Recently I was fortunate enough to spend some time at the College Hockey Coaches convention in Naples, Florida. It was great to spend some time away from a rink with coaches and get an insight into some of their thinking.

While talking with one of the very well known coaches from a major division one school about a possible recruit for their program, I heard him describe the player in a very unique way.   He said to me, “yes we really like him a lot as a player but we are going to pass…..he needs a major Parentectomy…..” It took me a very short time to realize that they were not going to offer him a scholarship because of the actions of his parents…..
It got me thinking quite a bit about the recruiting and scouting process of young players and how many different factors can affect the situation. I thought I would share this with everyone.

One of the most important factors that schools and junior programs do consider is what is the players’ family like? Specifically what are the parents like?

I discussed it with our staff we decided to come up with five simple points of advice for parents. Specifically parents who have young players that are getting to that 14-15 year old age when the recruitment and scouting process starts to pick up and the game seems to change from just a game to a business opportunity for some. 
This is only our opinion and advice we are offering. We are parents too and have made many mistakes just like everyone else so take from it what you will. We have seen many players get recruited successfully and there are some common traits. Hopefully it helps prevent any more Parentectomies….
If you want more input please feel free to contact us anytime.

The five suggestions for Parents are:

1. Take a step back.
Be suggestive and be supportive but allow your young athlete to research things and make their own decisions concerning where to play and which route to travel. Trust their instincts. You’ve done an amazing job getting them to this point. Let it go a bit now, step back and watch the results of your good parenting. Enjoy the product of all the countless hours you spent driving all over the country drinking bad coffee and sitting in cold arenas spending time with your child. Let them begin to make their own decisions. It will then be their responsibility to make it work and usually they do.

2. The coach/gm is always right.
Always, always, always, always……Even when you don’t agree with them and know they are wrong. I know how hard this can be for some parents to hear or agree with but trust me. A coach who has had his feathers ruffled by a parent can do more harm to a player in a thirty second conversation with a scout than any bad game or tournament can do. Scouts and recruiters are going to talk to these people and listen to what the coach has to say over anyone else 98% of the time.  They rarely will ever listen to what a parent has to say so stay away from them. The best thing you can ever do at this point is keep a great relationship with the coach.

3. Remember, there are more important things in life than hockey.
I know this is where we might lose some people, but it is very important. We try to encourage parents to remember, this is about what your student athlete is going to be like at age 19 and 20 not at 14. Their journey is not complete. It hss only just begun……help them become well rounded. Encourage other interests and challenges. Take good breaks from the game that will keep them hungry to play. Young players can burn and fizzle out from too much pressing and pushing. Also be aware that no matter how good they are, and I mean even if they are hall of fame caliber players, they will not be playing when they are forty years old. 

4. Encourage them to work as hard away from the rink as they do at it.
Too much time, money and resources are wasted on showcases, tryouts and many things that rarely pay off. Invest in a good marketing plan for the player. Build a resume and bio that stand out from the rest. Make sure you have the right schooling and class requirements.  Get powerful letters of reference from people that are not involved in hockey as well. Tell them to think of it like they are a lawyer. Tell them to build their case. They are going to trial and better be prepared. Remember these numbers. There are roughly 28,000 high school senior age boys registered to play hockey with USA Hockey. There are 59 Division I teams and 77 Division III teams. Each of those bring on average 6 new players a season to their rosters and about half of those are from the US… that means only 408 of the 28,000 registered players will get their chance to play in college. That represents roughly 1.5% of registered players. I’d say it’s pretty competitive.

5. Enjoy the Process.
It should not be stressful. It goes very fast…..These are the last few seasons you will spend at the rink with your child. Be positive. It will be one of the last lessons you pass on to them. Positive, fun people get recruited way more!!!!! Think about it, who would you rather spend four years with……?

Kerry Huffman
Platinum Hockey Group
Member of the NHL Alumni Association


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s