9/21/21 – Part III – Mutual Respect Series – Club & HS Coaches

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  • Part III – Mutual Respect Series – Club & High School Coaches |

Today we bring you the 3rd-part of our 3-part series on mutual respect within women’s hockey. We’re taking a look at three key participant groups – Youth hockey Parents, Players, and Club / High School coaches. We’ll identify some situations that commonly occur and ways in which we can show a bit more mutual respect to those we deal with throughout the hockey season. Enjoy!

Part III – Mutual Respect Series

Club and High School Coaches

Help your players explore all college hockey opportunities that come their way… Coaches or team personnel who help their players navigate the NCAA recruiting process can be very valuable, but only when you present all the options to your players! At times, some club/high school coaches can be selective about who tell their players who has interest in them. This is never a great approach. D-I coaches can’t communicate with players in grade 9 or 10, so club / high school coaches become gatekeepers of information of information college coached tell them–like when they have interest in a certain player. Let your players and families know every NCAA program that asks about them. D-I, D-III, ACHA teams – anyone. It should never matter to you who inquires. What you are, is someone who helps high school players and parents sort through information in order so they can make an educated decision. What you are not, is an some kind of agent, who picks and chooses which schools your players will have interest in.

Want to be respected in your role with your player’s/families and the NCAA coaches who have interest in you players – then give everyone a shot, remove your bias, and be inclusive of all programs. You are much better off developing a process to teach your players/families how make these decisions themselves. Show them how to evaluate the academic, the financial, as well as the hockey side of the opportunities that come their way. Have a player that wants to go to a top program? Great, sit down with them and watch a game online or better yet – go to a game live. Show them the level they are trying to get to. And If a NCAA coach asks for contact info for your players, don’t withhold it – get it to them. Once June 15 rolls around and coaches can make phone calls, eventually NCAA coaches find out if you don’t pass information along. So, respect the process, do right by your players and the college programs you work with.

Don’t be a broker in the transfer process… Those who coach players in grade 9 and beyond are what the NCAA considers a ‘Third Party’. In transfer situations, Third Parties have often been used to act behind the scenes in somewhat obscurity. Because NCAA coaches are not allowed to communicate with other NCAA players until the transfer process is initiated, ‘Third Parties’ have been used to help gain information for the player wishing to transfer. To communicate with college coaches at other programs who might have interest in the player.

Communication by a Third Party to another NCAA coach about a current NCAA player who wishes to transfer – has always been a NCAA violation, but extremely hard to track or prove. These conversations by Third Parties are dishonest and an underhanded way to operate around the NCAA rules in place. The NCAA has never really regulated Third Parties much – that is until now with new the NCAA transfer rules effective as of July 2021. It’s a bit of a back-door way of regulating Third Parties – but here is how the new rules work. Players who want to transfer must certify in writing, along with their new head coach, they did not have direct or indirect communication with the new school’s athletics staff prior to entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. That indirect or direct communication ‘behind the scenes’ is in reference to Third Parties. If impermissible contact was had, the athlete’s eligibility could be in jeopardy and infractions could be placed on her new school. The NCAA is now asking transfers and her new coaches, to be honest about their prior communications as they now have to report this to the NCAA. So, moral of the story for Third Parties: 1) If asked by a former player to help get some info for them in a transfer situation – decline, decline, decline. You will jeopardize her eligibility and could bring NCAA sanctions against her new school if you act on her behalf. 2) Respect the transfer process and wait for your former player to get in the NCAA portal – then you can help all you want. Doubtful D-I coaches are going to risk their jobs or sanctions from the NCAA against their program by lying to the NCAA and their institutions by having impermissible conversations with Third Parties. You can read more about how the new transfer process works HERE and get yourself educated.

Do Your Homework When Promoting Your Players…

Club/High School Coach: Hey, got a great D for you. Kid can really play.

College Coach: Oh, great, well how good is she?

Club/High School Coach: She’s in our top 4D, PP/PK all day long!

College Coach: Nice. Where do you think she fits at our level?

Club/High School Coach: You know, good question, I’m not so sure, never really watched much NCAA hockey. But i’m telling you – she’s AWESOME – you have to take her.

It’s a pretty common conversation actually. But there is a problem trying to promote someone if you don’t really know the talent level of the NCAA team you’re talking. Yes, the NCAA program always needs to do their homework on your player in question, but Club/HS coaches can do themselves a favor by learning a bit about the team they think one of their players may be a good fit for. Watching games live or on video of past games to familiarize yourself with the skill level and style of play the NCAA program has, can help mitigate a big risk of a player not working out and score big points with the program you’re working with. Promoting players that at the end of the day won’t be a good fit, doesn’t do anyone any favors. Just because your player does well for your team or in the league she is in – doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll be the same at the NCAA level. The more you can research and talk in specifics about how your players can help, relative to the NCAA program, the better you’re going to sound and the more a college program will respect working with you.

So do your homework/research and promote players that will be a good fit!

Until Next Time…

Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org and beginning his 3rd season as an Assistant Coach with the Yale University women’s hockey program. Grant has developed an experienced perspective in the world of women’s ice hockey, having coached and recruited players from across the globe during his 25+ year amatuer and NCAA coaching career. He has coached at 6 NCAA DIII and DI programs in the NCHA (D3), the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, ECAC, and the Ivy League (DI). Beyond coaching, Grant served as a site representative for the 2019 NCAA quarterfinal of the D-I NCAA Tournament. He also currently serves as an Officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association as Vice President of Membership and sits on the AHCA’s Women’s Hockey Executive Committee.

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