Post #91 – 6/7/23 – Opportunity Knocks, But Where?

It’s Important to have a summer plan

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Opportunity Knocks, But Where?

Picking Summer Events To Attend Isn’t Easy, But Can Be Beneficial If You Have A Plan

In response to my post last week on cutting down the number of events you attend and saving your summer sanity, I got a number of positive emails responses–Thank you!

I also got many questions. One in particular bears some attention, that being: Which Summer events are best to go to? How do I know which ones to attend?

So, parents… this post is primarily for you… players, be sure to read up as well.

It’s a great question. But not an easy one to answer. In short – it depends. But here are some ideas to help guide you along the way so you’re not wasting money or your time.

Have A Plan

As some astute business guru once said: When you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

The same holds true in becoming a great player and reaching your hockey goals. It’s really hard to attain them if you don’t have a plan on how to get there.

So what does it really mean to have a plan?

Having a plan basically means you’re going to assess certain areas of your hockey life and base your decisions of what summer events to attend off that assessment. Put in a little work, have some self discovery, plot a course – and then go after it.

Step 1… Try to answer What’s the goal with hockey? Are you just playing for fun or because you like being with your hockey friends? Or do you have aspirations to play competitively beyond high school or after college? If playing NCAA hockey is your goal, do you want to play D-I or D-III? Think you have what it takes to be an Olympian? Whatever the case – figure out what you want your goal with hockey to be.

So you figured out playing NCAA college hockey is the goal, D-I or D-III doesn’t mater as long as your playing NCAA college hockey. Step 2… Figure out how long you have until your goal begins. I call this your hockey timeline. So if you’re just finishing grade 9, you minimally would have 3 more years in your hockey timeline before playing college hockey.

You know the goal, you know how long you have before you reach it, Step 3 is to assess yourself as a player and figure out where do you stack up? Are you on the right track to reach your goal? Are you just an average player or one of the best on your team? Are you trying out for and being selected for national, regional, or state/provincial camps within your age group?

Here is why these steps are important.

Step 1, Find Your Goal… If you don’t really have aspirations of becoming a competitive player and you’re just playing for the fun of it, there really isn’t a need to spend oodles of money and time traveling around North America or elsewhere. There are probably local programs around your area that will help you improve and have some fun.

By the same token, if you are a competitive player and want to take hockey as far as you can, creating a plan that includes both a great deal of training and development as well as exposure to college coaches would be important.

Step 2, Know Your Hockey Timeline… The more time you have, the more you can spend on your development. The less time on your side, perhaps exposure might be the better choice way to go. The time you spend on your development, is like saving for retirement. The more time you have to contribute, the better retirement balance you’ll have. CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR DEVELOPMENT. If time is on your side, spend more time on development than exposure.

I’ll throw geography in here as well. It matters and can effect your timeline to a degree. Players from Minnesota on east have a distinct advantage. College coaches don’t get out west all that often. That means you westerners have to travel farther and may be more often for exposure.

Step 3, Assess How Good You Are… So you can pick appropriate events that aren’t over your head. I hate saying attempting something is a waste of money, but realistically – you can do yourself a disservice by attending events that are severely above your level of play. Best to pick camps or clinics, development programs that focus on improvement before focussing on exposure.

Once you have all these steps figured out, you can then assess what events exist, what they offer, and how they can help you meet your goals.

In Friday’s post, I’ll discuss how to evaluate events so you can select the one that fits your needs.

Until Next Time Everyone… Be Well and take Care,

-Streams for games in the ECAC can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams in the WCHA can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams in Hockey East this year can be found HERE. Hockey East once again is streaming all game live and for FREE.

-Streams for CHA games with the exception of Penn St. can be found HERE. Paid subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams for NEWHA games can be found at each teams’ website. Subscriptions may be necessary to watch games.

NCAA Coaching Changes… Keep up with all the coaching changes across D-I and D-III HERE.

Recruiting Events/League Online Directory… Find all the recruiting events on right HERE. Want to add your event? Click HERE to fill out our event form.

Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College and beginning his 4th 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 amateur 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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