Post #92 – 6/9/23 – Get Out Your Hockey Specs + Sifters
Learn What To Look At When Evaluating Events To Attend
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Get Out Your Hockey Specs + Sifters
Happy Friday everyone. I hope you’ve had a great week. Time to get our your hockey glasses and look for a good Summer hockey find.
In Wednesday’s post, I tried to answer a common question that many of you have asked previously: Which Summer events are best to go to? How do you know which ones to attend?
Now, it would have been really easy for me to come up with the top 7-8 events college coaches go to. Bing, Bang, Boom – there’s your list, just register and sign up, right?
Well, it’s isn’t that easy.
My approach was to explain a methodology, a process of evaluating what should go into deciding what Summer hockey event you might consider. In the crowded schedule of Summer showcases, camps, ID Skates, and tournaments, if you know what to look for, the better off you’ll be.
And that is my goal today. To give you some valuable tips on how to evaluate your Summer hockey options.
First, know what types of events exist. Here are a few.
- Day/Overnight Camps & Clinics
- NCAA College Camps & Clinics
- NCAA ID Prospect Camps/Showcases
- Multi-Week Skill Development On-Ice/Off-Ice Programs
- Showcase Camps
- Showcase Tournaments
- USA Hockey / Hockey Canada Sanctioned Player Development Camps
Summer hockey events fall into a few different categories. Most say they will either improve your game or… get you exposure to NCAA coaches. Some promote themselves as being able to do both.
As I said in Wednesday’s post, a good way to chose an event to attend is decide 1) what your hockey goals are, 2) what your hockey timeline is, and 3) what you need most as a player to reach your intended goals.
Events that are great for teaching skills and development would be Day/Overnight Camps & Clinics, NCAA College Camps & Clinics, Multi-Week Skill Development Programs, and USA Hockey / Hockey Canada Sanctioned Player Development Camps. Here are few things to pay attention to so you can choose the right one for you.
- Who is doing the instruction and how experienced is the staff? To have played is one thing, to have played and know how to teach is another. Coaching experience matters. How much ice-time being offered mater too?
- How long does the program run for… 4-5 days for a camp is plenty, 6-8 weeks where you are on the ice or in the gym a few times per week is a great for a multi-week skill development program.
- NCAA College Camps/Clinics provide one of the better ways to see how a college coaching staff is like, while hopefully getting on campus. Perhaps there will be other college program there working? Best to ask!
- USA Hockey / Hockey Canada events are not something you can just register to attend, you have to be selected. But if you do get to go to a camp, they do provide a great combination of learning, development, and exposure to some great coaches.
- Cost & Value… What are you actually getting for your $?
NCAA ID Prospect Camps/Showcases, Showcase Camps, and Showcase Tournaments are intentionally wrapped up around exposure to college coaches with limited if any instruction. They can be a great way to get to know a coach or the entire staff. Some things to consider are:
- For NCAA ID Camps and Showcase Camps… Is there instruction provided–if so, how? Is there a campus or facility tour? How many schools will be part of the staff – if any? Is there any feedback provided? Some of these events provide little instruction–and with good reason as most are about getting players to play in front of college coaches. To be clear, a ‘high intensity college level practice’ is not necessarily instruction or teaching… players taking a knee at the dry erase board to hear a coach explain a 4 part 3v2 breakout, re-group, attack offensive zone entry drill – is really code for college coaches to watch and see if these kids can follow directions, keep up, and not be a drill killer.
- For Tournaments… or showcases as they are sometimes called… may not offer any instruction or practice time because college coaches usually aren’t involved. It’s all about the tournament operator inviting college coaches to scout games because of the caliber of players participating. You don’t always have to be on e ‘team’ to participate. There are quite a few individual entry showcase camp and tournament events.
On the issue of exposure to college coaches… There’s no way to guarantee it – so it’s probably not a great idea to attend an event just because you were told a certain coach or number of schools would be in attendance. It’s much easier for events to say we have a number of coaches working, but even that isn’t always possible. With just about every rink having some kind of LiveBarn type video service, NCAA coaches don’t always have to be in the rink to watch. A lot of events are using video services like InStat etc. where NCAA coaches have access.
Bottom line, do ask questions and get a sense of what you are paying for. Be sure to figure out your ‘why’, before deciding what to attend and you’ll better off for it.
Coaches Roundtable… Late Monday night it was reported Minnesota Associate Head Coach Natalie Darwitz was no longer listed on the Gopher website, and now we know why. Darwitz and former Elmira Head Coach Jake Bobrowski will be teaming up (again) as Co-Head Coaches at Hill-Murray High School. Bobrowski was Darwitz’ assistant coach at Hamline University before both made the jump to the Gophers in 21-22.
Division I has its 4th head coaching vacancy open as Harvard’s Katey Stone announced her retirement on Tuesday.
Both St. Cloud and RPI look like they’ve posted for their 3rd assistant position.
You can catch up on all the coaching movement with our Coaching Changes Tracker right HERE.
Another Team Goes To Europe… Mercyhurst University will join Princeton and Providence College as they travel to Stockholm, Sweden this July where they will play the Swedish National and Developmental teams. NCAA D-I teams are allowed a foreign trip every 4 years (I think) where they can play international games. The Laker program has a long history of recruiting players from Sweden. The trip will be from July 22-31. You can read more about the trip HERE.
Mergers & Acquisitions… College Hockey America and the Atlantic Hockey Association on the men’s side will officially merge operations for the 24-25 season. Newly hired Commissioner Michelle Morgan made the announcement last week sighting a chance to streamline operations and build an enhanced brand on both the women’s and side side of D-I hockey. You can read the official statement HERE.
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.
Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org 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.