Now that tier I and II junior tryouts are winding down, it is time for players to start looking at Canada and the various pay-to-play options that provide a strong development program.
Players need to get past their disappointment of not making the higher level rosters and start focusing on programs that can help them now. Prospects should not be waiting until the last minute to make contact with reputable alternative operators and end up with limited options or worse, get a spot on a shady team with zero development.
Now is now time for players to stop chasing the dream and start training for the dream.
Describe the typical environment for a player hoping to make a high junior level at this point of the summer in August.
" He has tried one, two, or a multitude of camps and not made it.
" He has received emails from pay-to-play coaches & scouts flooding his inbox.
" He has received calls from pay-to-play scouts & coaches.
" His uncertainty of the rapidly approaching season results in stress.
" It is a chaotic time of the year - time to make a plan!
Players who do not make their first choice of junior teams need to get past the disappointment and think about what is BEST for their long term future. It is a marathon not a sprint when it comes to training and development.
" Development will get them where they need to be in the end.
" Development will put them in a position to make a team next year at this time.
" Pay-to-play should be a one year investment in their career starting now.
" Training is essential. Train your game so they will notice your name!
" Relying on exposure alone is the "kiss of death" for a long hockey career.
" Developing improved skills and knowledge is one guaranteed option that enhances a career.
" Plan and prepare your career intelligently for a college career not a junior career.
Many prospects fail in their effort to advance to the collegiate level because they lose focus on the value of their individual development. Prospects get rewarded for overall improvements of their game, not because they played at one level or another.
When it comes time to decide where the prospect spends the critical upcoming season, choose wisely.
" Look for a program that focuses on quality and quantity of structured training.
" Coaches who are passionate about player development and not only wins and losses.
" Coaches who have a track record of advancing players in high numbers.
" One season of intense development can change a career, as can one poor decision.
Feel free to contact me directly for assistance in securing reputable developmental opportunities. There are quality programs in Canada, and even Europe, that can be equally rewarding. Don't get lost in the chaos of another disappointing August.
* 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.ca. JuniorHockey.ca 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.