"My son has played his backside off for you in each of the last three
seasons," the angry hockey mom told the junior hockey team's head coach. "I can't
understand why other players are getting to school while my boy has not had a nibble?
What did he do to you?"
The coach has been through this conversation before and he told the
player last spring and the spring before that; if he wanted to go to college,
he needed to begin the process to obtain an NCAA Eligibility Center ID number.
"Mrs. B., I've been on his case for two years about beginning the
process," the coach told the mother. "And to tell you the truth, I'm not
convinced that he is even close to being the kind of player that NCAA Division
I or II teams are looking for. Have you considered lowering your expectations?"
"Lowering my expectations?" The mother quickly exploded. "It's YOUR job
to make sure that my son is exactly the kind of player college teams are
"He is a twenty year-old skating on our third line," the coach tried to
stifle his amusement. "He is a hard-worker and plays well enough with what he
brings to the ice, but that does not mean he's getting a free ride to college."
Reality can be a tough pill to swallow. Players have to be proactive in
the process. Parents have to make sure that their sons are doing everything
required along the way. It's not the junior coach's job to hold each player's
hand through that process.
But that's just my opinion.
I've been talking to college coaches continuously in regards to Heisler Group prospects and also have had to face the reality of the situation. These schools have a tremendous pool of talent to choose from. From the United States Hockey League to Canada to the North American Hockey League, college coaches get the opportunity to identify and select exactly what they are looking for.
It takes more than money and desire to win a collegiate opportunity. Something else that everyone needs to think about, just being good is not good enough. There is a really good reason why there are so many Canadian Junior Hockey League and NAHL players on ACHA and NCAA Div. III rosters...because they were not good enough for Division I.
But here is something else people need to consider. There is nothing more that coaches and advisors can do for players than open the doors to opportunity. The players have to step through and make the most of every camp, practice, game, and chance to prove their worthiness to move on to the next level.
There's also much more to being an advisor than just talking to teams. The good advisors sometimes have to hold the hands of their players and walk them through the process. For our players, that starts at age 16, 17, and 18. We can still help the older players, but they are already way behind those that started much earlier.
The key is to start with the academics. Without good numbers in that department, it's going to be a tougher path to the realization of those Division I dreams.
Are you the parent of a player that is unsure about the path to college hockey and beyond? Or maybe are just hoping that the coach will be the one that does that work for you? In either case, don't waste another day in either situation. Call and lets talk about getting onto the right track.
* 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 JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com 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.