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Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach – Touring The Summer Tryout Camps This Past Weekend

This past weekend I spend in the Detroit area.  With three NAHL camp and one USHL camp taking place I figure this is the best place to spend my weekend doing the work.

I take my time watching the player, and listening to everyone as I always do.  I hear some good and some bad, and I see some good and some bad.  One very similar thing with each camp though is that the level of play is very inconsistent.  It is disappointing actually.

I hear parent talking that they send the player so they get the “experience of playing against USHL and NAHL players”.  This just show how many of you parent an player do not understand what is going on or the process.   USHL and NAHL player already in the league do not go to “open”, “pre draft” or “futures” camp!  They do not need to go.  So all you play against is the same player making the same uneducated decision thinking you getting some “experience” when all you get is same level of competition you have all year.

Team not being selective with these camp.  It look like any player who want can pay the fee and attend.  This is the serious problem with summer camp, or future camp, prospect camp or the team pre draft camp.  It is simply not right.

Because any player can register, some player who not ready get the wrong idea that they are ready.  Some player think the team actually interested in them when they are not.  It is misleading and unfair to the player team may actually be interested in as well.

Why have the player who is ready or close to ready be forced to play with the player who is not but can afford to pay the fee?  Why risk the player being hurt because someone do the wrong thing on the ice?

It is clear that these team camp are just money maker to me.  Sure they will find the few player to bring to the main camp.  They might find one or two player that is the draft prospect.  But that is obviously the very low number.  It is amazing to me how many player and parent willing to go through this.

So, I end the weekend in Muskegon at the Pre Draft Combine to make the comparison.  There is no comparison in the end.  Not a single team camp came close to what I saw in the All Star game at the Combine.  I even catch two game before the All Star and they were better than anything I see in Detroit.  Smaller group of player yes, but clearly better quality player.

So I have to question all you parent now who went to one of the four camp in Detroit this weekend.  Will you continue to do the same thing you always do?  Will you waste more time and money in the individual team camp?  Or will you finally be smart?

When you always do what everyone else do, you become the sheep.  I would rather live one day as the lion than a lifetime as the sheep.


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