As the publisher of TJHN I have the pleasure of reading over all stories a few days before they are published. Its entertaining most of the time, and fun some of the time.
What I really enjoy and take pride in doing though is working as a family adviser for players and parents around the world. Its extremely fulfilling to help players achieve their goals, and assist them along the way toward NCAA hockey. The culmination of a players work and a families commitment to sacrifice in order to help get the player there are scenes I get to watch every year. Its a great payoff.
Yesterday I spoke to a group of twenty players about their paths toward college hockey. General information on resume’ building and preparing themselves was offered as part of team education program. It was shocking to me to learn how few had any type of plan to achieve that dream. Its not their fault by any means, but shocking none the less.
Yesterday TJHN featured our weekly Confessions Of A Junior Hockey Coach, and it addressed that parents and players do not understand the rules of junior hockey. The timing of that article and my group presentation was not lost on me yesterday. As the day went on and I kept thinking about this problem, when two more disturbing examples were brought to my attention from a colleague.
Both instances taking place with the University of Vermont Hockey Team. The University of Vermont, a widely respected educational institution, and fantastic hockey program had two players with issues be forced to sit because of NCAA rule violations, that could have been easily avoided had the parents and players known the rules.
Freshman defenseman Trey Phillips will miss the first 15 games of the season. Phillips, who attended several high schools during his junior hockey days, was delayed in taking all courses necessary to become an NCAA qualifier. A student-athlete must be an NCAA qualifier to receive financial aid through an athletic scholarship.
Kyle Reynolds, originally thought to have this season and next left to play, is now in his final year of eligibility. Reynolds missed the entire season a year ago with a severe injury but because he entered Vermont as a 21-year-old who had played junior hockey after his 21st birthday, the “NCAA clock” of eligibility had started the year before he joined the Catamounts. Once the clock starts, a player has five years in which to play his four years of eligibility.
Both of these issues have cost the player games, experience, and opportunity.
Both of these issues could have easily been avoided had the parents and players known and understood the rules. Both of these problems would not have come up had the parents hired a decent adviser.
Now normally I don’t talk a whole lot about advisers and do not solicit business, but these types of problems are not only becoming more common, but they are so easily fixable that they should never happen. Thinking that all you have to do is play junior and then move on to school is simply not how it works.
If you are a parent or player thinking of playing college hockey then you should be working with an adviser. There are so many rule changes and details to be taken care of that it is money well spent. Even if you think you have all the items covered, it is an extra set of eyes with a level of expertise that can at least assure you that you have done everything needed.
If you think your coach is going to do everything for you, or understand all the rules, or make sure everything is in order, your making a mistake. Both of these players came from excellent programs and had issues that will cost them games. No one is responsible for your playing future except you. Why leave anything to chance?
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher