The truth sometimes hurts. That saying has been around since people could speak and it remains true today as it did hundreds of years ago.
Though it might hurt, nothing is more important than the truth. Especially when you are evaluating and planning your path forward in hockey.
The truth is that there are ten million players for every one Connor McDavid. There are ten thousand players for every other NHL player. There are five thousand players for every one NCAA D-1 player. There are two thousand players for every NCAA D-3 player. There are one thousand players for every USHL or Major Junior player. There are five hundred players for every Tier II player.
These are estimates of course, but they represent truthful estimates. So what can you take from these numbers?
The truth is that that odds of successfuly reaching your goals are against you. Thats a truth that should sting a little. And that sting is something that should wake you up to the fact that you had better have a plan A and a plan B.
That truth should also wake you up to the fact that if you’re name is not Connor McDavid, you better start listening to people who tell you the hard truths. Hard truths are the building blocks of knowledge and future success. Recognizing the real things will allow you to plan appropriately and will ultimately lead you to the highest level you are capable of playing in.
Players deserving of playing in the NHL almost always make it there. Even an average NHL player is a hyper exceptional athlete that is clearly far better than most hockey players.
Players who are deserving of high level NCAA or Junior hockey also almost always make it to the level they should play at.
The few exceptions of players not making it to where they could play are usually found in those players who have off ice issues, or those who refuse to listen to people who actually tell them the truth but the player doesnt like it, and doesnt embrace the truth.
An example of not listening to the truth is in a conversation I had with a potential client the other day.
The player, a good prospect, has a “tryout” with a Tier II team in Canada at the end of August. The team is legitimately interested in him. Yet, there is only one, possibly two open roster spots for him to win at his position, and he will be the youngest player trying to win the position.
While it is not impossible, it is unlikely that he will beat an older more experienced player out for one of those positions.
When presented with backup options, some of which are actually better than the players main option, the player does not want to take any of them. Putting all of his eggs in one basket because he thinks he deserves the spot he is fighting for, when in fact no player deserves anything until they earn it.
The parents are letting the child make the decision. The child had no success when making the decision last year and was on a bad team in a bad position.
Accepting the truth of your individual situation will make your decision making easier.
You cannot accelerate the development process. You will not be moving up until you are ready, and when you are ready it will be somebody else who tells you that you are ready. You wont pick your team, the team will pick you.
So if all of these truths make sense, why do so many players ignore what is the truth? Why do parents enable the players to ignore the truth?
If you are a third line guy at AAA, why do you think you can make a USHL team? If you are a third line guy in Tier 3 what makes you think you are ready to play Tier 2? If you are 16 what makes you think you are going to beat out a 20 year old player for a Tier 2 spot?
95% of players will fall into a development path, and it will be longer than what the player expects. The path that you fall into is unique to you because no two players are the same. While player paths may intersect at some points they never travel the same way consistently. Players need to take a long look in the mirror at this point in the summer and evaluate what they are doing, and what their path is.
Every HTM client at this point has at least three main camp or contract signing opportunities, if they were not already drafted or tendered. Not one of them had to attend an open camp or pre draft camp for junior positions, and none of them had to attend “ID” camps in Canada or for AAA teams in the USA.
Why is that? Simple answer. Every HTM client is put on a path that will allow them to be a dominating player at their position which is the only way any player is ever going to move higher. Dominating players move up and it is that simple.
When you are ready to face truths, and formulate a plan for success, I look forward to hearing from you.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser