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. 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
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.
* 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.