Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – Team Camps Or Showcases?

Yes, I have many e-mails. Whether players must visit the individual team open camps or attend showcases and tournaments.  This is a very good question, but that should be easy to answer.

Why a player will spend the summer camp team camp of the team? This concept is just stupid. This is not only stupid, but it would be very expensive.

How many times do players get the email from the individual team that is to “undiclosed recipients”?  This is a mass email.  This is an invitation that any player can accept and pay to attend.  If a team was very interested, why should they call on the phone, or spend time to reach you personally as an individual?

Unless it is a main camp, or an invite only camp offer, these team camps are just revenue generators for the teams.  Why do parents and players not ask the question; How many players are attending this camp?  If you think you can play your way though an open team camp of 100 players or more, and then make it through a main camp with 60 players, and win one of a few open spots on a roster, then you are kidding yourself. 

If you are an undrafted, unsigned or not tendered player your odds of making a team above Tier III through that process are somewhere in the range of 100 to 1.

Showcases and summer tournaments are what players should spend their time on.  The teams will be at these events.  Why pay to be seen by one team at their event when you can be seen by many teams at one showcase or tournament? 

The odds of getting a main camp invite at a showcase or tournament are much greater because you are playing for more teams, not just one team.  Is it not better to have the potential of receiving multiple offers from multiple teams than to limit yourself to one team?

Showcases and tournaments also have to be looked at closely.  Some like to say certain teams are coming, or certain coaches are coming.  Do not count on a head coach attending.  It will usually be a scout for a team.  Do not expect to see any one certain person at any one event.  With so many events in the summer, coaches are simply not able to attend all of them.

Learn where the scouts are going to be that most effect you.  If you a a junior player looking to find a school, learn which events are more focussed on you.  If you are a player looking to get to higher levels of junior hockey, go to where those teams will send scouts.

Parents and players need to educate yourselves.  If you spend $300 on a team open camp fee. $200 on your hotel, $200 for travel, and $100 for food for three days, you are spending $800 for a 1 in 100 chance.  If you attend 6 camps you will spend at least $4800 attending camps to be seen by 6 teams.  That would be a very low estimate on expenses.

If you attend $800 attending a showcase or tournament to be seen by a multitude of teams, which is the most cost effective way to expose a player to teams?

Finally, parents should not allow coaches to talk to their children about attending open team camps.  If a coach is serious about a player the coach will talk to the players parents, adviser or agent before trying to talk to the player.  The coach will respect the professional recruiting process.

Talking to an adult will not allow coaches to manipulate players, or gain an advantage in the recruiting process because the player “likes” the coach.

If you are a player or a parent who feels that promises made are badly broken by coaches, then take yourselves out of the situations that would allow for that pattern to be repeated.  If you are a parent or a player that repeatedly makes the “team camp tour” each summer, take yourselves out of the loop.

Attending a few good showcases and tournaments should provide you with enough main camp invites to avoid having to participate in the “team camp tour” each year.  Start using your head and stop making team camp decisions based on emotion.

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