Where an aspiring NCAA Division I men’s hockey player plays hockey in the years prior to his college hockey career can vary quite a bit from player to player. Most often, the answer is a function of where that players lives.
In the state of Michigan, a young player has the enviable choice of either youth hockey or high school hockey. The reality is that most NCAA Division I hockey players from Michigan spend time playing either 18U or high school hockey, proving there is no incorrect route. However, it’s vital that one’s perception of reality is in line with actual reality, and that decisions are based on the latter.