Every January the phone calls come. The panic, the disappointment, and the stress are noticeable within seconds of the call. Most of the calls start with the parent saying that their child is playing Tier III in the final year of junior hockey. Followed by the statement that they do not have an NCAA commitment yet.
Keep in mind the following comments DO NOT apply to players who are in the same position playing Tier II or the USHL. This is for Tier III players alone.
The first thing that every player and parent in this positon has to do is ask themselves if they have a plan to make their NCAA dream happen? Second, are you performing at a level that would provide you an opportunity to make your NCAA plan a reality?
Or, are you one of the players/parents who are living an illusion instead of executing a plan to make your dream happen?
There is a big difference between planning and working the plan, and talking about how its just miraculously going to happen. If you think that simply by playing, the dream will be realized you have ingested far too much koolaid.
Lets start with some honesty. If you are a third or fourth line player, if you are not one of the top players on your Tier III team, you have a better chance of winning the Powerball Lottery than playing NCAA hockey. Its time to look in the mirror and make the decision to enjoy the rest of the season and look for an ACHA opportunity.
There is nothing wrong with ACHA hockey, and you can have a great college hockey experience in many of those programs. Embrace your destiny and enjoy the rest of the season without the artificial pressure to make something happen that will not happen.
But if you are a top performer on your Tier III team who is not getting interest from NCAA programs, you probably have no plan to make the NCAA dream happen. In that case, you have two solutions.
You can go to your team and ask them who they are talking to on your behalf, or how can hire an adviser to work on your emergency situation. That’s it.
Keep in mind that NCAA D-3 programs ramp up their recruiting for next season at this time of year. Very few D-3 commitments come before this time of year and most come in the spring.
Now is the time to be lining yourself up for those opportunities though. Now is the time to make sure you can be admitted into school.
Now is the time to be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. If you don’t have superior academics, don’t expect to play at an institution with superior academic requirements.
If you think hiring an adviser now will solve your problems, you may be right in some cases. In others there will not be a solution. It doesn’t hurt to call an adviser for a free consultation. But do not expect miracles. Expect an honest assessment of your situation.
If you want to hire an adviser to solve this problem, you are asking that person to take on what is basically an emergency situation. Do not expect to pay for less than emergency level service.
In the new year, in your last year of Tier III, its time to finish strong and on a positive note. Its time to do that by no longer falling for an illusion, but making a plan to make the dream happen.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser