Key Steps To Recruited For Junior And College Hockey

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Key Steps To Recruited For Junior and College Hockey

Players and parents often ask me for steps that can be taken to start getting recognized and recruited. Here are three:

1. Have a Professional Relationship With Your Coach

Getting recruited to play in the CHL or NCAA is a bit like applying for a job. Good references go a long way. While scouts can watch as many games as they want and have brief chats with you after games, they want to know what you are like off the ice and in the dressing room. They want to know if you are “coachable”, how serious you take the game and what your off ice conditioning is like.

Coaches are best positioned to provide that type of information to scouts and they will be sure to get in touch with your current coach if they are serious about you. If you have a bad relationship with your coach, if you don’t work hard in practice, if you are lazy and unfocused it doesn’t matter how good your stats are this will dissuade scouts from taking a chance on you.

2. Pursue Hockey Specific Training and Nutrition

It wasn’t long ago that players could get by without off ice training and a focus on nutrition, stamina and overall fitness. Todays game requires more than just natural talent. We have all seen talented players no longer playing, and someone is always asking, "what happened"?

Its no longer enough to just have the type of God given talent that put Wayne Gretzky atop the records books. Even Sydney Crosby has to pursue intense off ice training and nutrition to be at his best in the NHL.

So, no matter what your skill level is, if you are serious about getting recruited, take fitness seriously. Training camps for most Jr leagues now require fitness testing standards in order to make the team.

3. Get a Family Advisor or Agent

Hockey is like most things in life, many times its who you know not what you know. So unless you know a ton of hockey scouts from the leagues and teams you want to pursue, you’re not off to a great start. That’s where family advisors and agents come in. They help create the buzz around players necessary to get exposure.

There is a very large difference between an agent and an advisor. Many people can be both, and the terms of the agreement are what determine which you will be working with. If they don’t have a contract, that is a red flag. Would you play for a team without signing a contract? No contract means problems down the road. If terms are not defined, someone else may define them for you in a way that may cost you more than you bargain for.

A good rule of thumb; Agents work for future earnings on commission, Advisors charge fee’s for advising services. If anyone calls themselves an advisor and is not charging you a fee, you are in an agent relationship and you are no longer NCAA eligible.

If you are playing Major Junior, or do not plan to attend college, then you may get an agent. Someone who looks to get paid down the road once you make it professionally. NCAA rules forbid an athlete from accepting expenses or gifts of any kind from an agent or anyone else who wishes to provide services to the student-athlete. Such payment is not allowed because it would be compensation based upon athletic skill and preferential benefit not available to the general student population.

NCAA rules forbid a student-athlete from receiving preferential benefits or treatment because of the athlete’s reputation, skill or potential as a professional athlete. As an example, if an Agent is typically compensated $10,000.00 commission per year on the average contract they negotiate, if you accept those services without paying for them you are receiving a $10,000.00 improper benefit. If caught you will at the minimum have to pay that fee for each year of service, and will most times be ineligible for any NCAA sports.

These rules mean that an agent can not work for an athlete or the athletes family for free while the athlete competes as an amateur at any junior or college level when the agent is doing so with the understanding that he will be compensated at a later date. Receiving benefit of the agents advice while an amateur without actually paying what is a "reasonable and customary" fee for those services is an example of an athlete receiving a preferential benefit.

Whether they consciously notice it or not, scouts are led to believe that if a family advisor or agent is willing to back you that you must be worth a look. Agents and family advisors are at least important in getting you noticed and considered seriously. So convincing an agent or adviser to take you on as a player can go a long way. Just be careful to comply with NCAA eligibility rules.

While putting up big numbers is important for many players, numbers aren’t always the end game. There are lots of players with less than impressive stats who got recruited based on their relationships along with their potential.

Joseph Kolodziej – Family Adviser – Hockey Talent Management

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