At Hockey Talent Management, we have a policy that does not allow us to use the names, images or likeness of any of our student athletes in order to gain an advantage over other adviser companies when signing new clients.
That policy is in line with the NCAA policy that states those same student athletes names, images, and likeness can not be used to generate profits. Using a student athletes name, image or likeness in the course of influencing other peoples purchasing decisions, or in recruiting new clients is a direct violation of that NCAA policy.
I mention this because as I tell this story in an abridged version, I will not mention the players name.
A little more than four years ago, I received a call from a parent. Like many other calls I received, they wanted an opinion of their son as a player, and an evaluation of what his NCAA opportunity may or may not be.
During that call, I let the parent know, that I had already seen his son play several times. I scheduled a trip to go and watch another game, and do a more complete evaluation.
After making that trip, doing the evaluation, and looking at the player pool as it stood then, I again spoke to the parent. I relayed my opinion, evaluation, and thoughts on his junior as well as NCAA potential.
The most important part of that evaluation was telling the parent that this journey to NCAA Division One hockey would take years. It would not happen quickly for this player, and then I explained why it wouldn’t happen quickly.
Needless to say, that phone call and conversation was not all warm and fuzzy as I described the hard truths that needed to be heard. The truths that had to be addressed through corrections, and those other truths that needed to be highlighted to decision makers.
Its not easy playing on a team loaded with what others are calling “blue chip” prospects. Playing somewhat in the shadow of others that are getting all the attention from scouts. Its not easy working your ass off every day when you aren’t getting that same attention. It is not easy doing what your told no matter if you believe in it or not.
Nothing good comes easy.
This young man though, he was made of something much different than many of todays young athletes. His compete level, and dedication level are simply off the charts. They are simply unmatched by any player I have met in recent memory.
Four years and two months.
Four years and two months of doing all of the things other players wont do. Doing all of the things he may not have believed he needed to do. Doing all of the things he was told to do whether he agreed with them or not.
Four years and two months of the player questioning “will it ever happen for me?”
Last week, it happened for this young man. An NCAA Division One commitment. A great school first and a great hockey program to go with it.
And the work isn’t done, it is only just beginning.
For all of you who question whether or not it can or will happen to you, remember this is a marathon not a sprint. This takes planning and execution of that plan. This journey you are on will have peaks and valleys. It is a journey though.
Will it happen for all of you who are reading this? No. But NCAA Division One hockey isn’t meant for everyone. It is meant for those who are willing to sacrifice, for those who are willing to give themselves over to others to guide, and coach. It is meant for the student athlete who is not only committed to himself, but to the game.
Four years and two months. One hell of a ride. Highs, lows, doubts, and confidence. Regular seasons, and playoffs. And now the payoff.
It is these journeys that fuel me as an adviser. It is the tenders, drafts, and college commitments. I am a college freshman every fall, and a graduating senior every spring. I experience the lows of losses and the highs of championships.
The point I am trying to get across here is that this ride will be long for most of you. For many of you it will not take you to where you want to go. But, for some of you who are willing to stand up to challenges and do what the guy next to you isn’t willing to do, the sky is the limit.
Four years and two months. Are you willing to commit to that before you get your payoff?
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser