Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Jr will fall behind in school"

All to often the people most trusted in a players life, live in a bubble.  They live lives full of misconceptions.  Many of them are exceptional in their professional fields do not get me wrong.  But when a parent claims to be all they can for their child's growth as a person, such as living in a school district, adding as much enrichment as they can to further open as many doors as possible.  They do some of the same in sports, but becasue the odds, are so against the child from reaching the NHL, OHL, NCAA D1 hockey they just pull the plug saying he will fall behiind in school...
think about that phrase  "fall behind in school".  I am fortunate that I reside in a region loaded with exceptional schools.  Rural schools, city schools, bed room comunity schools, and private school You know what strikes me as funny.  Not funny haha, but odd funny.  The people who spend 60k on their child's k-12 education, are 95% of the time landing in the exact same colleges as the people who can not or do not invest an additional dime, beyond the unconstitutional property tax that is being extorted from the populous.  ( in 1996 the Ohio Supreme Court ordered as result of findings, that public school cease collecting personal property tax to fund public schools.  That they find another way to fund schools...they have not, and continue to break the law in defiance of subsequent court orders...oddly no one has gone to jail, and more oddly local tax collectors are still being permitted to extort these monies from the people)  where by at the base layer of observation these kids are all matriculating to College at the same rates, to the same institiutions.  Diving deeper, the numbers are showing the rural student are matriculating at a high rates, receiving more acedemic scholarship monies, to higher rated colleges.   The one number that none escape is that on average only 55% of all first time enroled college freshmen advance to graduation. Only 35% of those students who went on to graduate attended full time every year.   Only 27% of that 55% finds jobs related to their field of study in this day and age.  68% of students who matriculate and work part time and attend school part time will not finish their schooling.  Only 18% of these student find jobs in their related fields.  Compair the above numbers to vetrans on GI BIll who graduate at 72%.   That time away from school allwos for some growing up.
Now we do sadly live in age where 39% of our youth population is obese, and 63% do not participate in any athletic activities.  Yet....selfish schools continue to go unchecked and are allowed to cut funding for sports and gym classes and give teachers raises.. having life threatening results ( the first generations with lowered life expectancies than their parents)
So when we look at the road ahead for our kids why care if a child goes right from High School graduation to college?  Really why.  There are multitudes of chioices,  for children to follow.  Which making saying "you will behind in school"  sound fairly stupid.   Oh and the graduation rate for jr hockey players who go on to college is 67%
So it just maybe that taking part in Jr hockey is the best thing for a student following graduation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Deaths and Problem solving in Youth Hockey- de-evolving gear for safety???

It is a fact, that when looking at Hockey Canada, and USA Hockey's injury numbers, that they are far lower than those of many sports.  Where youth fatalities are studied, we all want that number at ZERO.  Yet physcaial sports do not yield to our wishes. Hockey does "well", when compaired to youth footballs 8 deaths, and long term concussion issues, which also out pace U20 to novice hockey, at ALARMING rates.  It was the concussion talk around HS football, and class action law suit taking shape that may end High School Football, due to the long term hidden dangers concussions present.  which now has me thinking....this is way to much for just one article, way to much one hockey scout/blogger.  I am not a medical professional.  So to my readers understand we are not going dive deeply on those issues.

Mark Messier  did extensive research on helmet desing with medical professionals on helmet designs to help lessen concussions.  While I can see how the shap of a lid, can deflect blow from on direction, and some energy absorbing matierials can help absorb impacts.  Everything I have read and been told,   is you do not need a head impact, to contract a concussion.  I personally can relate to this as the first concussion I suffered was while playing football.  I was in 8th grade.  I was running a reverse from the right end.  I had just gotten the ball, and had my eyes on my blocker as I speed toward the left end of the line, my blocker was 4 yards ahead of me, he had the guy lined up, I began my cut up the field....Im on my back...oddly cold, very cold.  who are these people....where am I????WHO am I..As I am asking these questions of my self, the people looking at me their two faces, I do not know...lips moving, and now I am starting to hear words...Its all very confusing....I see Coach in the chair off to the corner, his face concerned, very similar to his serious gaze, but softer...Ignoring the questions I ask where am I...they ask me about figners and bang my head feels like its about to expood!  Youve had a concussion..."you got your bell rung but good" coach says.  3, I say.
So that tale goes on, but you see.  The guy who laid the hit on me, hit me at the waist, right as I made my cut, never saw him.  I never hit my head on anything, I was out cold.  My brain slamed formward in my head.  You dont need to a hit to the head, to have your grey matter slosh around.
To me this new law suit is going to be a nasty slope.  8 million kids play HS football. Should this law suit be sucessfull, it ends.  Why?  You can not prevent or create any new gear in Football to prevent concussions.  It is ,as all sports are, is a dangerous sport.  High Schools will have no choice but in order to protect themselves from lawsuits, disassociate froom the sport.  They plaintifs will win this case.  Their desier to make sport safer...will.  It will end the sport.  Casuing a cascade of private football teams.
I relected back on hockey, and one of the most tragid stories I am familure with.  Kyle Fundytus,  a 16 year old defender for Don Wheaton Midget team.  He slid across the ice to make a routine shot block, and wham.  the puck him right in the throate.  He passed away overnight from the injury sustained.  As a result of that 2011 death, we now have talk of a rule, and in some places in effect, that prevents players from leaving their feet to block shots.
Taking away the method, is not really the answer.  We live in a time, where a player is faster, stronger, and more advanced as  a player from learnign and trainging techniques.  A time where people pitched a bitch about a little goalie pad here, or there.  Ill admit, goalie pads over 12" wide, are too wide.  That pads should not be taller than the inseam.  At the same time, players, especially none Jr players and above, do not need these high tec sticks.  I am tiered of watching youth players walk the proshops, flexing sticks...98% have no clue as to why they are doing it.  More over at 14U its an insaine expense with 0 gain.  At MM and Minors, these stick do aid in performance, a level of performance which creates shots at dangersous velocities.  When these players who on the bottom of the learning curve on how to really exploit the benfits of these high tech sticks, accidentaly stumble upon a well loaded stick, 90+mph shows up right now.  where, I will presume that 70 was about the peek in my day.  The high teck sticks...are landfill fodder.  Not recyclable.  Im not a believer in polictially created man made climate change fraud...I studied to much science and history to fall for it. But I do believe we are wastful race.  No reason to make the sticks, but no reason to take kids who get little benifit and have them dramaticly speed up the process.  The end of the Day, a 43 FPS reduction in velocities high end, would lessen injury, save a life potentially and save millions of dollars and waste.  So instead of taking a blocking method awway, turn the velocity down.   Take a way tool they do

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Making the "next step(s)"

When it come to advancement numbers do not lie.  Sure there are out lying floating statistics, but when you disect those players pasts, they too are tied in to the mainstream.  The mainstream is as real as a heart attack.
Since the 1960's Canadian Major Jr has produced more NHL than all other feeder systems combined. COMBINED.
We have all had our parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles or advisors tell us in some way, that life is simple.  Life is a never ending hall way, lined with doors. At some point they are all open. But as we grow up and make choice to pass through one, others close, and others open. The game of hockey is about doing all you can every day as a player to open as many as possible.
The vault doors. In order of ranking
1. The NHL. 2. Major JR 3. The NCAA D1
Open any of those vault doors and it's safe to say you'll have arrived.  The NHL is a no brainer, you've taken a game- sport and been blessed to make to make it your job.
But major jr and NCAA d1
Just because you make one or the other doesn't mean you'll make the NHL
But you have arrived on the next two largest stages possible.
Funny thing is, to reach either is begun really at bantam.  Where you are and what you are doing pre bantam doesn't mean dinky do.  Sure there is honestly talent evaluation being at pee wee; however, statistics show the alarming truths.  Most top players in pee wee vanish by 15.  Most?   To the tune of nearly 93%.  To much growing, not enough growing, skill development, not enough development and to many games, not enough conditioning, to much conditioning
Burn out, injury, and oh yea....the "love" factor.
So truth be told the next best hockey player at 12u maybe learnihg to skate as you read this.
Then we have the map. At some point people, the right people will need to see these players play.  They need to see them not only play, but perform in a context with which they familure. This is where the golden rule comes into play.  Remeber the golden rule?  Players need to play at the highest level they can where they are competitive.  There are some exceptions, but again this main stream.  One kid every 8 years emerging from an obsecure level to make d1 is not what you want to aim for.
What do we aim for?   It's simple.  Honor role.  You have to have the grades for two reasons.  1 to keep doors open and two in order to sucesfully miss some school for hockey.  Michigan is working on fixing their water downed AAA problem.  Is it a perfect fix, no
But it will force the issue of strengthening all levels. Being the best player is not enough.  You also have to be the right player. If your a jack ass, lacking self control or general maturity guess what?  The kid your better than just got your spot, and when your telling stories about the big high school game..,.he is playing in front of 25 scouts.  While both parths may lead to the exact same place one has more opurtunity than tge other.  It's undenable.  As I tell my kids all the time.  "Be sucessfull, give me the problem".  What's that about?  Everything.  Every kid has dreams.  It's about doing everything you can, every day, to reach your dreams. I'm less fortunate than some, and more than others.  If my daughter say wants to be an actress.  I see her doing things on her own to feed that desire, I'm going to help. Should that work lead to her wanting to NYU
Or x.  I'm going to do all I can with her to figure it out. Now if she shows up the day of Hs graduation wanting to go to NYU acting school having never done a darn thing along the's hard.
So if my hockey player has an OHL team at age 15 wanting to know if they draft him if he will sign and play, and he has done his part to that point.   Yea we have something of a good problem!  A life altering, life long problem.  One that is good to have.
A total of 299 players were selected in the 15-round process of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection from 101 different teams across Ontario and parts of the United States.  The selected players included 165 forwards, 100 defencemen, and 34 goaltenders.  282 players chosen were 1997-born athletes, with 14 players born in 1996, two born in 1995, and one born in 1998. The Ontario Minor Hockey Association led the way with 96 players selected from 23 different teams with 12 players from the OHL Cup Champion Oakville Rangers including a draft-high three first round picks, followed by nine players from each of the Barrie Jr. Colts, Whitby Wildcats, and York Simcoe Express.  There were 59 players selected from 37 different American programs led by nine players from Detroit Compuware.  The Greater Toronto Hockey League had 52 players selected from 14 different teams including the Toronto Marlboros who led the entire Priority Selection with 14 players chosen.  The ALLIANCE had a total of 46 players selected representing 10 different clubs led by the London Jr. Knights Gold with nine players selected.  The Ontario East Minor Hockey League had 23 players selected from five different clubs led by the Eastern Ontario Wild with seven players selected, while the Northern Ontario Hockey Association had 15 players selected from seven clubs led by five players from the Soo Thunder.  Hockey Northwestern Ontario was also represented by four players selected from the Thunder Bay Kings, while four other players were selected from various junior programs in Ontario  

Should we look  and examin the NCAA D1,USNDTP and USHL and NAHL you will see similar trends in "where they came from"
When we see a player who ellects to go to JRs, when he should try to play AAA midgets, and he finds himself in Tier3 or worse AAU, playying 3,000 miles from everything...its a big problem.  Just as not playing at the higest level you can play at when it becomes available is a problem.

Okay so I should have some exciting posts coming up....stay tuned

Monday, October 6, 2014

It has been a while...

Did ya miss me????
It is October 6th 2014.  This past weekend the first real chills of winter fell upon us, and that means hockey is here!  In force.
So whats been going on.  Seems a lot, and well, it is.  Im going to hit as much as I can, and will clearly much to write about over the next few months.
1.  The AAA Mi landscape is changing.  Changing for the good of players, families and teams.  Up to now each team has been allowed 6 players from outside of that organizations district.  District's which are zip codes, and state lines.  The change is to 10 per franchise, and a reduction in AAA to about a dozen.
Oh mean Billy from the Compuware district can not play for Bell Tire 02, or Stephan from Toleodo cant make the Compuware team he has been with?  No, just that your kid had better damn well be the real deal ..and get over it...look what this is doing.  It is saving you and your kid time, helping his education, helping him be well rounded.  Do not give me the bull crap, "my kid loves it" , I have seen to many kids who love it, get burnd out.  The USA adm model...really does work.  It develops talent, properly and gives kids time to be kids.  There is NO reason you need to be driving sub 15 year olds 3 hrs 3-4 times a school week to hockey, its stupid.  This will also boost the LCAHL teams and remove the water from AAA.   2.  MI is advancing HS hockey !  Fucking genius, allowing kids to play travel and for their HS at the same time!  My hat is off to MI for adapting to the modern game.  Seeing that some kids develop to strong HS level, and others excel beyond that.  This allows all players to come together and play for their school. Why some states, are discriminating against HS athletes, especially in the Pay to Play era, is beyond me.  At a time when states like Ohio, where the Ohio School board has been breaking the law for almost two decades.  BREAKING THE LAW!  Ordered, by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1996 to stop using the UNCONSTITUTIONAL method of personal property tax to fund public schools, the state still has not made the simple move to a fair and equal income tax %.  Why?  Because the administratiors have no clue how to operate under a real budget, and big union reps, do not want to loose acess to the endless supply of other peoples money.  So they use fear and intimidation tactics on tax payers.  Threatening to take away from education, while their exorbitant, unsustanable, nonesense pension plan grown.  The state, still does nothing...while the schools use strong arm tactics , the state does nothing, like simply suspending the collection of those taxes...the same state, where if you dont pay your income tax, will size everything a person has right down to the short curlies!...
3.  The parent tool box-
" all i want is for my kid to go Boston College or U of M and play hockey..."
guess what...That is awesome.  But just how that happens is out side of your control.   Your kid needs to be among the best in the world.  Johny average on the most super terrific happy time team, wont get him there.  It wont.  Every year, every kid in HPHL thinks they are going to play in the BCHL, USHL or the NA as a back up.   Your home work, seek out the USA hockey JR protected lists and count the number of HPHL kids in the USHL, and the NA this year.  Then do the math based on MM, Mn and bantam teams.  divide the number of kids who made it, by those who did not.  write that percentage down.  memorize it.  Dont bother your kid with it.  You memorize it.  You are your childs guide, like it or not.  Knowing that number will help explain what I am about to.

When xyz scout asks..." Johnny, wow heck of a game, your having another great season....WHAT ARE YOU PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?"  Johnny does not say..."well ...I looking at playing in the U..."  He says...I intend to play at the highest I am able to play.  JR, AAA, it doesnt matter, I just want to play.

Let his love of the sport drive him and you forward.  You do not get to pick where you play.  You may and hopefully will be fortunate to have choices...of you follow this simple tool.
Look-  look at what level your son is at...Look at that percentage...compaire to your sons performance
Listen- to Johnny he burned out, ( looking to go on spring break over try outs, or talking about just going to school)   Listen to those who are contacting you...and what levels.  if your bieng contacted regularly all year by U teams...then guess what...he is likely a U player.  If you get a dear johnny come to open try out letter...not so much.  How many people have said what he needs to work on?  Have you been invited to go skate with a team?  did you go? WHY not?  Its so funny how many people will drop everything for one level, but not another.  Sure you need to skate for every U team that calls.  But you should also go to NA and Tier 3 skates...if your LOOKING at your kid objectively and Listening and learning.
Learn-  Learn how to help your son develop on and off ice.  Learn about all levels of JR hockey, good teams move kids, bad dont.  Not every kids is Patrick Kane, or the next greatest thing.  Some are players people never hear of, some are D1(1500 ish) some are d3( 3500ish) some are ACHA.  some are done.

more to come

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Looking forward to the 2014-2015 Season

Looking at the picture for the AAA landscape a few things are clear.  Teams will not have finalized rosters untill the end of July.  Some players are on the bubble for JR teams, and those decisions need to happen.  That said we can make some determination upon what we know about current compositions.
We can expect to see Shatuk and Culver prep schools remain strong in the AAA league.  Staff changes at Detroit Honey Baked will not have a big impact on the Midget Majors performance this year, the club will be Honey Baked Hockey.  The Barrons, will be strong and possibly deeper than last season.  Boston Advantage has a pair of studs and should exceed expectations.  Comcast just may win the National Title this year.  I say may, because that determination is hinged on several factors outside of the Clubs control, on other teams rosters, but Comcast has all it takes to go the distance.
While NOT contending for a National Title, the Kansas City Mavs Majors will be on the move up the rankings.  Looking at a solid midfield season.  Compuware looks to move back into the the top 15 after a down season plagued by inconsistency and good gains in personnel.

The New England Preps D1 look to see some Teams of Record back on top.  First and foremost Avon Old Farms.  A 9-14 season for 2013 was just bad.  January and February record for Avon was 3W-7L-1otW-2otL.  Coach Gardner should have this years WingedBeavers back in the hunt.  The Gunnary and Berkshire have both added some solid players and will remain atop the list of Preps to watch, lots of NCAA d1 talent again fills the Prep Ranks this season.

The NAHL Draft is about to begin, and I am sure lots of interested parties will have an eye on that event.

Friday, May 23, 2014

TIme to register

While every team has been working diligently all season, identifying talent, pursuing those players, and observing their current paths.  Teams still have rosters to round, and complete.  Those final decisions are made at Tryouts.  Do you have what it takes to perform consistently every shift?  To take a place on a roster and hold it?  Come skate with the returning veterans, and newly contracted talent, battle for a position with the Little Flyers.  EHL South Champions 2013-14 28W, 11L, 2otl, 3 otw.  The team Head Coach /GM Rocky Russo took from last place in 2012-13 to to first, in the South to earning the #2 play off seed.    The biggest turn around in the east last season.  The EHL teams combined for over 140 NCAA D1-d3 commitments for 2014 season.  The highest number of any tier3 league in the USA of Canada. 
Philadelphia Little Flyers

follow the link and register for the July 11-13 selection camp- space is limited.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wellome to Hockey Prospects

Thank you for visiting Hockey Prospects.  The next evaluational step from Scouting Ohio Hockey.  I am John Holt, the Director of Scouting for the Philadelphia Little Flyers EHL South Champions 2013-2014.  A title that was granted to me by Head Coach and GM Rocky Russo.  A title that means, essentially, Rocky is more trusting than not of my player evaluations, lol.   Should you be new to my "Blog" you will find a lot of LOL and sarcasm, humor and at times vented frustrations.  So I hope you find writings enjoyable, and educational.

We are deep into the tryouts time of year.  Should you have a daughter with NCAA aspirations, she should be playing girls travel at the highest level Team she can make:  u19- Freshman in HS.  You are doing yourself or her no favors having her play with boys HS teams, if alternatives are available.  I will be asking a few select woman hockey players to submit their thoughts and opinions on Girls-Woman player development paths.  I do respect how busy these woman are, and we may have to just have me interview them and put up some guidelines.
The boys I can address with some more clarity.  So we will, start in some form or measure of the beginning....for players on an NCAA track.  Today, and say that from May 16 2014 there are 59 NCAA division 1 College Hockey Teams, 73 NCAA D3 Teams and 25 ACHA D1 teams (club hockey).  We will discuss some of these club teams at length in the near future as the process for making one of these teams is very similar to NCAA team, and the college hockey experience is at times better or Rivals most NCAA d1.  The top 1/3 of those club teams rival about 1/2 the the D3 teams, more parity for another time.  But what is important to note is that today as you read this and type, there are some 350,000 players ages 15-20 competing for those positions.  The average NCAA d1 Locker room has 28 players in it.  So in round math there are 1652 men (average age of Freshman is 20.4 years old) which equates to a raw chance of .4% one of those 350,000 players gets a locker.  Think your getting a scholarship?  you have a .2% of getting any money at all, let alone "THE FULL RIDE"  Schools dont have the money...the ECAC which are the IVY league schools dont have athletic scholarship.  Atlantic schools just went to allowing 16 scholarship for hockey...other leagues are capped at 18.  Its not about getting a scholarship.  That is the gravy.  Its about earning the privilege to play college hockey.  Every year there are lots of players offered D1 spots, who can not go, because the cost of tuition is to high.  its a fact.
Self assessment number 1 for parents.  What can we afford to pay for college?
Self assessment number 2 for parents  What amount, based on our sons acidemic desires, is reasonable to graduate indebted?  This is big.  Does johnny want to be graduate from X school with Y debt knowing Z average starting pay for his chosen field?  Does the math work.
Self assessment 3 for parents  Johnny is only young once, JR hockey does offer him the chance to play the game as far his ability will take him.  We have invested in him to this point, there is no reason to stop now....or is there?   Only you can debate those questions.
The big one...on deciding when to leave home.  Yup...Johhny will have to leave home at some point.  Some kids age 10-18 play at boarding schools.  Others leave home to play AAA bantam and Midgets.  Others still leave home to play Jrs at age 15...they may even take online High school classes.  Self assessment 4 for parents-  why cant johnny leave home?  Not mature enough...really?  He is 15 he has all the tools and skills to board and play hockey away from home.  The really issue is letting him leave the nest.  Its reverse home sickness.  Helicopter parenting.  Face it, you have been toting him to and from everything to now..and been part of his whole life...being cut off is scary.  But you can do it.  So leave the maturity thought off the table, those are your FEARS.
more to come...