Its that time of year. The email machine is churning out all of those “interest” notices for every “exclusive” team pre draft camp.
I understand, everyone would like to be drafted. Teams know this too and it is the whole basis on which they market and sell hope through these camps. Even though everyone in hockey knows that team pre draft camps are simply not what parents and players choose to believe they are.
So lets look at the facts about these “Team Pre Draft Camps”. Not the hype used to market them.
Less than one in one hundred players attending one of these team pre draft camps will play a single game for the team that invites them to camp.
Less than one in two hundred will actually be drafted after attending one of these team pre draft camps.
When all of the top leagues have “League Combines” or “League Showcases” that are run by their own league scouting departments, and you weren’t invited to any of them, should you really waste your time on a team pre draft camp?
If you attended one of those league events, why would any team from the league “need to see more”? Didn’t their scout at the event see enough? Or do they need to see more of your parents money?
Players and parents need to understand that these pre draft camps that teams know long before the camp is held who they are going to be drafting.
They know because they are only allowed to “protect” 30 total players on their pre season roster.
Examples of how this works: Team A has 12 returning players, they signed 8 “tenders”, which gives them 10 draft picks. Team B has 15 returning players, signed 8 “tenders” giving them 7 draft picks.
Remember, teams will be drafting players from the USHL if they know they are going to be cut or released. Those players and the top Midget AAA players go in the first three rounds.
Don’t believe me? Look at the draft results each year, they are available on the internet. Its easy research for parents and players.
Teams have been scouting all season long. They have been talking to players directly all season long. They make promises to those players regarding the draft all season long.
If your first contact with a team is an invite to their “pre draft camp” do you really think that they know who you are? Do you really think you have better than a 1 in 200 chance of being drafted?
Players and parents need to know that they are spending a whole lot of money to try out for only one team at the team camp. No other Tier II teams will receive your information.
Invited Tier 3 teams will get your information after you are cut from the camp.
Using common sense, why would you be forced to choose between one team or another team that invites you to their camp but they are both on the same weekend? If you were truly a prospect for that team, you wouldn’t be forced to guess which team camp was the better opportunity for you.
“We need to see more of you” is a sales pitch that really means they have no idea who you are.
If you think you are getting a “Tier II” experience, none of the Tier II players attend these “pre draft camps” because they are already protected and cant be drafted. You are simply playing against the same players you have already played against all year.
All of these teams are using the same email database called RinkNet to send out these massive emails. Your invitation isn’t because you are special, its because they bought your information that you probably had no idea was being sold. Yes, your information is being bought and sold without your knowledge to anyone who can afford it.
Combines, and showcases, where multiple teams, from multiple leagues are recruiting and signing players, are clearly the most effective and produce the best results for players. Year after year this is true.
Combines and showcases allow all teams to attend and provide your information to all those teams.
The best Combines and showcases allow scouts to talk to you during the Combine or showcase. They allow interaction and a chance to really get to know the team you are thinking of signing with.
Its time to get smart with your plan to get to the next level. Time to get efficient with your schedule, and make the most of your money.
Stop buying lottery tickets, and start working a realistic plan.
The same teams holding the “pre draft camps” will have scouts at the Combines and showcases all Spring and Summer long. They will be there because it is simply how scouting works.
Why play in front of one team, when you can play in front of dozens or even hundreds? Be smart. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Avoid team pre draft camps, and spend your money on Combines and Showcases.