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An Advisers Life – The Commitment Game – Deciphering The Truth In The Recruiting Process

Over the years, I have heard a lot of things. A lot of claims, a lot of bragging, and for lack of a better phrase, a lot of bullshit.

Right now, every team in every league is recruiting for next season. Either in person, on the phone, over social media or through email. Everyone is looking to get next season started now.

All the talk about commitments. That is the big carrot. That is what every team in every league uses to recruit. It is the big ammunition in the fight against other teams who are recruiting the same players.

It is not what you should be paying attention to. At least not without doing real research.

Lets make one thing absolutely clear. The “league” doesn’t make the player, the “players” make the league. The “team” doesn’t make the player who they are, the “players” make the team what it is.

There are good teams and bad teams in every league at every level. So don’t buy into the “league”, look at each and every team individually. The quality of the leagues commitments, and the perceived level of play is not the same from team to team.

If you are on a bad team in a good league, you are going nowhere. When I say bad team I mean a team that no one scouts, is not competitive, has no confirmed track record of moving players upward.

Commitment claims are just that, “claims” or “announcements”. They mean nothing until the player is enrolled at the school and actually playing NCAA hockey.

Hundreds of “commitments” are duplicate claims. Leagues are claiming commitments from players who are “alumni”. Not exactly an honest claim of getting the player committed.

Hundreds more “commitments” are claims made by leagues when the player enrolls in an NCAA program even though he had his NCAA commitment before he got to play in the junior league making the claim.

Now here is the real sneaky one;

There are a number of teams in a number of leagues claiming NCAA commitments when in fact those players are ACHA commitments. This is downright deceitful, and I saw this one again from a Junior A league in Canada just yesterday.

It’s time to start going through those “claims” of “commitments” before you agree to play for a team. Don’t look at last years commitments.

Drill deeper. Look two seasons back at the commitments. See who they announced as a commitment and then go an see if they played.

See if those “committed” players actually played NCAA hockey. See if those “committed” players actually made the commitment while playing for that program. See if those “committed” players actually played or are playing NCAA hockey.

So many players do not clear the admissions process, or do not make the team in the case of D-3, that the commitment numbers being reported by many leagues can not be trusted. Yes. At D-3 you have to make the team every year.

When a team starts talking about “commitments” in the “league”, unless they are an expansion team it means they have no commitments of their own worth talking about.

Don’t fall for numbers. The numbers are being manipulated. Be smart if you want to go to college, and do the math before you play junior or commit to a team.

If you can’t do that, then hire an adviser. If you’re not willing to do the work, then when you are left disappointed, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser


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