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An Advisers Life – Scouting In Las Vegas

Every year, the trek to Las Vegas is made by hundreds of players and parents from around the world. Why not? there is something for everyone in Vegas.

For me, Las vegas has always been a great place to meet a lot of players and parents that are new to the adventure that we call junior hockey. It is very much a “wake up call” to the realities of both the on and off ice components that will weight heavily on their journey.

This year has been no different than in years past, with one exception.

Players and parents, while having an abundance of reources that were not availabe even five years ago, do not know where to find them or how to use them.

COVID, changed a lot of things. And what I am seeing now is the COVID generation of players who missed seasons, or had seasons interrupted. What is interesting about this group is not that they were somehow ahmpered in their physical development by COVID, but that many of them di not spend a lot of time learning about junior hockey and its mechanisms before they entered its availability.

I never tall parents they should know anything about junior hockey. They really shouldnt know much, and the less they know is usually better. Nothing can derail a players career like a parent who is too involved or too knowlegable, other than a player who thinks that because something happened for a player he knows that it should happen for him.

When it comes to showcases, Las Vegas has one of the best turnouts of scouts at every level from NCAA to U16 AAA. they are certainly out in force once again this year. This is what makes independent showcases far superior to any individual team or league event.

When you have scouts from the NAHL sitting next to NCDC and AJHL or BCHL scouts, you have competition for the best players. Everyone gets the same information on players, everyone watches the players for themselves. It elimiates the the thinking of one league being so much better than the other, and it forces players and parents to compare team to team, not league to league.

The same is true for the EHL and USPHL or U18 and the hockey academies. It is about direct comparison and learning the differences between programs.

Players make the team, teams make the league. Thats how it works, not the other way around. Whats right for one player may not be right for another. Each path is unique.

With two days to go, I am looking forward to talking to more players and parents. I am also preparing a special edition of An Advisers Life Podcast to address some interesting notes I made, and some insights from some coaches over the course of the event that will be of interest to parents and players.

Until next week, I will see you in the rink.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser

[email protected]

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