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Daily Dish: Youth Prospect Development - Canadian Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 18 Aug 2020  
By: Stephen Heisler,

There has never been a better time for youth level prospects to team up with the advisory services that Victorious Hockey specializes in. In the most chaotic time in hockey's history, families will benefit from the experience and wisdom that our team provides clients.

Players from the high school, bantam, and midget levels of play are facing more questions than ever before in a time where development is absolutely key to the hopes of reaching the collegiate levels of play.

First of all, let me explain just WHY we are interested in youth level prospects.

Because they need the help – It becomes very difficult for the typical hockey parent to understand where one coach or another is coming from. Let me clear the air here. 90% of the time the typical coach wants to keep the flow of money flowing his way. It’s a very rare occurrence when one of these guys makes a suggestion that sends that flow into another direction. For example, a coach may know darn well that #55 is way too good for his AA team but is more interested in keeping the player for the full season than pushing him up to a higher level of play. We see this all the time. It’s a very self-serving position that all too often explains the lack of upward movement within an association.

Because we know the game – Let’s call it what it is; the coach works for the association or team and the advisor works for you. A good advisor with give the family multiple options and be able to point out both the good and bad points of each. He may also have a favorite. It’s up to the family to make the choice. The options given are generally coming from the advisors own circle of programs and associates. You are paying for those relationships. The typical youth association coach wants to keep the player within the structure and not be moved out…it’s more about job security than staying on the developmental path. As an advisor, it’s in our best interest to keep trying to elevate the level of play in order to maximize the developmental opportunity.

Our name is on the line too- It is what it is. Credibility is gained and lost by the players we push into and through a program. I always look for good kids first. Are they friendly? How are they in the classroom? How hard are they willing to work to reach the goals? I’ll take a player strong in those areas long before taking a lamplighter with a bad attitude and work ethic. Each and every player we work with is carrying the weight of every other Victorious player on the list. Each player is not only representing his family, he is doing the same thing for every future player that we may try to send to the same team.

When you succeed- We do too. It is sure a lot easier to fill our roster when the players going through our system are able to find success. The better each player does the better opportunities the entire group receives. 

Our best referrals come from within the structure of the group. 

We are now specifically targeting youth players from the bantam level and up. Why? We are able to have an overall higher level of influence on players when they join at a younger age. We have to place a very equal level of emphasis on both academic and athletic achievement. We work to help develop character while building a team-like atmosphere within the group. Our older prospects are encouraged to befriend younger prospects to serve in a type of positive influential role. I feel this is one of our most important tools that benefit the players on both side of those relationships.

Positive relationships go a tremendous distance in the maturation and development of any young person. In the case of hockey, the network of friends can span the globe and manage to keep us all together. It is those relationships that deliver the most value. It’s certainly been those relationships that have gotten us this far.

Let's have a conversation that brings your family into ours. 

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

* 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 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.
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