If it's all flash, they probably just want your cash. It’s recruiting season, and I have said before that recruiters recruit. Of course, at the pay to play level,there is always going to be a bit of selling going on, and almost every coach will try to sell you on his team, but it is important not to get caught up in the sales pitch and forget to ask questions. You want to make sure they aren’t trying to dazzle you with nothing of substance. You are the consumer here, and you need to remember that holds some power and some responsibility.
What do I mean by flash? Recruiters might have professionally produced videos showing off tours of their top notch facilities. They will brag about their buses with wifi and televisions, and tell you how their gym has all the latest equipment. They might brag about how many fans fill the stands for every game and how their dressing rooms have pro stalls. They might tell you that you’ll have access to their nutrition program created by a registered dietician or that they have a team of medical staff.
Now, a coach who is the real deal will also tell you about some of those things. There are teams out there who have relationships with fitness facilities or maybe they have a newly renovated rink or rec center with a fabulous gym or their own workout area, and maybe they really do sell out every game and have a die hard fan base, but fans don’t move you on to the next level of play. You only spend a small amount of time in the locker room overall. Sure, it’s nice to play in a nice facility, but how much does that really matter if your goal is to move up?
Recruiters will want you to get caught up in all the things that don’t matter, but how many players do you suppose left teams because the locker room needed a paint job? How many players left teams because the team’s ticket sales were down so there weren’t many fans in the stands? Those kinds of things are not the reasons players leave teams. Those kinds of things are not reasons players flock to good programs.
You need to think about what YOU need as a player to develop and where you might fit best without worrying about the team’s status or what their record was last year. You need to play on a team where you will play, especially if your plans include moving on to the next level. Game minutes are important. Remember, scouts are watching the players who are playing, not the players on the bench. You are far better off on a lower level team where you see penalty kill and power play minutes than on a team where you are scratched most games. You are far better off if you can stay true to what you are looking for rather than get romanced (bromanced?) by someone looking to drain your bank account and then cut you loose after the tuition bill is paid in full.
Author: Michelle Anderson
from Behind the Champ
Hello! I am a Minnesota hockey mom of 15 years with a son currently playing junior hockey. My son was 2 ½ when he saw his first hockey game, and he became obsessed with playing hockey himself. I thought, “He’s 2. It will pass.” It didn’t. I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about hockey when we first started this journey, but I learned quickly along the way thanks to all the other hockey parents out there. I also saw how much fun he was having so I joined a women’s league and learned how to play myself. The kids make it look a lot easier than it is, but it’s a beautiful game and tons of fun both to watch and to play, even badly in my case. I look forward to bringing you a hockey mom’s point of view to these shenanigans in the world of junior hockey.
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