Congratulations! You just completed an NAHL Combine, and now you are on the top of every teams draft and recruiting list. Really, congratulations. It must be amazing to be so wanted, and to be getting all this attention after no one talked to you once during last season. (sarcasm font)
So you took the bait, and you went to an NAHL combine. You come home from the event and you are getting bombarded with emails from NAHL and NA3HL teams who really want you. But there is a catch.
They really want to “see more of you” at one of their team camps, pre draft camps, or open camps.
The question is, are you going to be one of the sheep that gets on the summer camp circuit? Are you going to dish out an average of $6,000 over the course of the summer chasing camps that you have no real opportunity of making the team?
Do you really think, when every Tier II team in North America has scouts watching games all year at the AAA level, that all of a sudden they noticed you? IF you do, then magic beans are also available on aisle five.
Forget the fact that you just spent a lot of money thinking you were going to get an NAHL experience, when you really just got to play against all the players you have already played against.
Now, you have at least a dozen more camp invites to cypher through. Which teams have real interest? Which teams are only after your money? Which teams are only bringing you to camp for their Tier 3 team to sign?
If you’re a goalie. Which team will have 40 or 60 goalies at camp? Yes, those are real numbers.
Don’t get mad at the NAHL for putting their events on. They are operating a business. Business’s take cash flow to operate, people have to be paid, and the brand needs to be marketed. It is a business, and its time you started treating hockey as a business.
So, what are you going to do now with all these “opportunities”?
If you don’t know, then its time to get some help and hire and adviser before you waste a lot of time and money. An adviser that doesn’t have you attending stupid camps that anyone can go to. An adviser that gets you placed directly in main camp, or directly placed on a team.
Don’t want to hire an adviser? No problem. Try finding out exactly how many real openings there are at your position on a team before signing up for a camp? How many left handed forwards do they need, or right handed defense do they need? How many players are they expecting from the USHL cut downs? How many players are actually going to be invited to camp to try out for how many open positions?
How many of the tendered players are in your position group? Do they expect to lose any players in your position group to the USHL?
These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before any player agrees to attend any camp. Any team not answering them should not be getting your money. And none of them will truthfully answer mom or dad calling on behalf of Johnny because if Johnny doesn’t come, Billy down the street will take his place.
Do I sound cynical? Maybe, but I am not. I understand the business, from the team side, the league side and the player/parent side. I am a realist, not someone selling magic beans on aisle five.
For all you parents who are trying to give your children the best opportunity possible to play NCAA hockey in the future it is time to be realistic. If you are not talking to NCAA programs by the time you are 16 or 17, you are not in the top group of players that NCAA and the top junior leagues are looking at. Maybe you can compete in that level, but clearly you have been over looked.
There are reasons you are being over looked. Lack of talent, bad organization you played for, bad coach, or any other number of reasons. Getting on the summer camp circuit is not going to change your getting over looked.
While an adviser is not the immediate cure or fix for being over looked, a good one will find out why you have been over looked, and if he is a real adviser, he will put you in a position to finally be seen in a light that is most favorable to you.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser