For the past twenty-five years or so I've struggled with the inequalities
that exist in the developmental system of hockey. Geography should have never
become such a major factor in the equation.
The belief that talent will be able to overcome all obstacles is a myth,
especially when one of those obstacles is money. The costs associated with high
level competitive youth hockey have become astronomical, pricing itself well
outside the budget for the typical household.
Why has the game become so expensive? The first excuse out of the
establishment's mouth is going to be cost of ice-time and travel. What they
fail to mention is the high-cost of full-time professional coaches that want to
give their youth team the same amenities as a Western Hockey League club.
Don't get me wrong, it is impressive to see a plane full of young
athletes returning home after a long weekend of hockey but I can't help but
think about the costs.
So what can be done?
The misperception is that a prospect has to play AAA youth hockey to make
it anywhere and that is simply not true. If that level of play is not
affordable, prospects should just stay home and play locally.
JuniorHockey.com's new Prospect List with the Video Evaluation System
(VES) was designed to revolutionize the way that prospects are identified and
recruited. Geography and money are put aside for proven ability to play the
We are utilizing criteria, inspired by the National Hockey League's own
Central Scouting evaluations, which can be seen while watching a video.
Coaches, general managers, scouts, and recruiters from across the entire
platform of the game will be rating prospects without the preconceived opinion
about that player's ability. The blind evaluation is just that, blind. All the
evaluator knows about the prospect while scoring is the age, number, and
It is not until the video evaluation is complete can the evaluator get
more information about the prospect.
Prospect registration for this system is very affordable ($150 year) and
requires that the prospect regularly update their personal information
regarding statistics, academics, or even injuries.
Evaluators are required to score a minimum of four prospects a month in
order to see evaluation scores, contact prospects, or to utilize special search
tools designed to make the identification process easier.
The idea behind the system was to shrink the world of prospective junior
and college players while expanding the overall reach for junior and college
teams. In our system, a prospect from New Mexico is equally accessible as one
from New England.
So how are prospects scored?
Players are evaluated based on the following criteria:
Recovery to Feet
Keeping Body Centered to
Forwards & Defensemen
Puck Skills, Shooting
Hockey Sense, Playmaking
Hockey Sense, Discipline
The evaluator watches the four minute video while scoring the prospect
and is limited to a score that is within 2 points of the current score. For example:
Player #34531 Rating
Skating, Speed 4 Scoring
options are 2,3,4,5,6
Skating, Mobility 5 Scoring
options are 3,4,5,6,7
Puck Skills, Stickhandling 6 Scoring
options are 4,5,6,7,8
By reducing the scoring to just five options (on a 0-10 point scale) we
are able to eliminate the possibility of a single evaluator drastically
inflating or reducing an average with an extreme opinion.
This system was created to give every player that desires to play at the
junior, college, or even professional level a vehicle that not only guarantees exposure
but also provides a comprehensive measure of their current abilities.
Players from the pee-wee level to the last year of juniors will be
welcome to the system. Youth clubs that require participation will be designated
as JuniorHockey.com Partner Associations.
Open registration for prospects will begin in November while coaches,
scouts, and recruiters are being encouraged to join the system now and can
register here: http://www.juniorhockey.com/videoevaluations/participate.php
JuniorHockey.com is the premier website
dedicated to delivering the latest news and developing stories from junior
hockey across North America, as well as providing online tools for junior
hockey players and prospects. With over 225,000 views each month
Juniorhockey.com is the internet's leading source of junior hockey news and
Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco,
Mexico with his wife, Maria, and their two children, Sonia and Tomas. Follow
him on Twitter @StephenHeisler for up to minute updates from the
world of junior hockey.