With many elite U-18 training camps on the horizon, one could only imagine what’s going through the minds of young fifteen-year-olds dreaming of one day playing in the QMJHL, NCAA and beyond.
The art or science of scouting is extremely difficult, it’s objective, and it’s not always black or white. Some base their projections on comparisons, but at the end of the day as a scout experience and our observations are the true guide.
This is for all those draft eligible players;
Dear Draft Eligible Player,
Don’t worry I see you. I see your natural talent. I see your skill.
I know it’s an important year for you and your family, nevertheless, try not to put too much pressure on yourself, it’s only going to hurt you. Why sabotage yourself by trying to be something you’re not, by adding undue pressure when it’s not warranted.
Just play the game. Play to your identity, play to your strengthens, dedicate time to your weaknesses.
Have fun playing the game, challenge yourself to get better, challenge yourself to be the best you can be on and off the ice.
I see you when you are at your highest. I see you at your lowest. I see you when you’re down and out.
I see your shaken confidence. I see how you handle adversity and I learn more about you when you’re struggling than when you are having success.
I’ve seen how you practice. I’ve seen your mistakes. Mistakes happen, it’s how you deal with them that reveal your character and resiliency.
Don’t get down, mistakes happen it’s part the game, it’s part of the process. Sometimes your mistakes, were the right play to make, just at the wrong time. Embrace the process, embrace the journey.
Do all the little things it takes to develop, take pride in that aspect of the game, take pride in the opportunity.
Be a good teammate. Be a good leader. Be a good person on and off the ice.
Control what you can control. At times your draft year could become a whirlwind of distractions. Don’t let the “shitshow” that surrounds the draft year process bring you down or derail your dreams and intentions in the game. Obviously, every shift counts, every practice matters, every situation you play in reveals more than you can imagine about your potential and your will to compete. Adapt, excel and develop.
It takes courage to lace them up.
It takes courage to go through the process.
Embrace the process, embrace the journey.
I don’t see all the extra work you put in behind the scenes, but I will see the results.
I don’t see you at school, but people will want to know.
I don’t see how you interact with your family and friends, but people will want to know.
I don’t see your personality and ego off the ice, but I sure as hell see it on the ice. Stay humble, stay composed. Be strong, be tough to play against, but don’t cross the line, that’s not toughness, that’s being undisciplined.
Respect the game; respect your place in it.
To respect the game is to love the game.
Respect the process.
Trust the process.
Embrace the grind and journey.
Don’t concern yourself with all the noise from a far. Trust your natural talent, trust your skill. Control what you can control. Play to your identity; don’t try to be something you’re not.
Rankings are rankings, they are important, but they aren’t everything.
There are hundred of examples of players that go undrafted in their draft year and excel at the next level a year or two down the road.
Remember you don’t have to be flashy to get noticed. Work on your skating, move the puck and think the game even quicker. Don’t worry, I see you and others will see you as well.
Play to your identity and play with passion, have a great year,
See you at the rink,