This past weekend, myself and two other scouts that work for TJHN and Hockey Talent Management attended the USA Hockey Tier II Midget Nationals in Troy Michigan. Normally this was an event we would not have covered, but a few teams asked for scouting reports on a few players.
The good news;
We are happy we went. There was a lot of very good hockey being played at this level. Some players clearly could play at a higher Midget or Junior level, and many players exhibited potential for growth.
With teams from Tampa Florida and Greensboro North Carolina winning their National Championship playoff brackets, the south showed everyone that hockey has continued to get better throughout the United States.
With local team Saint Claire Shores Saints in the finals of their bracket the crowd was easily in excess of 1000 people for their championship game against the Southern Connecticut Stars. Both of these teams were favorites to make the final pair as early as friday afternoon.
The Saints are big and physical, and in earlier games dominated the play in nearly every facet. The Stars were not as big, and very fast.
The Saints tried to push the Stars around, unfortunately that only took place when they could physically catch them. The Saints played an undiscipliened game, looking for the big hit and taking themselves out of the play instead of just playing hockey. The Stars executed a very nice game plan calling for speed, and forcheck pressure.
The Stars took home the game in stunning fashion, dominating the game from start to finish.
The bad news:
If you are selling scouting passes, you should have scouting information available shouldnt you?
For scouting purposes, there were no junior teams present other than those we were asked to scout for. There were only a few Midget AAA teams scouting the last 2 days of the tournament. Parents were very disappointed at the scouting turnout.
The event did not provide player information sheets for the few scouts that did attend.
When asked, event staff said that on a conference call it was decided to not provide scouting information to teams. That co-ordinators did not want scouts talking to players. Understandable to keep them focussed on the task at hand, but to not provide player information to scouts is not what teams are promising players.
Coaches and scouts should be talking to parents and not players in any event. Parents are paying the bills, they should be the first point of contact.
The promise to promote the player is what recruiting is based on. To deny scouts access to information, even such simple information as rosters with player numbers on them is breaking the promise to the player.
Now teams have to do all of the research to find a player, or go through a coach who clearly does not want to see the player leave, or they would have provided the player information.
Every other tournament or event in the country provides scouting information. This is just another example of people who have a financial interest in players, keeping players and parents from knowing exactly what is going on.
In the end though, the event over all was well managed and run from an on ice standpoint. Referees were fair and quite consistant in how they called the games.
Very few off of schedule moments, and the volunteer support staff did a fantastic job.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher