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Whats up everyone, I'm going to give you guys a quick survival guide to the camps that you're gonna get invited to.
First of all a quick background. I was first hired as an WCHA as a volunteer assistant coach, I was then promoted to assistant coach where I did a fair amount of recruiting for the program. After a couple years at the school, I left to the USHL where I became director of hockey operations, I was also a regional scout for a NAHL team in the area I worked. Here are some pointers I have for someone going into the junior camps this off season.
- The teams are running a business, but it is an opportunity for the player
Yes, we label everything, and we charge for it, whether that be open camp, pre-draft camp, main camp, etc... however, we didn't just pay airplane tickets to fly to the middle of nowhere, and do nothing. It is an opportunity for the player - we will have an interest in players who show potential.
- Invite - Only, Exclusive, isn't actually true
The invite only camps, are not actually invite only. As long as you reach out, and we see you can skate front and back, we will invite you to the main camp. Sometimes, we ask hockey agents to send all of their kids to the camp to fill spaces.
- True Interest
Kids who we have true interest, tendered, or drafted, will always come to camp for free
- Coaches calling you
A coach calling you or texting you saying he personally is inviting you to a certain camp doesn't mean anything. Most likely filling up roster spots. However, if he has been calling you for a while, asked you to visit the facility, and stuff like that, most likely it is actual interest.
- Interest and us signing you are DIFFERENT
We have tendered normal kids (not from NAPHL or NA3HL) that we have cut. Tender is a strong interest, however if you start slacking we will just cut you in main camp with the others
- If your past the Main camp, you're not in the clear
We see kids constantly sign relief after the final "paid" camp. However, we still have to cut kids after training camp.
- Don't feel like it is a money grab if you are paying for camp.
Once again, it is a business. Do your best, and if you stand out, we will keep you. Personally, I've seen quite a few free agents that our coaching staff didn't know before main camp outperform tendered/drafted kids. We took them instead.
- Your attitude means a lot
We judge how you behave against your opponents and with your teammates.
- Be confident
Confidence is what leads to a player playing well
Here are some college pointers as well from my years as assistant coach.
- So many letters, they don't matter
NCDC, NAHL, BCHL, USHL... we don't care where you are from. If I like your playing style, I'm inviting you to visit.
- Timelines differ
A kid might commit early, a kid might commit late. Everyone's timeline is different
Well, good luck to everyone at camps later this spring/ summer, maybe i'll even meet some of you!
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Now, provide some knowledge we didn’t all already know.
Captain Obvious makes an appearance.