Why Being an AP (Affiliate Player) Is Deadly

Posted on September 28, 2023

So you got cut from the AAA team, or the AA team. BUT you’ve been named as an AP (affiliate player… because there can be only one AP, and that is… Adrian Peterson. Didn’t think I was going there, did ya).

This is a deadly situation.

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Lets dive into why being an affiliate player is such a great situation for a players development.

Reason #1 – Opportunities. You’ll get to play at a lower level, which means more opportunities to touch the puck, more opportunities to play in all situations (special teams). Technically playing for two teams more opportunities to practice (you’ll practice with the higher team and lower team in most cases).

Reason #2 – Confidence. Depending on who’s coaching the AAA team, if you’re the 6th defenceman or the 9th forward – are you going to get out there in the big spots? Probably not. Coming from a guy who knows exactly what being a 4th liner does to your confidence, it’s nice to be playing at a level where your coach calls your number when the stakes are high.

Reason #3 – Injuries. This example is more U15-specific than anything else. For players going into their 1st year of checking – if you’re under-developed physically or haven’t hit puberty yet, going into the corner against a guy with a half (or full) moustache ain’t easy. Even with excellent techniques, if you’re giving up 50-60 pounds to a guy (this will happen in U15AAA locally in 2023-24), the risk of injury increases. My beard gets itchy sometimes… I think it’s time for a trim.

Reason #4 – Leadership. If you’re a last cut/AP for the AA team, you’re more than likely a top player at the Single-A level. Which gives you a chance to be an alpha, be a leader and/or learn leadership skills that will carry over into the game of life.

Real Life Example (True Story)

Player A was cut by the Eastern Hitmen U13AAA team 5+ years ago now. Parents reached out to me and were upset/disappointed (understandable) but signed on to be a Hitmen AP and played for one of the U13AA teams in the DJHL (which is a great development league in my opinion). The U13AAA coach had Player A up to practice just about every time, one of the players on the Hitmen team had a 2-4 week injury so Player A saw plenty of AAA game action during that time. Player A went on to have a monster season in AA to boot, which had him brimming with confidence.

Not a bad season for a fella who didn’t crack the line-up.

While I totally understand that not making your desired team s*^ks, sometimes you can accomplish addition by subtraction. Being an AP creates a scenario where you get the best of both worlds – there’s no shortage of ice time, plenty of opportunities to develop both as a player and as a person. Nudding wrong with it!

Until Next Time