It's that time of the year again where everybody is in an all-out blitz trying to fill the rosters of pay-to-play hockey teams for next season. In Today's Dish, we are going to talk about a few things that need to be covered before agreeing to join any pay-to-play team.
Go over the player agreement closely, and then do it again. With the cost of playing for some teams going well over the $10,000 mark, I'd be especially concerned with every aspect of the agreement.
Teams will pressure prospects into committing early and suggest that there is no need to attend other camps and showcase events. Don't buy it. We all know that these leagues claim to all be at the same level of play, they are not.
Be very aware of the bait and switch. If a club is operating more than one junior team, don't fall for the "we have you penciled in for team A right now," what they don't tell parents is that they are often saying the exact same thing to 60 other players. For sure don't fall for the 'we are going to start you out on the B team, but you will move up quickly." That line is used more than the classic bar pickup "Do you come here often?"
Be fully aware of the league's veteran player agreements. A few leagues have placed limitations on veteran player movement in the off-season. In reality, a clear explanation of this policy should be included with the player agreement.
The pay-to-play prospect is a customer, not property. Like any business, customer service is the key to retention of the customer. Make sure to fully document any organizational shortcomings. If the team promises to supply X,Y, and Z as part of the player fee, make sure it's delivered. Don't accept anything less than what was paid for.
The exit is not always pretty. Prospects need to be fully aware of how each player agreement deals with an early exit from the team.
It would be very smart for prospects and parents to add their own addendum to the player agreements. This should be an instant and outright release at the end of the season, or in the event that the team fails to meet their end of the agreement.
With so many pay-to-play options out there, players have the power. Utilize it. Find the best fit and refuse to accept anything less than full compliance with the player agreement and standards of operation for the level of play.
One last thing, teams that refuse to go along with anything I'm suggesting here should be taken off your list of potential teams.
Remember, I'm here for you. If it's not right, let me know. I'm your voice when needed and don't have a problem stepping in to help. Trust me kids, there is not a program on the continent that wants to be served up as the next Daily Dish.