It shouldn’t come as a surprise when an AP (Affiliated Player) shines in their debut at the next level.
You see all their hard work was all done behind the scenes well before they skated under the bright lights of the next level.
Fans praise the depth of the organization, but very few of these loyal hockey crazed group actually see the prospects in action with their team before the call up.
All the hard work, adversity and growth and development often goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
There’s tons of reasons why the player gets called up, like injuries or for potential trade bait, but more often than not these young players are called up because they have paid their dues and fully deserve an opportunity.
An opportunity is everything these players might need to send a message to the organization and teams across the league that they are for real. Obviously, the organization is fully aware of the players potential, that’s why they signed them as a free agent or drafted them, but even then sometimes they still surprise.
There’s only a select few that fully grasp the current value of the player, how hard they have worked, their journey to this moment and what this opportunity really means to them.
It’s no surprise AP’s or “call ups” play so well, it’s the one opportunity that they have been looking for their entire lives. For some it’s a dream come true, for many, it’s a chance to show everyone they belong, but more importantly it’s a chance to prove it to themselves.
In the biggest audition of their lives, under the brightest of lights the pressure and high expectations all fade away.
It’s all about instincts, it’s all about skill and character. Sure, it might take a couple of shifts to settle in, but once they do, they always seem to excel.
No matter when or where, AP’s never seem to disappoint especially when they are given a shot to show what they got at the next level.
The next time you see an unfamiliar name or number in the line up take note, remember their name, because you will see plenty of them next year and you will be able to tell the story, “I remember when I saw that kid play as an underager, or AP.”