Hockey off season, or the season of movement, as I like to call it, is here, which means our inboxes are getting flooded with camp and combine and showcase invites galore. Here’s the thing: recruiters are going to recruit, but you must be careful not to confuse what you extrapolate in your own mind with reality.
Facebook groups and forums everywhere have debates and discussions are over which league is better with posters on both sides citing statistics about advancement. Who advanced more players to the next level? Which league sends more players to college? And when you come off the ice at a showcase, a coach or scout talks up their league or team’s connections and how many kids they advance to the next level. Advancement is a buzzword that everyone uses because it works.
I’m here to tell you that recruiters recruit. It’s their job. Part of the job of coaches and scouts is to fill their rosters, and part of their sales spiel when selling their team is to talk about these kinds of things. The problem comes in when players or parents hear about this advancement and assume it means the person talking about advancement in general is talking about them specifically. This is not usually the case. There isn’t a coach out there who can tell you that you, specifically, will be the one to advance to the next level. They can’t predict the future. It is impossible for them to know what opportunities will come up.
They know that guys are called up to practice with teams or play in a game or two. It’s documented. The leagues and teams like to brag about it. They know they personally have had guys move up to higher levels. They know that there is a pretty good chance of it happening again next season since it has happened the past however many seasons they’ve been coaching. However, they do not know exactly which opportunities are going to come up because that is in the future, and these are hockey coaches, not fortune tellers.
So let’s take a look at these opportunities, eh? Coach in the NAHL needs a stay at home defenseman because he’s got a guy out with an injury so he calls his guy in the NA3 to see if he can send one up for the week to practice and to play two games. The NA3HL delivers and sends one. So if you’re a power forward, that opportunity wasn’t for you. Few weeks later, he gets a call again, but this time for a goalie. He sends one up. Again, if you’re a power forward, that opportunity wasn’t for you. Now, let’s say you are a stay at home D, and maybe you’re even better on the stats sheet than that first guy, but you’re in Texas, and that team was in Minnesota (randomly chosen states that are far from each other). That team in Minnesota is going to call his fellow coaches in the area first because of simple logistics. It’s easier for everyone involved if a player can just drive a few hours rather than arrange a flight, right?
None of those coaches were lying when they gave their spiel about advancement. Advancement happened. Every player on the ice had a chance to prove themselves worthy every shift, every game, every practice, and coaches don’t control the opportunities. Coaches want the advancement just as much as the players do.
If you spend all your time worrying about advancement, how much time are you spending improving your game?
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