At this time of year, options on where to play, for most players, are becoming very limited. Opportunities to move up a level in the league you play in are going to be few and far between. Notice that “options” and “opportunities” are in bold type.
There is a difference between options and opportunity at this point in the off season. Options are situations in which choices must be made. Opportunities at this point are things that were unexpected a day or two or a week ago that somehow fall into your lap.
While some are going to say that options and opportunities are the same thing. Technically they would be correct because choices have to be made. In this case, the difference between the two is timing.
Options are created throughout the off season and players make choices based on those options. Right now, given the timing, most players have already made their choices or are finalizing them now.
Opportunity at this point is something that happens by chance. It is unexpected and usually takes you by surprise.
For all of you that looked all summer to reach the next level, but were unsuccessful for one reason or another, what would you do now if suddenly an opportunity to sign and reach the next level was presented? What if that opportunity was in another country? Far from home?
What if this opportunity takes you out of your comfort zone?
Sometimes in life, other peoples circumstances changing will present the opportunity for people to create unexpected opportunity. A coach moving, a team relocating, an injury, or another player simply not working out. Any of these things can happen.
Preparing to capitalize on opportunity is part of the mental preparation every athlete must undertake. Preparing to seize opportunity is what you do on and off the ice. Recognizing opportunity can be the difference between a first line goal scorer and a third line grinder.
In todays Junior Hockey environment, while still dealing with NCAA additional year of eligibility, you must be prepared to take chances when opportunity presents itself. You can not waiver or be afraid of change. Chance make champions.
If your option is AA staying at home, because the teams you wanted to play for at AAA didn’t take you, but a AAA spot opens up for you on a team you didn’t consider before, you better not think long.
If a Tier II spot opens in Canada and your only other options are Tier III in the USA, you better not think long.
If an opportunity comes up to play NCAA D-3 this year instead of another year of junior chasing the dream, you better not think long.
Opportunity rarely lasts longer than 48 to 72 hours. If you are not prepared to act, then you are simply not prepared.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser