After nearly two years of intense development, JuniorHockey.com's Prospect List Video Evaluation System is operational. Getting to this point has not been easy but we can't help but believe that the reward has been worth the hard work.
The Prospects List has the potential to reshape the way players are initially identified and recruited. The Video Evaluation System module gives junior and college teams a comprehensive system that provides a real gauge of where each prospects is today, where he's come from, and what his potential can be. The added benefit of seeing what a cross section of other coaches and scouts have to say about the player is also extremely valuable.
"With the rigors of the season, on and off ice training, travel and a 65 game schedule, it is hard to get out and watch a lot of games in season," said Jersey Hitmen coach Toby Harris. "As every coach knows, recruiting and building relationships is the life blood of a winning organization. With the new Prospects List VES I can now get a snapshot of players from across North America without leaving my team. This product will now help our staff pinpoint perspective players for our USPHL franchise. We really look forward to using JuniorHockey.com's Prospect List Video Evaluation System."
The system would be what it is without the addition of our partner Bliss Littler. The winningest coach in USA Hockey Tier I & II history has been instrumental in setting up the evaluation criteria and scoring system. His personal experience and insights have instantly given the system credibility that could never have been purchased or earned.
"This is a great place for coaches to store video of their players for colleges to look at. Prospects can ask their coach to help with this by sending in video clips for them. Instead of sending clips to all the different junior and college teams, players are able to have them available in one location," Littler said on Thursday. "For the younger player this could be a great head start to get their foot in the door with a junior team. Instead of going from camp to camp they will have video up that coaches can look at and help to see if the prospect might be a good fit."
"I think this system will grow into something that turns into the norm in the future," Littler continued. "Players are able to update clips often with a great place to store all contact information for college and junior programs to have access to."
There are roughly 8,000 players on nearly 400 junior hockey teams across the counties of Canada and the United States. Add in the thousands of players at the high school, bantam and midget levels and that number is multiplied many times over.
A mere fraction of these players have any kind of shot at the glory of the National Hockey League so college hockey is a more attainable goal. There are 135+ teams playing NCAA hockey across three divisions. Only 59 of those teams are playing at the Division I level. The American Collegiate Hockey Association and Canadian collegiate hockey also provides opportunities to play good hockey while in school.
"This concept will revolutionize the way junior and NCAA schools evaluate players for their rosters. The system allows for coaches to assess players based upon seeing players in multiple real game situations," Marquette Royale boss Mike Stanaway said of the system. "During the showcase circuits, players have to rely on playing well at the right time with the right set of eyes on them. Although I do attend these showcases, rarely do I actively recruit players from these events."
"The Prospects List system allows coaches to see a player compete with teammates that he is familiar with and in actual game settings. I value being able to evaluate a players fundamental skills along with seeing him play in real game situations," Stanaway continued. "The showcase system is flawed. Players are put into situations where they are not playing a team game and playing with unfamiliar players that may be on a different skill level. This system allows coaches to see the player for what he is and to evaluate how he competes in real game scenarios."
The system of development in the United States is geared to push players to these NCAA programs. In contrast, Hockey Canada's system identifies professional prospects almost right out of the womb. In Canada, hockey is the king of sports, here in the United States, the sport is lucky to break the top five. Canada has eleven leagues at, or equal to, the USHL and NAHL. There are also twenty-four leagues at lower levels of play. All of these players would love to get the chance to earn one of those coveted NCAA roster spots, and often do.
At this point in a player's life, parents have spent a small fortune on teams, camps, equipment, gasoline, and time. Very few players are going to the NHL; so many parents just hope just hope for a free, or even reduced, cost to play in college.
So what separates the prospect from the pretenders? Abilities on the ice are an absolute waste if the prospect does not have the academics to match. That is not a popular statement to make, but ask just about every college coach and you will hear the same thing. College coaches are also going to talk about being a good citizen and ability to fit into the team.
In the past, players have had to hit the summer circuit of tryouts and showcase events to get noticed. That system is designed for a single result, to pad the wallets of the organizing entity. Quick, how many prospects from Canada are hitting this same circuit? How many prospects from Canada are getting NCAA roster spots?
So what's the trick? There is not one. Communications and information is everything. JuniorHockey.com has created the perfect tool to help coaches identify, contact, and follow the progress of prospects.
Today, if a college or higher level junior coach is interested in any certain player, he needs to communicate that interest through the junior or youth level coach. What if he does not know that coach or even worse, does not like him? Most likely the coach will go to the most inexpensive tool in his recruiting arsenal when it comes to getting information about a player? Google.
The Prospects List Video Evaluation System is now another tool for college and junior teams to utilize. With our system players and parents have the ability to directly update the prospect's individual profile. Coaches can choose to follow the progress of these prospects get an email alert every time the prospect's profile is updated.
What is the Video Evaluation System?
The VES is a comprehensive system that gives prospects the opportunity to be seen, and evaluated, by coaches, scouts, and recruiters from the entire spectrum of the game. The prospects either upload a pre-edited four to five minute game video. For a slight premium, simply opt to upload an entire game video and allow Littler's staff to break the game down to a number of consecutive shifts for the evaluation video.
The evaluation process is blind, meaning that the person scoring is only aware of the prospect's number, age, and position. It is not until after the video is scored can the scorer identify the prospect. This is a very important component to the system because it removes any preconceived opinions about the team or player. The scoring is based purely on what the coaches are seeing on the ice.
We have followed suggestions to make the VES evaluation process as simple as possible for the coaches while getting the most important criteria points that can be identified using video.
Upon the conclusion of the evaluation, the coach may elect to follow the progress of the prospect and will get an email alert whenever that profile is updated or VES score is changed. With that in mind, while viewing other Prospects List profiles, coaches can chose to follow the progress of any of the prospects and get the same alerts.
Prospect contact is also a huge concern. Only approved coaches (and scouts) have the ability to contact our prospects, and even then, are able to do so only through the system. We screen messages to ensure that coaches are not trying to poach players laterally. A coach that crosses that line will be warned the first time and deleted the second.
The Propsects List Video Evaluation System is just another example of our commitment to the game while bringing the world of junior hockey closer together.
JuniorHockey.com is ready to start registering participating prospects.
We are seeking youth level players looking to be identified along with junior players hoping to move up. This program gives junior, and college coaches the opportunity to identify and communicate with prospective players without the burden of an additional expense or fee.
For additional information on the program, please feel free to contact me directly at 281-973-2050.