Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – For Those Who Were Not Drafted


The NHL Entry Draft. This is the signal for the next NHL season ready to start and the end of the previous season. It is considered by many as the beginning of their careers.

We all cheer for those who were drafted.  We know who they are by their smiling faces and the television interviews.

What many do not think about are those that are not drafted.  There are many more players who thought they would be drafted and end up not hearing their name called then there are players actually picked.

This morning many players, parents, advisers and agents are trying to figure out what happened.  Do not try to figure it out.  Do not get stuck in a depressing pattern of though.  You’ll never know why you were not supported.  You may hear a reason or two, but you will never know the answer.

Do not go through the time-wasting exercise of looking at who was picked that you are better than.  Just stop, and take a breath.

Not being picked when you thought you were going to is tremendously disappointing.  It is not life ending.  It is not opportunity or career ending either.

You road to professional hockey has changed, it has not been blown up in front of you.  Now it is up to you to make a plan.  It is for you to tackle the task.

If you are getting ready to attend a Division One NCAA program, you will be on the national stage.  You have more time to develop and hopefully sign as a free agent player.  NHL teams sign free agent players from NCAA programs every year.  NHL teams get it wrong every year and they will admit they get it wrong.

If you are a Major Junior player, it is time for you to dominate.  You must now also create a plan to use your education package.  You too can still make it if you have the right plan.  If you do not you will at least get an education.

There were a few million players eligible for yesterdays NHL draft.  Two hundred eleven players in the entire world were taken.  The odds of getting picked were against you from the beginning.  You could have been ranked at two hundred twelve, but we will never know now and it does not matter.

This game is not about the destination.  It has alwas been and will always will be about the journey.  Your journey has now had its path changed.  Do not become angry or bitter because someone may have gotten it wrong.  Allow the disappointment to fuel you, to drive you, to give you the desire to continue to grow as a player and a person.

This is not the end, just a new beginning.