Categories
Hockey

U18 Hockey Gives Players Another Chance to Shine

The past year has not been easy for anyone in the hockey community, especially in Ontario. The complete shutdown of hockey has left players anxious to play, parents worried about  their child’s development and teams struggling to navigate recruitment and player evaluations. 

Puck ChaserThe upcoming OHL Draft is a lightning rod for all of this uneasiness. With unsubstantiated rumours of back-door dealings between agents and teams, innuendos of back-handed recruitment deals mixed in with a double dose of the usual pre-draft angst, and you have a perfect storm. What should a family do? 

Sign on with one of the many “Scouting Insider” websites? Start promotional videos from random training skates and plaster over social media? Show video of your kid doing box jumps in the basement? 

First of all, take a deep breath. The reality is that this is not the time to overreact to the unique circumstances these players are facing because of COVID-19 restrictions. The message should be that this is one stop in a very long journey that will have more than its share of bumps in the road along the way. 

Ontario Hockey League teams recognize that they are up against an impossible task. Not only do scouts have limited viewings of players and often are basing decisions on stats from a year ago, you also have a “snake draft” that sees teams picking #1 not picking again till #40. 

The #20 pick will get the #21 pick as well as the #1 Euro pick. (Congrats to the Barrie Colts on that horseshoe luck) 

This type of draft has led teams to realize that there will be a lot of good players available in middle rounds. They also know that many of the late picks may be extremely undervalued and some of the higher picks may be overvalued. 

Through conversation with scouts and executives, it appears teams are spending extra time on the background checks of players with work ethic and personality traits now just as important as perceived skill sets. 

There is no doubt players will be drafted higher and lower than they should be this year. The other fact is that there will be a number of good players completely missed in this draft. While it happens in every draft, it is going to happen a lot in this one. 

The development from U15 (bantam) to U18 (midget) is exponential in many kids and being missed in this year’s draft is inevitable if the player was unable to highlight these gains in comparable situations. 

Being drafted late or not being drafted at all — especially this year— is not necessarily a negative outcome. It should be viewed as an opportunity. To understand the why, it is important to look at options available to 16-year-old players. 

Each OHL team can only keep four 16-year-old players on their roster. Ontario Junior Hockey League teams are allowed two (they can apply for more via a card allocation process) and Junior B and C teams are allowed one each. This extremely limits the number of available spots for these players to play junior hockey. 

There are also rules and guidelines around the amount of ice time that these players are required to receive. While each situation is different. the key thing is the players need to play.

The more they play the better. Because the OHL draft will have so many hit and misses, the view by many is that not as many 16-year-old players will make OHL teams this year as would usually make it. 

Many players will need more development and more playing time. This means that this upcoming season should be one of the best major midget (U18)  years on record. Scouts will be scouring to find kids that were overlooked. While U18 AAA hockey is a fantastic option, many players and families do not fully appreciate it. Everyone is eager to move to the next level, but this year it may be the best option to be seen by scouts. 

NCAA teams are benefitting from the fact that this COVID-induced glitch in the OHL recruiting machine may allow more players to slip through and give them a better chance of landing a top end talent that may have traditionally chosen the OHL route. 

More and more players are choosing the NCAA route and with so much upheaval with this year’s draft, the NCAA recruiters are expecting a bumper crop of recruits to be available with the 2005 age group. 

The decision to take a card in the OJHL or Junior B or C is not to be taken lightly as there are many things to consider.

Are the junior teams skating everyday? Who are the coaches? Do they have strength and conditioning coaches? Do they have skill providers attached to the teams?  What is the makeup of the team? What is the culture like? All of these questions need to be evaluated. Placing your 16-year-old son on a team of Junior C men — who could be as old as 21 — may pay dividends, but if the culture is off it also could be detrimental. 

The advice here is trust the process. Getting drafted to the OHL is a proud moment for players and family. It’s a milestone to be cherished and celebrated. It identifies achievement but it also needs to be looked at as just another milestone. It’s not how good you are at 16, it’s how good you are at 21. 

Players need to play and develop. Players need to want it more than the next guy to reach that next level. And sometimes, you need to find that situation where someone believes in you. This year more players will get that “free agent” feeling as they try to find that perfect route for them 

 Best of luck to everyone.

Amateur Hockey Scouting

The post U18 Hockey Gives Players Another Chance to Shine appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

Categories
Hockey

Options for OHL Draft Eligible Players In Strange Year

The past year has not been easy for anyone in the hockey community, especially in Ontario. The complete shutdown of hockey has left players anxious to play, parents worried about  their child’s development and teams struggling to navigate recruitment and player evaluations. 

Puck ChaserThe upcoming OHL Draft is a lightning rod for all of this uneasiness. With unsubstantiated rumours of back-door dealings between agents and teams, innuendos of back-handed recruitment deals mixed in with a double dose of the usual pre-draft angst, and you have a perfect storm. What should a family do? 

Sign on with one of the many “Scouting Insider” websites? Start promotional videos from random training skates and plaster over social media? Show video of your kid doing box jumps in the basement? 

First of all, take a deep breath. The reality is that this is not the time to overreact to the unique circumstances these players are facing because of COVID-19 restrictions. The message should be that this is one stop in a very long journey that will have more than its share of bumps in the road along the way. 

Ontario Hockey League teams recognize that they are up against an impossible task. Not only do scouts have limited viewings of players and often are basing decisions on stats from a year ago, you also have a “snake draft” that sees teams picking #1 not picking again till #40. 

The #20 pick will get the #21 pick as well as the #1 Euro pick. (Congrats to the Barrie Colts on that horseshoe luck) 

This type of draft has led teams to realize that there will be a lot of good players available in middle rounds. They also know that many of the late picks may be extremely undervalued and some of the higher picks may be overvalued. 

Through conversation with scouts and executives, it appears teams are spending extra time on the background checks of players with work ethic and personality traits now just as important as perceived skill sets. 

There is no doubt players will be drafted higher and lower than they should be this year. The other fact is that there will be a number of good players completely missed in this draft. While it happens in every draft, it is going to happen a lot in this one. 

The development from U15 (bantam) to U18 (midget) is exponential in many kids and being missed in this year’s draft is inevitable if the player was unable to highlight these gains in comparable situations. 

Being drafted late or not being drafted at all — especially this year— is not necessarily a negative outcome. It should be viewed as an opportunity.

To understand the why, it is important to look at options available to 16-year-old players. 

Each OHL team can only keep four 16-year-old players on their roster. Ontario Junior Hockey League teams are allowed two (they can apply for more via a card allocation process) , while Junior B (two players) and Junior C teams (1 player) are limited options. This extremely restricts the number of available spots for these players to play junior hockey. 

There are also rules and guidelines around the amount of ice time that these players are required to receive. While each situation is different. the key thing is the players need to play.

The more they play the better. Because the OHL draft will have so many hit and misses, the view by many is that not as many 16-year-old players will make OHL teams this year as would usually make it. 

Many players will need more development and more playing time. This means that this upcoming season should be one of the best major midget (U18)  years on record. Scouts will be scouring to find kids that were overlooked. While U18 AAA hockey is a fantastic option, many players and families do not fully appreciate it. Everyone is eager to move to the next level, but this year it may be the best option to be seen by scouts. 

NCAA teams are benefitting from the fact that this COVID-induced glitch in the OHL recruiting machine may allow more players to slip through and give them a better chance of landing a top end talent that may have traditionally chosen the OHL route. 

More and more players are choosing the NCAA route and with so much upheaval with this year’s draft, the NCAA recruiters are expecting a bumper crop of recruits to be available with the 2005 age group. 

The decision to take a card in the OJHL or Junior B or C is not to be taken lightly as there are many things to consider.

Are the junior teams skating everyday? Who are the coaches? Do they have strength and conditioning coaches? Do they have skill providers attached to the teams?  What is the makeup of the team? What is the culture like? All of these questions need to be evaluated. Placing your 16-year-old son on a team of Junior C men — who could be as old as 21 — may pay dividends, but if the culture is off it also could be detrimental. 

The advice here is trust the process. Getting drafted to the OHL is a proud moment for players and family. It’s a milestone to be cherished and celebrated. It identifies achievement but it also needs to be looked at as just another milestone. It’s not how good you are at 16, it’s how good you are at 21. 

Players need to play and develop. Players need to want it more than the next guy to reach that next level. And sometimes, you need to find that situation where someone believes in you. This year more players will get that “free agent” feeling as they try to find that perfect route for them 

 Best of luck to everyone.

Amateur Hockey Scouting

The post Options for OHL Draft Eligible Players In Strange Year appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

Categories
Hockey Tournaments

Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 24-May 31

Every week, Elite Level Hockey will be previewing some of the best minor hockey tournaments in North America during the spring hockey and winter seasons. Tournaments are not ranked in any way and are selected to help promote boy’s and girl’s minor hockey at all levels and age groups.

Twin Ports Elite Prospects Showcase

Twin Ports Elite Prospects Showcase takes place over the U.S. Memorial Day weekend in the twin ports of Duluth MN/Superior WI. The Twin Ports AAA Female Elite Prospects tournament is a showcase event for those players serious about becoming college student-athletes.

Coaches from over a dozen NCAA women’s hockey programs attend each year, along with more and more ACHA Division 1 and 2 programs. Teams will also be given recruiting forms to provide info about their players that will be passed along to all college programs that attend the tournament.

The tournament is built for elite/AAA players in the U16-U19 divisions.

View schedules and standings

The Boston Showdown

The Boston Showdown is an Elite level spring hockey tournament hosted by the Junior Bruins over Memorial Day Weekend at the New England Sports Center (NESC) in Marlboro, MA., for 2010-2014 aged players. The tournament will host teams from Florida, Illinois, Minnesota as well as from Boston and the rest of New England.

View Schedules and Standings

SC Memorial Cup

SC Memorial Cup takes place in North Charleston, SC and is part of the TCS Hockey
Tournament Cup Series. Featuring boys divisions from U8 – U18 and Girls U12 – U16, the tournament offers a variety of skill divisions including AAA, AA, A, Tier 1, Tier 2. All teams will be guaranteed 4 games, with most being held at the Carolina Ice Palace.

Learn More About The Tournament

Greater Michigan Prospects Showcase
Detroit, MI
Ages: 2002 – 2006
Divisions: High School

Warrior Boston Spring Invite
Foxborough, MA
Ages: 2001, 2003, 2005 – 2014
Divisions: Tier 1

Bad to the Bone
Chicago, IL
Ages: U12 Peewees
Divisions: AA

New England States Rivalry Challenge
Exeter, NH
Ages: U16 Midgets, 2006 – 2010
Divisions: Elite, Invitational Only

Triple Crown of Hockey
Nashville, TN
Ages: 2007
Divisions: AAA

TCS Boston Memorial Cup
Brighton, MA
Ages: U8 – U18, Girls U12 – U16, 2007 – 2013, U15 Midgets
Divisions: AAA, AA, A, Tier 1, Tier 2

Memorial Day Tournament
Aston, PA
Ages: U6 – U18
Divisions: AAA, AA, A, B, C

Glacier Invitational
Vernon Hills, IL
Ages: U6 – U12
Divisions: AA, A, B

Oakland Grizzlies AAA Spring Invite
Fraser, MI
Ages: U16 – U18, Girls U14 – U19, 2006 – 2012, U15 Midgets
Divisions: AAA

Niagara Falls Memorial Day Cup
Amherst, NY
Ages: U8 – U18
Divisions: AAA, AA, A, B, C

Battle in the Desert
Mesa, AZ
Ages: U16 – U18
Divisions: AA, A, B

Connecticut Rush
Northford, CT
Ages: U12 – U18, Girls U12 – U19
Divisions: Tier 2

2021 Memorial Day Tournament
Wesley Chapel, FL
Ages: U10 – U16
Divisions: AA, A

Philadelphia Shootout
West Chester, PA
Ages: U8 – U18, U15 Midgets
Divisions: AAA, AA

NOTE: Some tournaments may be cancelled or rescheduled.

The post Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 24-May 31 appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

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Hockey

Food Tips for Hockey Road Trips

Road trips and hotel stays are increasingly common today for all levels of hockey — especially during tournament season. While sports travel is exciting, it definitely brings new challenges to fuelling athletes. Finding good restaurants in unfamiliar cities can be difficult and dining out for every meal gets expensive quickly.

Even if you don’t want to travel with a crockpot or portable grill, here are seven simple ways to make fuelling on the road convenient and easier on the wallet.  

Pack Snacks

Whether it’s pre-packaged granola bars or homemade trail mix, bringing an assortment of nutrient-dense snacks helps avoid overpriced concession stands and convenience stores for the post-workout refuelling window or travel delays.

Large Water Jugs

Traveling by car? Skip the cases of plastic bottles and save cargo room (and the environment!) with gallons of water to refill reusable bottles.

Peanut Butter and Jam

Pre-game meal timing often happens while on the road. Instead of settling on less-than-ideal fast food, pack bread, nut butter, and jelly to make sandwiches in the car (turkey is a great option also, but then you have to take coolers into account too). Sandwiches are also perfect for the hotel room or post late-night games for athletes that are hungry again before bed. 

Hit the Market

Refrigerator in the room? Stop by a local grocery store for yogurt, fresh fruit, salad, and/or rotisserie chicken. Grab some milk if your player enjoys cereal before early morning games.

Add Hot Water

Hotel room coffee makers or microwaves make oatmeal and quinoa cups a convenient nutrient-dense pre-game fuel.

Portable Blender

If smoothies are a favorite, rechargeable portable blenders are a great option for early mornings or the post-game refuelling window. They can also be repurposed for fun, adult drinks later in the night!

Pre-made Meals

Packing a cooler? Make and freeze breakfast sandwiches, egg cups, or quesadillas to reheat in the room microwave.

Most parents are tired of paying for restaurant food between games at tournaments and want to avoid feeding their player fast food that does nothing to improve their performance.

A little pre-travel food preparation minimizes the stress of last-minute fuelling between games. Planning ahead also ensures your skater has nutrient-dense options to maintain endurance and support recovery throughout the long weekend.

Need a travel fuel checklist? Looking for freeze-ahead meal recipes? Visit  RockPerformance.net to learn more.

The post Food Tips for Hockey Road Trips appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

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Hockey Tournaments

Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 17-May 23

Every week, Elite Level Hockey will be previewing some of the best minor hockey tournaments in North America during the spring hockey and winter seasons. Tournaments are not ranked in any way and are selected to help promote boy’s and girl’s minor hockey at all levels and age groups.

Summer Series Madison

CAN/AM Hockey’s Madison tournament is part of their new Summer Series and features both Elite (AAA and AA) and Travel (A/B players and their teams) Divisions.

The tournament for boys aged 2007-2012, will be held in Madison, Wisconsin at the Capitol Ice Arena, which hosted the girls Summer Series tournament last weekend. Games will be played Friday through Sunday.

View more Tournament Information

The Last Dance

The Last Dance tournament — which has been operating for over a decade — in Detroit Michigan features boys teams from U-10 to U18 age groups at the AA, A, A2, B levels. Featuring a four-game minimum, the tournament will feature teams from Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and New York.

View More Tournament Information

Blue Chip Invite MASS

The CCM Blue Chip Invite MASS is a spring youth ice hockey tournament for elite level boys in the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, Midget 15’s & 16U and groups. The tournament is in its eighth year and will be played out of rinks in Foxborough and Walpole. This is one of the biggest spring tournaments for elite players in the northeastern part of the U.S.

View More Tournament Information

Other Tournaments

Dragon’s Lair
Romeoville, IL
Ages: U10 – U18
Divisions: AA, A, B

Battle on the Border
Gurnee, IL
Ages: U16 – U18
Divisions: AA, A

New Jersey Spring Classic
Randolph, NJ
Ages: U8 Mites
Divisions: A, B

Independent Classic AAA
St. Louis Park, MN
Ages: U16 – U18, Girls U8 – U19, 2006 – 2013
Divisions: AAA

Cherry Blossom Showdown
Columbia, MD
Ages: U10 – U18
Divisions: AA, A, A2, B

AAU Spring Grinder Tournament
Hazel Park, MI
Ages: U8 Mites
Divisions: AA, A, B

Doritos Spring Challenge
Ages: U10 – U12
Divisions: AA, A

Mayhem in the Mitten
Canton, MI
Ages: U8 Mites
Divisions: Red, White, Blue

Glacier Invitational
Vernon Hills, IL
Ages: U10 – U14
Divisions: A, B

Spring Grinder Tournament
Dearborn, MI
Ages: U10 – U18
Divisions: AAA, AA, A

Spring Shootout
Bridgewater, NJ
Ages: U8 – U18
Divisions: AA, A, B

Lake Michigan Invitational
Carol Stream, IL
Ages: U8 – U12
Divisions: AA

NOTE: Some tournaments may be cancelled or rescheduled.

The post Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 17-May 23 appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

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Hockey

Mini Game Memory Will Last Forever

The arena was loud and full of faces.

Trying to pick out my parents was impossible from the comfort of my crease. I could see the entire rink stretching out in front of me. The stands were tall, and the depth of the ice was the equivalent of looking down a long strip of land, like a football field.

I was zoned in, focused to play my part for the team.

If you grew up playing hockey, you may remember taking part of a mini-game between periods of a junior, college, pro or NHL game or perhaps you watched your kid hit the ice at a similar event.

In my case, it was an Oshawa Generals game where my minor hockey team took on a rival squad for five minutes between periods.

This moment will stay engrained in my mind for the rest of my life.

I was around seven or eight years old when I got to experience playing in front of over 5,000 people at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa. I have never felt so many eyes on me at once despite the fact many fans took this opportunity to get beverages or use the washroom.

I was goalie for this game, but I played all the positions on my house league team.

As our mini game began, I could hear the puck drop from what sounded like a kilometre away. The game was slow for the crowd, but fast for the players involved. 

As the puck was coming down the ice, I lost it in the view of the logos on the ice but quickly picked it up again on the opponent’s stick as he split the defence. 

It was a breakaway, only me between him and the goal line. For an eight-year-old boy, it felt like a do-or-die scenario. 

I was thinking it took a long time for the puck to come to our end as I briefly looked up at the clock tracking our little segment of this Ontario Hockey League game. 

The opponent was closing in, about 10 feet from the net. I figured it would be a simple wrist shot since it was house league and very few opponents went for dekes — at least that is what I thought from the previous experiences I had in net that year. 

I stayed square to the shooter while making sure I was taking as much of the net as I possibly could. Being a kid, it is hard to cover all of a regulation net.

He is seven feet away now. I know he is taking a shot at this point. I can see his eyes looking toward my glove hand, targeting the upper corner of the net.

It probably looked open to him as he pulled back the puck and took a shot.

What feels like a flash for me, must be an eternity for the crowd used to seeing young men fly up and down the ice. I can sense more people coming back to their seats to get ready for the third period of the Generals game as bodies are flooding down the nearby stairs in the stands. 

I see the puck rising and think it may be going over the net. I take no chances on missing this once in a lifetime opportunity in front of this many people. 

I flash the leather.

Then I glance at the glove.

It is buried in the mesh and seams.

My hockey highlight was over as fast as it started. 

The rest of the game saw our team on offence for majority of the time. No one scored on either team, there was no time for overtime. Like many kids, I may never play hockey in front of a crowd that large again.

Events like these may have inspired some to go on to professional hockey careers. For others — like me — it created a memory that will last a lifetime.

There are many programs run by higher level hockey programs that allow youth hockey players and teams to take part in these mini-games. As a parent, team manager or coach, reach out to your local team to see if there promotions like this available in your area.

It may just create a lifetime memory for your player.

Elite Level Hockey

SHARE YOUR MINOR HOCKEY JOURNEY!

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Hockey Tournaments

Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 10-May 16

Every week, Elite Level Hockey will be previewing some of the best minor hockey tournaments in North America during the spring hockey and winter seasons. Tournaments are not ranked in any way and are selected to help promote boy’s and girl’s minor hockey at all levels and age groups.

Madison Girls CAN AM Hockey

The Madison Girls takes place in Middleton, Wisconsin from May 14-16, 2021. This tournament is home to defending champions Wisconsin Badger Women’s Hockey Team of 2019. Games will be played Friday through Sunday to determine the 2021 champions.

There will be a three-game guarantee, where four teams in each division will compete. Divisions include Tier 1 Elite teams and Tier 2 Travel teams. 12U, 14U, 16U, and 19U are part of both tiered tournaments. Games will consist of three 14-minute stop time periods. 

View more on the Madison Girls tournament

New Jersey Spring Classic

The New Jersey Spring Classic takes place in Randolph, New Jersey from May 14-16, 2021. 

The format of the tournament is a Round Robin with playoff games, with three games guaranteed. Divisions playing are AA U16 Midgets and A U18 Midgets. Games will be played through Friday evening to Sunday evening. 

There are five U16 teams playing: Devil Dogs, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Metro Moose, NJ Spitfires, Savages, and Wolverines. 

There are four U18 teams playing: Metro Moose, Mid-Atlantic Black Knights, NJ Spitfires, and Wolverines. 

These teams will compete in each division to see who takes the first, second, and third place rewards.

View game schedule and results

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet hockey tournament presented by Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League (LCAHL) will take place between May 14-16, 2021.

The annual tournament will feature teams from the Midget, Bantam, Pee Wee and Squirt divisions of the LCAHL, with 2003 to 2012 birth years. 

The registered teams are scattered all across Michigan, with a few coming from Ohio to compete in the tournament. Games will take place at select arenas with a few taking place at the BELFOR Training Facility (Official practice facility of the Detroit Red Wings). 

Teams are guaranteed four games with the possibility of tournament results being used in 2021 fall division placement.

View more information about the tournament.

Cowgirl Shootout

The Cowgirl Shootout will take place between May 13 – 16, 2021 in Nashville, TN. 

The all girl’s tournament is part of the Rose series, which is an offspring of the widely popular Brick series tournaments. 

The elite girl’s hockey event will feature teams from across North America in the 2008 and 2009 division.

 Teams will play on both rinks of the Ford Ice Center, Bellevue and Antioch, where the Nashville Predators often practice. 

View schedules and more tournament information.

More tournaments to watch out for this week (some tournaments may be cancelled due to the pandemic):

  • Preview Challenge Tournament
  • Madison Girls
  • TCS Iron City Cup
  • BLPA Bash Laurel
  • Battle on the Border
  • TCS Showdown in Coral Springs
  • OneHockey Boston May Parity Warmup
  • Hockey Fights Cancer
  • Windy City Spring Classic
  • Top Tier USA
  • Doritos Spring Challenge
  • DRAFTDAY Prospects 05 Spotlight
  • New Jersey Spring Classic
  • Chicago Quest for the Cup
  • Pittsburgh Spring Challenge
  • Rush Spring Showcase
  • The Right 7
  • Detroit Showdown AAA
  • Milwaukee Summer Ice Cup
  • Pikes Peak Spring Classic

The post Minor Hockey Tournaments: May 10-May 16 appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

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Hockey

Coincidental Minors: Episode 1

The post Coincidental Minors: Episode 1 appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

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Hockey

How to Get Noticed By Hockey Scouts and Recruiters

As young players move through the ranks of minor hockey and edge closer to their draft year, the same thought sits for many: ‘Where do I go after this year?’ 

For some, this is a motivating force that drives them to train harder on and off the ice, while leaving others with some feelings of anxiety and uncertainty if they go unnoticed. So what exactly is the key to moving forward, and are there any avenues for greater exposure?

At the higher ranks when players are in junior hockey, showcase camps are prominent throughout the hockey season and in the summer, where certain organizations host weekends of player development and competitive games. At most of these, collegiate and OHL scouts are invited to come and watch the talent, with their goal of picking up a few stand-out players who make the most of their weekend performance. The majority of these come at a cost of $200-$500, and picking your spots for entering the right showcase is critical so money isn’t wasted.

Unfortunately in minor hockey, showcase camps like these are slim to none, but that doesn’t mean recruiting isn’t occurring. While players and parents may not see it, there is always someone in the stands from an organization looking for talent. OHL and junior teams have designated scouts they send to league games throughout the season and across the province, constantly seeking out players ahead of the spring draft and spring junior camps. Scouting is quite high near the beginning of the season, when fresh talent is emerging and players are excited and energized to kick off their first few games with success. Early bird tournaments and Christmas tournaments are big recruiting grounds as well, since scouts have the ability to watch multiple teams play across the span of one weekend. 

The minor midget year is a big season for all players as they look forward to their opportunity to be drafted in the following spring. At this age group in AAA only, one of the few showcases and arguably the biggest one at the minor hockey level in Ontario is the OHL Cup. This tournament is hosted after playoffs end, and it features the top minor midget teams across the province as well as a couple teams from the United States. It is invitation and qualification-based, as you must be ranked in a certain position at the end of your season (pending on your league) in order to receive the invite. There are also ‘wild card’ invitations as well, where 10 teams outside of the invitees are matched up and play a single-game qualification to receive their tournament invite. The rules for qualifying for the wild card matchups differ across the leagues in Ontario. 

The OHL Cup is very heavily scouted, as there is an abundance of talent when looking at the players of the top teams in the province. Most scouts already have their primary list of players on their radar, but this tournament is a chance for some to move up the draft list if they have a stellar performance. It takes one solid week in front of the eyes of these scouts to make an impression, and there’s no better time to prove yourself when you’re up against some of the best players in your age group. It is safe to assume that every OHL team will be present during this week, as well as many NCAA Division 1 programs making the trip up north to seek out players for future scholarships. In terms of showcases at the minor hockey level, this is one that all players would definitely want their team to be in.

Another invite-only tournament is the OHL Gold Cup, hosted in the spring for minor midget players. 160 players are selected across all the Ontario minor hockey leagues, with each league building one or two teams depending on their player density. This tournament serves as a recruiting and scouting ground for Hockey Canada officials to evaluate players to be a part of Team Ontario, in which the team will go on to compete at the national level in various tournaments for the U17 categories. The selected players for Team Ontario will also go on to compete as one of three Canadian teams at the U17 World Hockey Challenge, an international competition where many scouts from all over the world will be present. While this event is primarily focused on scouting for global tournaments, having the opportunity to participate can put a player in front of many sets of eyes that could lead to greater networking, connections, and opportunities at higher levels in the future.

With these opportunities present at the minor midget level, many people might ask how their child can get noticed at a young age without access to these big showcase tournaments. The answer here is quite simple, and I’m sure it has been heard many times before: you need to CONSISTENTLY stand out above the rest. Sometimes, parents will try to find summer tournaments and camps to try and get their kid exposed to coaches, but at the end of the day it is up to them to perform and catch their attention. This comes from within the player, as they have to possess that desire and competitive nature to want to get better and be the best player they can be. It takes a certain spark or ‘wow’ factor to catch the attention of scout, and each player needs to find their own edge as they grow up and develop. While player development has seen tremendous growth over the years, there are a lot of kids out there who possess the technical skills to be great. It ultimately comes down to how a player is able to utilize those skills and craft their game to gain the attention of scouts as they grow up. If you’re good enough, the interest will come to you at the end of the day.

Amateur Hockey Scouting

The post How to Get Noticed By Hockey Scouts and Recruiters appeared first on Elite Level Hockey.

Categories
Hockey

Hockey Showcase Events in Ontario

As young players move through the ranks of minor hockey and edge closer to their draft year, the same thought sits for many: ‘How do I get noticed by the next level?’ 

For some, this is a motivating force that drives them to train harder on and off the ice. Others — including parents — are often left with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty over whether then will go unnoticed. 

So what exactly is the key to moving forward, and what are the avenues for greater exposure?

At the higher ranks, when players are in junior hockey, showcase camps are prominent throughout the hockey season and in the summer, where certain organizations host weekends of player development and competitive games. 

At most of these camps, collegiate and OHL scouts are invited to come and watch the talent, who have the opportunity to make the most of their weekend performance. The majority of these showcase events cost between $200-$500 to enter, so picking the right showcase is critical so your money isn’t wasted.

Unfortunately in minor hockey, there aren’t nearly as many showcase camps like these in Ontario, but that at doesn’t mean recruiting isn’t occurring. 

While players and parents may not see it, there is always someone in the stands from an organization looking for talent. 

OHL and junior teams have designated scouts they send to league games throughout the season and across the province, constantly seeking out players ahead of the spring draft and  junior camps. 

Scouting is quite high near the beginning of the winter season, when fresh talent is emerging and players are excited and energized to kick off their first few games with success. Early bird tournaments and Christmas tournaments are big recruiting grounds as well, since scouts have the ability to watch multiple teams play across the span of one weekend. 

The U16 (minor midget) year is a big season for all players as they look forward to their opportunity to be drafted in the following spring. At this age group, one of the few showcases and arguably the biggest one at the  in AAA minor hockey level in Ontario is the OHL Cup. 

This tournament is hosted after playoffs end, and it features the top U16 teams across the province as well as teams from the United States. 

It is invitation and qualification-based, as you must be ranked in a certain position at the end of your season (pending on your league) in order to receive the invite. 

There are also ‘wild-card’ invitations as well, where 10 teams outside of the invitees are matched up and play a single-game qualification to receive their tournament invite. The rules for qualifying for the wild-card matchups differ across the leagues in Ontario. 

The OHL Cup is very heavily scouted, as there is an abundance of talent when looking at the players of the top teams in the province. 

Most scouts already have their primary list of players on their radar, but this tournament is a chance for some to move up the draft list if they have a stellar performance. 

It takes one solid week in front of the eyes of these scouts to make an impression, and there’s no better time to prove yourself when you’re up against some of the best players in your age group. 

It is safe to assume that every OHL team will be present during this week, as well as many NCAA Division 1 programs making the trip up north to seek out players for future scholarships. 

Hosted in the spring for minor midget players, another invite-only tournament is the OHL Gold Cup that sees 160 players selected from across all the Ontario minor hockey leagues, with each league building one or two teams depending on their player density. 

This tournament also serves as a recruiting and scouting ground for Hockey Canada officials to evaluate players to be a part of Team Ontario, which will go on to compete at the national level in various tournaments for the U17 categories. 

The selected players for Team Ontario will also compete as one of three Canadian teams at the U17 World Hockey Challenge, an international competition where many scouts from all over the world will be present. 

While this event is primarily focused on scouting for global tournaments, having the opportunity to participate can put a player in front of many sets of eyes that could lead to greater exposure and connections that may lead to opportunities at higher levels in the future.

In terms of showcases at the minor hockey level, these are the ones that all players would definitely want to be one of the participants.

With these opportunities present at the U16 level, many people might ask how their child can get noticed at a younger age than these big showcase tournaments allow. 

The answer here is quite simple — CONSISTENTLY stand out above the rest. 

Sometimes, parents will try to find summer tournaments and camps to get their player more exposure, but at the end of the day it is up to them to perform and garner attention. 

Players have to possess that desire and competitive nature to want to be the best player they can be. It takes a certain spark or ‘wow’ factor to catch the attention of scouts or coaches, and each player needs to find their own edge as they grow and develop. 

Player development has seen tremendous growth in hockey over the years and there are a lot of kids out there who possess the technical skills to be great. 

It ultimately comes down to how a player is able to utilize those skills and how well they demonstrate an understanding of the game that will gain the attention of scouts as they grow up. 

If you’re good enough, the interest will find you.

Amateur Hockey Scouting

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