With this being the first year the Jr. Comets being a full fledged Tier I youth hockey program, let’s take a look at what some of the differences and benefits are to playing at this level.
Director of the Junior Comets Bill Horton says it all starts with the competition and exposure. “You’re playing on a bigger stage. We compete against some of the top teams from all over the world in these international tournaments. These tournaments usually have scouts watching every game as well.”
Head coach Adam Pawlick echoed Horton’s statement, “you have to up your game when you’re playing these other Tier I organizations. You’re playing against the best of the best and can’t afford to be going through the motions.”
Horton also added that player development is a big factor. “Everyone develops at different rates, so it doesn’t always matter if someone has played Tier I or Tier II their entire career and decides to play Tier I. There’s always the possibility of late bloomers.”
Despite stiff competition at the international tournaments, it hasn’t had an effect on his players’ growth.
“I see the biggest difference after we come back from a big tournament. We’re playing against quite literally some of the best teams in the world in Toronto then we come back and resume our normal schedule and I notice our decision making is quicker and there’s a lot more foot speed,” Horton stated.
Having a Tier I program in the Mohawk Valley by also benefits players in the local area who want to better their game and play at a higher level without the worry of travel on a weekly basis for practice. “It gives kids around here a chance to get that high level exposure and participate in some of the most world-renowned tournaments in places like Toronto and Ottawa.”
Pawlick also hopes that their exposure in these international tournaments will put the Jr. Comets on the map and help the organization grow as a whole.