Author Topic: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)  (Read 59165 times)

lcadad

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The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« on: February 04, 2019, 01:30:57 PM »
Warning to the reading or internet forum attention challenged: this is longer than the average post, and if you don't like reading long calhockey posts this won't be for you.  You know who you are.


There is no system in youth sports I know of, where someone has designed a system as ridiculous and insulting to its participants as the CAHA AA Flight2 system.  Everything about the system is demeaning and insulting to its participants, and what makes it especially egregious is that the teams that end up in Flight2 have no real input or visibility into the so called process of evaluation, nor is that process open or transparent.

No place outside of spring and beer league hockey is there a system where people invest the time, effort and money into a situation where anywhere from six to 10 teams play for the opportunity to have the most points in their division only so that they can "challenge" in a one game playoff in order to gain a berth as 8th place in the upper division playoffs vs teams that you never had a chance to play the entire season.  It's hard to even describe to my friends who have hockey playing kids in other areas of the country.

Who is it that thought this was a good idea?  Whomever it was, they clearly look down upon the flight 2 participants, but it is what it is.  The main indictment of the system is that CAHA has proven in the 2 years of the system's existence to objectively suck at their evaluations and this just goes to further show how tone deaf the CAHA board is when it comes to the current AA system.

This season in Flight2 Bantam AA, there are at least 4 teams that are as good as the bottom 3-4 Flight1 teams.  When I say "as good" I mean that those games would likely have been closely contested.  It's also probable that those same 4 teams could challenge up into the upper echelon on the right day.  The Flight1 system allows for late season runs like the one that netted the Bears their U12 state championship after a 5th place finish.  The playoffs have meaning and rewards for improvements in Flight1, where the Flight2 teams get the Hunger games. 

Given that last season, 2 of the 3 Flight2 challengers won their "play in" games, along with various Flight2 vs Flight1 upsets and ties in SCAHA, many hoped that CAHA and SCAHA would see the error of their ways.  SCAHA obliged CAHA this season by eliminating all the cross flight games Flight 2 teams could look forward to last year.  Once again these changes were unannounced until after flighting and the season had begun.  Clearly they heard the criticism last season and their answer was to double down on limiting opportunities to make their evaluations look bad.

If Flighting is such a great thing then why didn't CAHA Flight U16 with 16 teams? 

They also eliminated the Flight2 SCAHA playoffs because "teams didn't want them" when in fact, teams that are now top 4 echelon Flight1 participants (looking at you Wave parents) were eager participants last season.  Perhaps if SCAHA understood that much of the negativity came from the way that system was announced mid-season they'd have once again had a SCAHA flight 2 tournament, but in many ways I'm glad they didn't so that everyone can see clearly the purpose of Flighting which is to punish its participants for rostering AA teams.

Well, now that the Bantam season is done we have a vivid example of the stark reality of Flight1 vs Flight2 participation:

In Flight2 it came down to the last game of the last CAHA weekend as to who would "win" 1st place. Even teams that I would not consider in the top 4 enjoyed upticks in their play in the last half of the season.  The 4th place team, which beat every team in the division at least once, entered the final CAHA weekend with nothing to play for.  Nor do the other 2 teams now that the season is complete, one of which is competitive with the '05 AAA teams in the state.  The Flight2 system is a complete joke at the expense of hundreds of california hockey families.

While I wish the Kings1 the best in their playin game, there is no winning in Flight2.  If you win the division and the play in game, what that proves definitively is that you were denied the opportunity to play other Flight1 teams you should have been playing throughout the season, and CAHA does not have a time machine to get you back those lost opportunities.   

The originators of this system, along with its defenders and supporters say the system works well in doing what it was designed to do, and that is to keep the Flight1 elite teams from having to face unworthy Flight2 competitors.  As a so called "objective" that's pretty ridiculous when you consider how bad the system is at achieving its goal.  Flight1 7-9 teams all lost 13 of 16 games this season with goal differentials of -33, -43 and -50. 

And yet, going into the final day of CAHA competition, a team with 2 wins and a team with 1 win were both playing for slots in the top 8.  Contrast that to Flight2 and it's clear that getting your ass handed to you all year in Flight1 is still favorable to the ridiculous system in Flight2.   

From what we could piece together in results from the comical 40 minute jamboree there was enough information to tell CAHA that as many as half the teams they were putting into Flight1 were not objectively better and more deserving than 5-6 of the teams they pushed down to Flight2.  Congrats to CAHA for doing exactly what they said they would NOT do and Flighting when they did not have clear evidence there was significant separation.  WTF is the Jamboree for other than to placate people and feed them a lie in regards to the objectivity and fairness of the Flighting process.   

Along the way, CAHA and SCAHA have been very effective in putting a chill on cross flight competition and scrimmages.  If you are a Flight1 team that is marginal, it is highly unlikely that you are going to want to scrimmage against a Flight2 team who might be able to beat you. You can't blame the Flight1 team coaches for wanting to avoid the potential embarrassment.

CAHA needs to wake up.  Everyone knows that there are kids playing A and AA who could easily be top players in AAA.  Many of these players are excluded from AAA not due to their talent or potential, but simply due to financial or geographic limitations. 

The Bears Bantam AA teams the last few seasons (and the '05 AA Flight2 Saints2 this year) have shown that they are capable of playing against AAA teams nationally.  Meanwhile people are fleeing the state in droves, because they can see how the CAHA system favors a few clubs and abuses many others with its system and selective enforcement of its rules. 

Many people saw the huge liability and flaws in the system when the first notices were posted and most of those have come to pass.  This petition summarized many of those problems in advance of Flighting so I'm not going to regurgitate them, but kudos to the people who signed onto the petition publically:  https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/call-to-abandon-unnecessary-and-problematic

People often say, "Yeah it's easy to complain but what would be better?"  Unfortunately there is no short term fix that won't involve some pain, but it seems clear to me when you look around the country at other locales where youth hockey is thriving and people have choices, that the systems don't look anything like CAHA.


It would not be that hard to fix things and return California youth hockey to something reasonable.  If I was running CAHA/SCAHA this is what I would do immediately:

-Eliminate the AAA franchise system.  There should be more AAA teams in the state to bring California towards the USA hockey guidelines.  More teams mean more local games at less cost and opportunities for more kids to participate and discover their potential.  AAA teams take time and planning, but if there was a simple unconstrained way for clubs to move up to AAA, teams would emerge.  One need look no further than this season's Brick team to see that the majority of the players will not be Ducks or Kings, but rather Gold Rush.


-Eliminate the AA Flight system.  CAHA has shown it can't Flight objectively, and shouldn't be in the business of doing so regardless.  CAHA was formed to organize games and leagues, not pick winners and losers before the season even begins.

If anything it should be looking at how to move AA towards AAA by organizing divisions by birth year.  This would incentivize clubs to work towards and build sustainable teams where kids in the same birth year play and develop together.

This season several clubs took one year bets on a few major year players added to predominately minor year teams for the purpose of giving the team a slight pre-season advantage, often at the cost of casting off younger birth year participants who may have already played for that club and team for years.  I saw this happen at a number of clubs this season, with no big payoffs and plenty of hard feelings. 

Conversely, it might also make it less likely that a team would bet on an advanced minor year player when there were comparable major year players the coach didn't take.  Often these decisions can dramatically undermine the birth year team they might otherwise be leading, only to struggle against physically more advanced players as the season progresses.  I've seen numerous posts from parents of kids who played up an age group and deeply regret the decision to do so, as it lead to undermining of confidence and in some cases losing ground in the lineup as other older kids matured and became better suited to the physical challenges of playing bigger and stronger kids.  There are always exceptions to this rule, but they are far fewer in number than the players who take these placements.  The CAHA system could be helping everyone make reasonable decisions while still allowing them options.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 03:32:53 PM by lcadad »

Landshark

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2019, 02:29:24 PM »
Heroic and true. I enjoy every year my kid plays, but CAHA seems to do everything in their power to limit opportunities rather than expand them. 

CahaMama

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2019, 02:31:55 PM »
Thanks ICADAD for writing what many of us parents think. This is why we left this year, for greener pastures. Due to geography mainly and politics to some extent, the top level we were able to play was the very flawed AA system last year. We live 100+ miles away from Ducks and Kings, so AAA was out of the question. Even if my son had moved in with a billet family, there was no way he would be able to bust through the system to play AAA. So he left. Now my 02 is playing against 18AAA teams and excelling. He is attracting scouts from the next level up and thriving after less than a year of getting out of Dodge. If your kids have any inkling of playing competitive hockey, they have to leave SoCal. Even AAA is a mostly dead end. CAHA and SCAHA and the HS leagues have killed off any hope of moving past their roadblocks. Good luck to changing this mess.

KickSave

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 02:36:37 PM »
Mine is looking to leave, as well. Just to be able to continue to develop. I’m so tired of the “they’re never going pro anyway” excuses. Who cares about going pro? Most just want to continue to play and improve and have the confidence that comes from challenging yourself. This is depressing.

trans4761

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 03:37:37 PM »
I, speaking for all the "attention challenged " morons here  would ask for the Cliff Notes version if you please.

SkatingDad

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2019, 04:03:40 PM »
CAHA needs to end the flight system!  The bottom 4 Flight 2 teams should have been dropped to A.  Only one dropped and we can see how the other 3 did...  If CAHA would have have the guts do do this, there would have been 15 teams and no reason to flight. 

lcadad

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2019, 04:50:36 PM »
I, speaking for all the "attention challenged " morons here  would ask for the Cliff Notes version if you please.


You can jump to the bottom and read the recommendations.

CaliDog

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2019, 04:55:28 PM »
This is the actual best post ever posted on this forum.  The entire board of CAHA should resign for being hopelessly incompetent.   FWIW, my son has been begging me to let him follow his friends out of state -- California tier hockey has become a joke.  When we were in an out-of-state tournament earlier this season, other teams laughed at what a joke California hockey is.  It's embarrassing. There's talent here, however -- it's worth pointing out that not that long ago, the California Wave had one of the best AAA programs in the nation.  It's literal insanity that smaller clubs are no longer allowed to field AAA teams.


Also, and by the way, if my son were a squirt, Gold Rush is 100% the club I would take him to today -- they're the SoCal club trying to do things right. 

Strawman

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2019, 05:25:39 PM »
I agree with a lot of what you say here Icadad, but for the record the Wave were not “eager participants” in last year’s ridiculous Flight 2 playoff.  My understanding is that they asked to be excused from that charade but were told the club would be sanctioned if they didn’t show up. 


The root cause of this flighting nonsense is the relentless pursuit of $$$$ by California’s youth hockey industry.  If CAHA forced the bottom 25% of AA teams to drop to A every year the problem would be solved, but that will never happen since member clubs would lose revenue from a lot of parents willing to pay for the extra “A.”

justanotherhockeydad

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2019, 05:54:50 PM »

The root cause of this flighting nonsense is the relentless pursuit of $$$$ by California’s youth hockey industry.  If CAHA forced the bottom 25% of AA teams to drop to A every year the problem would be solved, but that will never happen since member clubs would lose revenue from a lot of parents willing to pay for the extra “A.”
What Strawman said, but lets not forget it all started from the undefeated GSE's PWAA team first getting beat by a 9th placed team, then followed up by the Wave adding the finish touch en route to winning State 2 years ago. Apparently GSE, Mr and Mrs Kahn were distraught enough that they felt the need to rig the system to hopefully prevent future atrocities. If you think the current flight system is bad, their original plan was worse. If they had their way, the number 1 seed would get an automatic ticket to the big dance with no need to participate in playdown...

ABCDE

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2019, 09:54:03 PM »
As Strawman said, I think the root cause is the pursuit of $$$$ by California's youth hockey industry. 


I also agree with most all that Icadad said.  Well spoken, Icadad.  CAHA is doing their best to drive hockey out of CA.  In Bantam at least, they could have done away with flighting.  Personally, I don't think the bottom 4 needed to go as 3 and 4 improved substantially over season, but everyone could see the bottom 2 needed to go.  CAHA did right by dropping one team to A, but directly interfered with the other team dropping to A.  From what I understand from the majority of parents on OC2, they wanted to go to A, but they were refused and forced to stay AA.  When your club has a CAHA board member on payroll, they won't likely drop and lose the $$$$.  Flight 2 teams paid the same money as Flight 1 and all fought like hell to make #1.  All else in Flight 2 has been made irrelevant by CAHA.  They make no effort to actually assess the teams.  The top 4 Flight 2 teams had every right to compete in Flight 1 compared to the bottom 4 of Flight 1.

goumass

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2019, 10:00:40 PM »
Lots of misinformation flying around.
Curtis Brown from San Jose Created the flight system.
At least get facts straight



http://caha.com/minutes/2016-17/20170128-CAHAMinutes.pdf
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lcadad

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2019, 10:09:17 PM »
I agree with a lot of what you say here Icadad, but for the record the Wave were not “eager participants” in last year’s ridiculous Flight 2 playoff.  My understanding is that they asked to be excused from that charade but were told the club would be sanctioned if they didn’t show up. 

The root cause of this flighting nonsense is the relentless pursuit of $$$$ by California’s youth hockey industry.  If CAHA forced the bottom 25% of AA teams to drop to A every year the problem would be solved, but that will never happen since member clubs would lose revenue from a lot of parents willing to pay for the extra “A.”


Well, lets just say that once the Wave realized they were going to play, they wanted to win the tournament, as did many of the other teams.   I have nothing against the WW or its parents, and if anything having the playoffs was something Flight2 teams could look towards given the limited opportunities offered by the CAHA Flight2 system. 


I can't agree with your "force 25% down" argument.  That is the type of thinking that lead to this current system.  It's arrogant and dismissive and highly subjective.  I understand there is a bar, beneath which certain teams really shouldn't be in a particular division, and there has to be some exploration of that but CAHA has shown it's biased towards the bigger clubs and against the smaller regional ones. 


I also don't buy the argument that parents in general are looking to "Buy an extra A" nor is that the reason teams get in over their heads.    Most are doing their best to navigate a really complicated situation that balances the capabilities and aspirations of their child, with logistics, cost, opportunities and the prospect they will receive quality coaching.  It's a difficult situation for many teams, because the vast majority of 2nd tier AA teams are significantly better than all but a few of the best A teams.  When a AA team is forced to play in A, that damages the experience for the entire A division, which is also highly oversubscribed.  The reality is that there is no magic number of AA teams that is perfect.  It will vary year to year, division to division.   



It's no more fair to have marginal AA teams forced down to A, then it is to have a AAA team playing in AA.


I'm obviously just repeating myself, but birth year divisions and teams fix many of these problems eventually. 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 10:43:16 PM by lcadad »

lcadad

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2019, 10:35:07 PM »
Lots of misinformation flying around.
Curtis Brown from San Jose Created the flight system.
At least get facts straight

http://caha.com/minutes/2016-17/20170128-CAHAMinutes.pdf


What misinformation are you talking about? 


The outlandish 1st place bye rule WAS part of the original proposition.   


We have been prisoners  participants in Tier2 for 3 seasons already and the system has been changed every one of those seasons, in pretty drastic fashion.

I personally don't give a crap who came up with the rules or what goes on during CAHA board meetings, but I do know that CAHA was formed to provide league structure so that Socal and Norcal teams could play each other with the ultimate goal being the determination of state champions.  Just getting back to that would be a huge step in the direction of righting what many parents see as a sinking ship.




« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 10:37:05 PM by lcadad »

JackBender

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Re: The CAHA AA Flight system sucks again (2019 Bantam AA Edition)
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2019, 10:55:24 PM »
CAHA is the most miserable, self-serving sham of youth hockey in America. Want proof?  Well, let's look at this AAA charade.  CAHA has one AAA team in NorCal, the pathetic and lowly San Jose Jr Sharks.  To get a AAA team, CAHA bylaws set out two prerequisites:


8.1 CAHA MISSION STATEMENT FOR TIER 1: A high level program whereby a Member Association may recruit and solicit on a state wide basis for registered players to compete at the highest level of amateur hockey within a specific age division on a National Level.


b. Member Associations fielding Tier I teams shall maintain a minimum of two (2) teams at the Tier II level in the current and previous season.
c. With Youth Council's recommendation, the CAHA board has the authority to prohibit a club from fielding Tier I teams whose prior season's collective performances was non-competitive.


Now, let's look at the Jr Sharks AAA program... they have AAA at 07, 06, 05, & 04.  That's four different birth years.  Peewee and Bantam.  Four teams in total.  And of those four teams... they have ONE WIN in CAHA.  That's pathetic, and the Jr Sharks and CAHA should be ashamed of themselves. Overall, the four teams have a combined record of 1-23. Their combined stats are 28 GA/157 GA with -131 goal differential. 


If the Jr Sharks AAA program were a horse, they'd have been put down years ago.  And the carcass would have been burned and buried to contain the stench. Yet, year after year, the buffoon organization that is CAHA gives the Jr Sharks rubber stamp after rubber stamp, paralyzing Tier hockey in NorCal.  However, I really don't blame the Jr Sharks' utter incompetence... I blame CAHA's misguided policies and outright corruption.     


However... let's look at AA.  Surely it must get better?  Surely the Jr Sharks are crushing it at Tier II?  Uh, no... not even close.  At Peewee, the Jr Sharks have one team in Flight II.  They are 6-6-2.  At Bantam, they have one team, also in Flight II. They are 5-10-1. They're both at the bottom of Flight II, which defines them as non-competitive.


So, oddly... not one team within the Jr Sharks Tier program is competitive, and the Jr Sharks DO NOT fit the criteria of maintaining the two (2) teams at BOTH the Peewee or Bantam level to warrant a AAA team.  Make no doubt, these bylaws were created by CAHA to destroy the Wave AAA teams of years past, and it is appalling that year after year CAHA is allowed to wield its ultimate power over all of California unchecked.


Surely CAHA President and #1 Boob, Tom Hancock, will address these annual bylaw oversights? Surely that human pus bucket will put down his 8th hot dog of the day, wipe away the yellow mustard from his JC Penney polo and do what's right for the youth of California? 


Nope.  Definitely not.  The #1 Boob will just keep getting fatter and the kids of California will just keep leaving the state in droves.  It's a shame.  A real shame.  And it's all on CAHA, their idiot President and the Board of Dunderheads that call themselves Directors.




« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 09:44:29 AM by JackBender »
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