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Waiting to see if you'll be contacted by a D3 coach is bad advice. Look for the education first, then the hockey. I don't understand why everyone is so enthralled with D3. No money for sports, some don't have a rink, some don't have a dedicated locker room at their off-campus rink. What is the attraction unless it's for an education? You're not going on to play PRO hockey after college. Maybe a NESCAC school, if you can get in would be justifiable. There're some much better schools with ACHA programs that are much better situations then some D3 schools. Just an observation.
Went through this as parent and coach. The first thing is to be realistic.
- When you say "bubble" what do you mean? Bubble on his Junior team? His HS team? Being a "bubble" player on a talented tier-1 Junior team is different than being a bubble player on a bad high school team. D3 talent has improved tremendously the last 10-20 years and depending on your sons real talent level, D3 may or may not be realistic.
- If you think its realistic, then by all means reach out to the coaches, realizing that many times the AC does the legwork. Many parents like to create videos of their sons best plays, and that's fine, but most coaches want to see the whole game, not just selected good things you want the coach to see. If you go this route do it early, and do NOT select a school because of a coach, he may not even still be there when your son gets there. And there's no guarantee that the new coach will also want your son.
- Its tempting to get an agent because they say they have contacts everywhere, and some do. But in many cases a good coach or GM in your own organization can make those calls for free. For true "bubble" players, an agent may be worth it to expand your opportunities out of your region. Depends on the agent and player.
- If all of the above works out the last thing that you should consider (but often overlooked) is that if he's a true "bubble" player, he may not play, even if he is rostered. Many schools carry several extra players that watch each game in the stands wearing a suit. For example, many schools carry 10 or 11 defenseman, dress 6 each game, and mostly play the top 4. If your bubble player won't mind being the number 9 defenseman and watching games from the stands, then ok. But most kids would mind.
- Which brings it all back to being realistic. If your son wont drastically improve before college it might make sense to have him consider ACHA instead of NCAA. Most D3 coaches only have a few openings each year, so they grab the top players to fill them, not bubble players. Going the ACHA route he will still play hockey for the school, but he will actually play, have fun, and not watch.
One of the best posts I've read on this site.
Spot on. Choose a juniors organization that places kids on college teams. The juniors coach should be advocating for the player. the player should ask the coach/gm to reach out to schools he's interested in.
They'll tell you what the college coach says. The top kids on a team will be recruited. stats are everything in recruiting. if your kid doesn't put up numbers, chances are they won't get recruited unless they are big or have an insane motor.
Its hard to play college hockey at every level. need to have a realistic discussion with the player and the coach.