like... coaches and scheduled practices before you start your game schedule to introduce the fundamentals.

All the adult leagues in the States, at least, those that I know of, are no check because of liability issues. You don't know enough about the backgrounds of the players to know if it's safe to have a full check league. The amount of legal contact varies by referee and league. I'm sure there are exceptions in areas where hockey is a big-time youth sport and you've got the corresponding number of adults who played check hockey growing up.

ETA: Ampersand, if there's no evaluation day offered, I would start at the lowest division possible in your first season. It gives you the best opportunity for success, and it's likely where you belong with no organized ice experience (especially if you're signing up for a league in Canada - I've heard they can be brutally deep). If you're too good for that skill level, they'll let you know and move you up.


Last edited by Kritter471: 09-04-2010 at 04:24 PM.
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Old
09-05-2010, 04:45 PM
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Yep it's all dependent on the league. Ask if they have an evaluation that you can attend to get placed at the proper level.

My team just got informed that we are being moved up a level, even though we aren't dominant at our level. Kind of sucks, because the next level up is a lot faster and tougher. I know their bottom levels are congested, but I sure as hell hope they move everyone up a rung rather than just let us get shelled every game.

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Old
09-05-2010, 05:38 PM
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Rep levels depend on the size of your town. 'AAA' refers to a large association. AA, smaller. A even smaller. B is just B though, no plural lettering.

Then house, which is C. Other than that it's Junior B, Junior A, major Junior (WHL, OHL, QMJHL), minor pro leagues (the ones below ECHL, ECHL, AHL), then the show.

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09-06-2010, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ampersand View Post
Just as a semi related side question,
Which level would you recommend for a 21 year old guy, who has played pond hockey and roller hockey all his life as well as several years of organized lacrosse?
I have already signed up with my team for C Division on the weekends but I was just looking for an outside opinion.
Can't you go watch a league game and see where you'd fit? Five minutes of watching a B or C div. game should give you a pretty good idea, no?

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09-10-2010, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Injektilo View Post
Can't you go watch a league game and see where you'd fit? Five minutes of watching a B or C div. game should give you a pretty good idea, no?
No.

I watched a "B" level game when I was starting and it looked pretty basic. I then watched a "Bronze" level game and laughed it off. Then once I got onto the ice in a game situation, I found out that even the C-level players were beyond me. Even now when I watch my own games on video, I look really slow and dysfunctional, yet when I'm on the ice it feels like I'm flying.

Ampersand - Check the rink. They may have an evaluation-type clinic that will help you get placed. If not, take a stab at it, and you will immediately notice if you fit in or not. The rink manager / hockey director should be able to help.

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11-16-2010, 04:09 PM
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The Saw Is the Law
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I'm interested about university levels? I Guess there are lots of different level university leagues. WCHA maybe the most skilled one. But how about the worst ones? Is there leagues for players who really suck and cant even dream about ECHL or other semipro/amateur leagues.

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11-16-2010, 05:47 PM
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ECHL is not for bad players, by most standards they're great. Just not pro great.

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11-16-2010, 05:56 PM
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All five (or so) main beer leagues in Ottawa just number their divisions...For example Div 1 is the best, Div 18 the worst.

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