“This Year’s Crop”

“Just wait until you see this year’s crop of players.”

“It’s a strong birth year.”

“The 2007’s are really strong.”

Over the last few months of the 2021-2022 hockey season you begin to hear the aforementioned phrases nonstop.

It’s hard to believe, but we are only a few weeks away from the a start of the new season.

It’s definitely an exciting time for the next crop of players trying to make their way and have an impact on the game at the next level.

It’s incredibly difficult to predict future success for any player let alone those players that have already been labelled as “the next ones”

“Oh, they are going to be a first rounder.”

It’s way too early for those prognostications, but one can only imagine what’s going through a young players mind right now as they get set to make the jump to the next level.

In this day and age, most players already have been signed, they have been given their spot on the team, some of those promises have been made as early as April.

That’s an incredibly slippery slope to write about, especially in a game where promises can be broken in an instant.

The good old tryout process or proving you belong doesn’t exist for some players, it’s their past

performance that matters most, which I still can’t wrap my head around, but just imagine the sense of entitlement these young players must possess.

Ironically, that entitlement quickly turns to shock and awe in their first foray at the next level, or when things get a little tougher.

The next crop of young aspiring players might be great, it’s great to talk about and see them perform amongst their own age group at the U-15 level.

It’s equally as great to project their abilities and skill set, but they still have to find their way and play to their identity at the next level under the scrutiny of their draft year.

Entitlement runs rampant these days, the entire minor hockey world spawns it due in large part to labeling and identifying “chosen or the selected ones” as early as Atom.

Hell, some people have already started ranking a vast majority of “the next crop” before the season has even started.

Advanced scouting they say, you can’t make this shit up.

All eyes are on these young players, but perhaps we should change up question when evaluating the next crop?

Of course some years are better than others when it comes to a crop of players.

Some years are a tad bit thin when it comes to highly skilled or elite talented players and you know what that’s ok.

Some years are way better than others and that’s ok as well.

What’s not ok with entire process is what it’s doing to the players and their character.

Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly why teams are signing players as early as April, because they don’t want to lose them, but what’s that telling the kid?

That’s not preparing them for anything when it comes to the next level.

“Be ready for camp and show people you belong, but we are signing you because we believe in you and we love your game.”

I’m sure that’s been said a time or to.

These players just assume things should all line up accordingly because that’s exactly what has happened all the way up.

You can’t tell me that’s preparing the player for success, that’s preparing the player to be entitled as hell.

There’s a big difference between confidence and entitlement and that’s one thing you can see almost instantly when observing “the next crop” of young players play early on at the next level.

Does past behaviour indicate future behaviour?

Does past success indicate future success?

Will this year’s crop of players be better than last year’s draft class?

We will all have to wait and see, as they say “time will tell.”

We all see it differently, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to see the entitled players and the other kids that are working their arse off to prove they belong and earn a spot rather than be given one.

Perhaps instead of projecting the talent of the next crop we should be discussing their character.

To each their own,

See you at the rink,

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