NCSA will fill the needs of the majority of players.
As long as kid is willing to respond and connect with coaches he can find a prep, junior and college team using NCSA.
Helpful post on this topic pulled from another thread on the site...
In my experience, their are tiers of kids and the agents/advisors slot in accordingly:
Most Elite Players: NTDP level kids. Clear D1 scholarship and likely pro potential players. For these kids, the top agencies will find them and reach out. One of the top agents at the agency with current NHL superstar clients will call mom or dad, give them the pitch, get an agreement in place, and then connect the kid/family with a sort of regional assistant agent/advisor who will keep tabs on the kid, be the go-to, day-to-day contact, set up camps, etc. These services are free. The agency is investing in the kid, hoping to make money when he signs a professional contract...
Elite Players: National Camp attendees. Prep superstars. Very good USHL/NAHL/BCHL/Etc. prospects. Kids who will very likely be D1 college players and maybe develop into even more. Many of these kids get similar attention. The borderline players in this group get attention from smaller agencies and/or up-and-coming agents/advisors part of bigger name firms. Also free. They'd like to make money off an eventual pro contract too. So they'll invest time in advising your kid on where to play, making introductions, advocating for your kid to coaches, inviting him to free skills camps, coordinating video reviews of game tape, etc. But they will also charge money once your kids hits 17 or 18 and you want/need more help trying to find a college or junior team. The price tag for that is a few thousand dollars a year...
very Good Players: Borderline elite player to solid/average players with potential. Some kids might work with more highly re****ble or well-know advisors due to coach/family/association connections. But many of these kids are also approached by advisors from smaller, more upstart firms who will work with your kid for a fee. Somewhere in the neighborhood of five to seven thousand dollars per year. They'll do video review with your kid, likely to camps, etc. But they'll most position themselves as being there to help guide your kid through the midget/prep/juniors process and help find the best place for him. There are, of course, some shady characters who don't offer any real value. But there are also some very good advisors who do a ton to help their players and really do help move them on, mom and dad just have to pay for it. So if you can afford it, it very well might be worth it...
My opinion is, if you're good enough to be able to work with a high-end agency/advisor for free and you have a good level of trust and connection with the person, why not go for it. Otherwise, if your kid is good enough to potentially need an advisor, you've likely been in the hockey world long enough to make enough connections with different people who will be more than happy to help give you advice, so why pay a boatload of money for it? If your kid is running out of runway and isn't finding any opportunities, maybe then it's worth reaching out to and/or reconnecting with an advisor and paying to help open some doors...
This ^^^^^^^^^^ spot on
I interviewed a ton of advisors but never retained one. I saw what was going on - the top players were getting spots on USHL, BCHL and NAHL teams and the second-tier guys with the agents were, at best, getting cups of coffee with one NAHL team after another. In short, things were working out largely as they should - the best were getting picked up and the second tier players were struggling. There was only one player who seemed to be getting a better deal than he deserved, but I his parents have major money and there are rumors of them giving teams some serious financing, so I don't count that one. The other kid who keeps getting a better deal than he should is gargantuan, so I see why teams are willing to take a risk on him.
Also, I spoke with several people and almost nobody has pleased with their advisor. I heard stories of advisors going into hiding after the check cleared, sending bills for travel, superficial talk and a lot of "I talked to" so and so with few real results other than getting their kids drafted in a late round, only to be quickly bounced off the team.
My son had a bad experience on his first NAHL team. Coach's mandated style was not right for my son. Nor were his temper flare ups. We didn't want to make that mistake again. So, as my son started getting offers to skate with other teams, got some tender offers, etc, I really wanted someone who could help me make the best decision - based on coaching style and temperament, billet situations, how well the organization promoted their players, where scouts did and did not frequent, etc. I mean, we can all look at the roster and success of the team, but these are important intangibles that are really important to me and hard to find out on my own.
So, we retained a guy with a ton of experience who claimed to know everything. While he may know scores of hockey folk, we was woefully unable to provide meaningful advice on the issues with which I needed help. When the first tender came along (not through the advisor, by the way), the advisor could only talk about the team's record, rink and the CURRENT roster players at my son's position (i.e., his competition for playing time). He wasn't even able to tell me if the team had tendered or was looking to draft people in that position. Worse, he couldn't answer any of my questions about coaching style, billet situation, team financing, how well the team promoted their players. He was basically like, "well, what do you think" and "do you want to take the tender, or not."
In short, every single offer/reach out came because the teams had been watching my son, and the advisor was completely unable to give the advice I wanted.
The moral of the story is: (a) while advisors might help a little, your kid's play does most of the work; and (b) there are important intangibles that we regular dad's don't know and that could make or break you son's experiences. Make sureyour advisor TRULY has the insider knowledge/insight to help with the practical questions. You don't want a guy who is happy just to find your kid a spot so he can put the name up on the website as being drafted or tendered.
PS: My son has received several college reach-outs and a couple offers. Not a single one came through the advisor. Each coach approached my kid directly, either via text, after games or by talking to his coaches.