Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – Backup Plan


Here we are, the off-season journey is near an end.  Now is the time that every player who not have a for sure team to have a for sure backup plan in place.

Of course all player want to play at a high level.  Some time things do not go your way and you are forced to play at a level lower than what the player think he should play at.  This is the nature of the game.

It is now mid August, and the season start in roughly three weeks.  Yes, three weeks.

It is time to commit to and sign any contract that gives you a backup plan.  Every team should still be willing to let you continue attending camps at a higher level until their main camp begins.  Teams that do this are in it for the player.  Teams that do not, are simply in it for themselves.

If you are a USHL or Major Junior player you must have a Tier II, or Junior A backup plan.  If you are NAHL or Tier II player in Canada, you must have a Tier III or Junior B backup plan in place.  Not having a backup plan in place is a sign of a player who is not preparing properly.

Preparing for the worst case scenario is what smart junior player and parents do.  Many of the top players, those you would not expect, have a backup plan in place.  You can not predict what a Coach or General Manager will do.

Do not let your ego get in the way of creating the backup plan.  It is no different from purchasing an insurance policy.  You hope you never have to use it, but its nice to know it’s there if you need it.

Do not be ungrateful even for the backup plan.  No Coach or General Manager wants to be made to feel as though they were your last choice.  They should always be made to feel that they were “first choice at this level”.  They should know that you appreciate them, and the opportunity to be a part of team you will make better.

Spending the summer training and preparing for the season on the ice is critical to success.  Having a backup plan in place can be just as critical.  Knowing how to accept the backup plan offer can be the most critical political move you can make this summer.