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Best of the Daily Dish: Prospect or Pretender? Junior Hockey News

Published: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2020  
By: Stephen Heisler,

There are two types of players in the game. The prospect generally has a grasp on reality and the vision of what it is going to take to get to the next level. The pretender talks a good game, but his performance leaves coaches and teammates alike all shaking their heads. Prospects do not grow on trees. They have to be identified.
We see a lot of both in our business, but in the era of individual marketing, crappy advisors, and the internet, it is sometimes way too easy to get fooled. There is nothing like the hard cold facts, and clear video, when it comes to assessing a player from afar.

The player's resume should be very clear and include contact info for the team and coach. There is a huge difference between playing the season with a certain team and getting cut after the first day of try-outs. A lot of players get those two facts confused. Generally, it is the players with a complete and accurate resume that prove to be exactly who they pass themselves off to be. It is the other guys, who list a number of big teams with a limited amount of information, that often prove to be full of hot air.

In this age, video is no longer a big deal, so every player should be uploading game footage to The days of the rock and roll highlight film are behind us. Coaches want to see real game experience to get a good idea of the player's entire body of work. When it comes to video, a lot of guys are not taking advantage of the advances in technology. Prospects and pretenders alike are suffering in this area. A good series of videos will give interested coaches a glimpse of the skill set any player may have.

One of the biggest factors when it comes to identifying prospects is maturity. Coaches want easy players. Guys that do their job in training, prep, are always on time, and generally stay off the coach's radar screen, often get great recommendations when it comes to moving to the next level. It is the other guys who get the business end of the phone calls. We all know the type. The guy with the constant line of personal problems, injuries, and discipline issues. Big talkers with minimal delivery.

Moms are not agents or managers. Keep her off the phone. One of the biggest standing jokes of the game is the constant badgering of coaches by the mommies. This is 2020, not 1984. Mom is not going to be able to wear a short skirt and inspire a young coach into a bad decision. Well, at least not one that is going to have a lasting impact on his roster.   

Prospects prove their worthiness day after day, in games, as well as at practice. Pretenders do a lot of yapping and deliver a ton of baloney.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.
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