Minor Hockey Tryouts Aren’t What They Used to Be

We all thought tryouts were fair in minor hockey, well they might have been back in our day, obviously, that might not be the case these days.

We are in an era of promises, advanced signings and early commitments. It happens more than you think.

There’s always two sides to the story, but let’s start with ghost rosters. I hate ghost rosters. I know everyone puts them together and I’m guilty of that as well, but it’s just too damn early for that especially in minor hockey.

You can bet your ass that every single team’s coaching staff and managerial staff have their ghost rosters already made even ahead of their official tryouts. That’s perfectly fine, that’s what you are suppose to do to a certain extent. Those ghost rosters should be heavily guarded. Obviously, it’s way too early to start predicting opening day line ups and starting goaltenders on minor hockey or provincial teams.

Sure you can project, but don’t make those things public.

I think the worst aspects of “ghost rosters” is when organizations or team personnel leak information or their intentions. That’s when the promises start floating around. When that happens, that’s when trouble surfaces.

You see when rumblings of early signings happen it spreads like wild fire. You can’t blame the player. These early rumblings makes it sound like they have already made all of their decisions and have already picked the team well before the official tryout process which in many ways fundamentally ruins the integrity of the entire process.

Whatever happened to having a chance to make the team? Those chances decrease rapidly when spots are automatically promised.

How many players are guaranteed a spot? When do they sign?

Does it happen at an Spring or Summer ID Camp or on the first day of training camp?

It seems like more and more kids are being signed without proving their worth or showing what they can really do at the next level, which is a real shame.

Don’t get me started on resume over performance during the tryout process, but it’s ridiculous to think that where the kid played the season before or their stats mean something. Clearly, it shouldn’t matter, that’s why they call it tryouts. The player tries out for the team, they don’t magically appear or show up and make it.

You would be surprised at the frequency that this happens.

Don’t believe me, just ask around.

It’s so wrong, it’s always been wrong and that’s one aspect of the game that needs to drastically change. Nevertheless, the organizations have their reasons. I was truly shocked a few years ago when I first heard Midget aged kids were getting signed weeks before training camp.

In my opinion that’s wrong on so many levels, but there you go “ghost rostering” at its finest.

Pencil the names in, project your lines, D pairings and specialty teams, and even your goaltenders if you want, but keep it private.

If you don’t want this stuff to get out, why sign players so early on in the process?

Wouldn’t it be great for the game, if the tryout process was a legitimate process to choose the best players available no matter what or where they played or performed the year before?

Tryouts aren’t what they used to be, but let’s hope we can get back to proving your worth and value the right way.

Can you imagine the caliber of play if and when every player would be on a level playing field during an legitimate tryout?

There’s no guarantees in sport. There’s no guarantees in the game of hockey. There should be no promises made or signings before the entire tryout process is complete. That’s how it was supposed to be. Nonetheless, that’s not how things work these days. Organizations have their reasons for doing what they do, but wouldn’t we all like to see a level playing field for every player, not just a select few.


  1. Absolutely should be one standard as it is in Selection

    There many so-called players make it have no business doing so it is about their connections and what they appeal

    Guys like Logan Mallioux shouldn’t be given second chances or players that think vicious forms of hazing as they call it “maturity and growth” how does reverting to such horrendous going to help players grow? It will deter them even from wanting to play.

    I am not saying that there is any harm in fun pranks but when it causes bodily harm and scars then you would think common sense would kick in…but guys like Bill Peter’s, Mike Babcock that are given your kids to mould them into good quality players should never be accepted.




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