Far too often I hear of players and parents receiving bad advice on how to manage or direct their junior hockey career. Unfortunately the two most common instances come when a player is nearing the end of his junior career, and when a player has follwed the advise he has received from friends.
As a parent or a player, why would you wait until you have a few weeks or months, or a year left in your junior career before seeking the help of a professional?
As a parent or player, why would you seek advice from other players or parents who are not in your particular situation?
No player is the same as another. Skill sets, strengths, and academic differences are many and varied. Knowing this, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all solution”, thinking that there is may be a road to ruin.
Just because “Johnny” played with “Joey” and “Joey” is not playing here, soes not mean “Johnny” is able, or entitled to be where “Joey” is. It also does not mean that he cant get to a similar place. What it does mean is that every players path to success is different, and no player is assured of anything, no matter who or where they played in the past.
Choosing showcases, tryouts, and other camps can be confusing. Its natural to want to seek advice from people in choosing which ones to attend. The difference is in knowing which camps and events focus on which types of players. Not every event is the same, and some are better for certain types of players and not so good for others. What worked for “Jonny” may not, and usually doesnt work for “Joey”.
All summer long I will hear stories about the many tryouts certain players go to. Last year I actually heard from a parent that spent nearly ten thousand dollars on camps when adding up camp fees, travel, hotel, and meals. Why would any parent do this when it doesnt have to be this way.
Hire an advisor. Save yourself thousands of dallars and hundreds of hours and find a professional.
A good advisor is going to direct you to the specific events and camps that are best for your specific player in his specific circumstances. The options for a 1995 birth date player will be much different than those of a 1993 birthdate player this summer. The options for a 1996 are different than those of a 1994.
Why spend money on a tryout where a team has no openings for a defenseman? Does anyone believe any team is going to say “sorry we are all set on defense” when a person is looking to attend a camp? Why would a 1997 forward think they have an opportunity to make a team that is returning ten forwards with at least one year of junior experience over a team that is only returning six?
Why would a power forward who specializes in a crash and bang, dump and chase system try to go to a puck possession team tryout?
It is the information that a good advisor can provide that will make the difference between target specific event attendance and thowing it all against the wall to see what sticks. It is the good advisor that will save you thousands every summer. It is the good advisor that already knows which teams and which events will provide the right exposure for certain types and ages of players.
You can not find the detailed information your player needs for success on a message board or from other parents. Just because my next door neighbor got lucky on a stock pick does not mean I am going to let him manage my retirement fund. Would you give a million dollars to a nameless, faceless stanger? Asking advice from strangers is placing your hockey career in the hands of someone who may actually be competing against you for a roster position.
No matter how good the intentions, the advice you are likely receiving will not be specific to your needs and may end up costing you a lot more than just a missed opportunity. You could be missing out on a path that takes you to college, saving you tens of thousands in tuition along the way.
Some may say this is an attempt to promote one company over another. It is not. It is an attempt to save parents and players the heartache of missed opportunity and an inability to fulfill their dreams.
The junior hockey and college hockey experience is something players remember for the rest of their lives. It is also an experience many miss out on because they dont have the information to get them where they want to go. Every player has his own uniquie path, the key is in finding the most direct path for you.
Have realistic goals. Make a clear plan. Understand that not every player is able to reach certain levels, but that there is a place for nearly everyone to play if you know where to look. Do not leave things to chance.
The old saying that “it doesnt matter where you play, if youre good enough they will find you” is no longer true. Teams, like all of us, have budgets for scouting. Doesnt it make sense to make it easier for those teams to find you?
If youre a player or a parent of a player, do yourself a favor and at least talk to a professional. The difference they could make for you could be life changing.