I should probably preface this by saying that I’m grumpy because it’s hot and muggy, and I had to mow the lawn which is my second least favorite chore behind washing dishes, but seeing the same comments repeatedly about camps, combines, and showcases being cash grabs gets my goat. Let me be extremely blunt here: In junior hockey, you will be clawing your way to the top every game, every practice, every shift. It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination even for the top guys. Those top guys still work very hard every single day because there is always a fresh crop of talent every year looking to knock them out of their spot, and if they let up even a little bit, it will happen. If you aren’t a top guy, you will have to work even harder because you have to be undeniable. It will never ease up. This is your reality from now on because there are fewer available spots the higher up you go.
If no one is approaching you at these events, or if you aren’t making the all star games or being given a tender or being signed, that doesn’t mean the event was a cash grab. It doesn’t even mean you are permanently crossed off the prospect list. If these people putting on these events are doing it right, they will make a little money to go towards funding their team because junior hockey is a business. These events cost money. However, they provided you with an opportunity to be seen by a bunch of scouts and coaches which you accepted. Yes, I’m including a team’s main camp in those events, too, because scouts from other teams and leagues attend those, especially the well run ones. I’ve been to some main camps that had more scouts than I’ve seen fans at some games.
What you are really saying when you call one of those events a cash grab is that you fell short of your goals, and you’re feeling salty. It comes across as a little egotistical to me. It tells me that you think because no one signed you, they must be too blind to see your greatness, and surely that is someone else’s fault. It couldn’t possibly be that they didn’t need another power forward or that you aren’t physically ready yet, and it wouldn’t be safe for you to play at that level. It couldn’t be that you can’t hold the blue line to save your life or you don’t seem to even know what backchecking is.
If it’s not your ego, it’s your pride. It can be hard to go from being a big fish in a little pond to being a small fish in a big pond. However, you might be better served talking objectively about your experience rather than lashing out and calling every camp a money grab. Besides, it’s not a bad thing to admit your shortcomings. In fact, if you can identify them, you’re further ahead than most. It makes you more appealing to coaches, too, because it shows you are coachable and not an insufferable little punk.
If you were lucky enough to get some feedback about your play, great. Take it to heart and work on those things. If you are in the majority who didn’t, you need to honestly evaluate where you need work. Hint: everyone needs work, or the NHL wouldn’t hold any practices. Just because you weren’t selected this time doesn’t mean you aren’t still on someone’s list. Don’t complain about what you didn’t get because of the work you didn’t do and get crossed off that list for good.
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