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An Advisers Life – Deciphering All Of Those Camp Invitations

It is that time of year.  Every team in North America is looking for players and sending out camp invitations.  But what do they all mean?

I will try to provide some simple, yet useful tools to help you decipher whether or not the camp invitation should go immediately into the trash or if it should be looked at more closely.

First off are team camps that are labeled “pre draft” or “open”.  All of these should simply be deleted.  Here is why;

If a team pre scouts you, they already have an opinion of whether or not you can make the team.  If they think you can, they should tender, draft or invite you right to main camp.  That’s it.  Simple common sense.

If they are “unsure” or the classic “need to see more” of you at one of these camps, then they either do not trust their scouting staff to make good decisions on players, or no one really watched you closely enough to make a decision.  Either way, this is not a team you want to play for because you learned from the very beginning that they are not very well run internally.

As an Adviser, none of my clients attend these ridiculous camps, and they are ridiculous because you have less than a one percent chance of making a team after attending these camps.  Less than one percent.  If you don’t believe me, save all the rosters from all the pre draft and open camps you go to, and then look who ends up on the teams.  We did for five years.

Now that we all know its best to go to main camp, we also need to break things down from there.

How big will main camp be?  Will there be more than 80 players?  More than 100 players?  How many actual open roster spots at your position are available?

Lets do some easy math you can use without actually doing the in depth research that I do for my clients.

There are 23 roster spots.  Lets say 21 and assume the goaltending is set.  Lets assume 10 players have aged out, or moved on.  That is a very large number for any team.

We start with ten open roster spots.  Then we have the draft.  Lets say they only draft ten players.  Though they will draft more than that.  Lets say they cut all but five players.  That leaves five open roster spots to fill at main camp.

Keep in mind this doesn’t account for those “tendered” players.  So lets assume they keep two of those tendered players.  We are now down to three openings.

This means when you attend a main camp, you have a three percent chance of getting one of those roster spots if there are 100 players attending.  That’s it.  Three percent chance to start with.  Now what do you think the percentage is for the player who has to play through a “pre draft” and “open” camp to get to that three percent chance in “main camp”?

Import player, or identification camps;

A complete waste of time and money.  If they like you then they should sign you or draft you if you are an import player.  If not, do not waste your time and money traveling out of the country for an opportunity that is already limited by governing body rules.


Its a pretty bleak picture when you look at things using the actual numbers.  Its a picture that defines some simple truths everyone can see.

The truth is that what you did this season is far more important then what team camps you attend this summer.  What you did this season will determine if you are a tendered player, drafted player, pre draft camper, or a player that goes right to main camp.

The truth is that what you are attempting to do is difficult.  It is made more difficult by a poorly designed tryout system.  Actually there is no real design to it, and it is a disorganized mess, but that’s another story.

Now consider that all of these same teams will be scouting all of the spring and summer showcases.  Why would they be out at these events if they did all this work leading up to camp season?  The simple truth is that they know the best players do not attend the team pre draft and open camps.  The best players are found at showcase or combine events.

The other simple and final truth is that every camp is a money maker.  Every camp, every showcase, every event you go to.  Stop trying to define camps as “cash grabs” because if these camps didn’t exist, and if less educated consumers stopped going, many of these teams wouldn’t exist.

Free to play hockey is going to cost someone some money, some where, some how.  The trick is to limit what you pay by better defining your opportunity.  Defining opportunity, is what in most cases determines success or failure.

As an Adviser its my job to help define opportunity, and increase percentages of probability, not possibility.  There is a big difference between probability and possibility.  Possibility is a game of chance, probability is measuring the likelihood of whether one plan will be more successful than another.

Whether you have an Adviser or not, if you avoid these camp pitfalls, you begin to eliminate the game of chance, and you begin to enter situations with higher degree’s of predictability or probability.  This is what the top prospects have been doing for decades.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser

[email protected]

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