The Era of Advanced Signings and Early Promises

We are in an era of advanced signings, early promises and commitments. There’s always two sides to the story, and right and wrong have nothing to do with that now.

Promises are tough to keep and fulfil in the game of hockey. But in the era of the advanced signings and early promises they are quickly becoming “just how business is done.”

With so many options out there teams are looking to solidify their rosters for the up coming season earlier and earlier.

How’s April sound?

That’s music to some teams and people’s ears, but where does that leave up and coming players? Well at first glance it leaves them on the outside looking in.

From a team perspective, can you blame them?

Everyone wants to ice the best possible team year after year, but with the funnel effect in full effect players and their families need to make decisions about the following season, in season, which is really difficult to imagine and understand, but that’s life in the era of early commitments, guaranteed spots and hockey promises.

It would appear on the surface there’s almost zero chance for players to surprise and win spots in a old school tryout scenario. If there are spots available they are incredibly limited.

Tryouts look completely different now with ID Camps popping up all over the place.

ID Camps open the door for early signings and promises to be made.

So what happens if the player doesn’t live up to expectations?

What happens when early promises are broken?

What happens to the reputation of the organization if the promises get broken?

What happens to the player?

Well it’s early enough they can find a place to play. One would assume that’s the only positive that comes out of it. What about teams that wait until other tryouts are almost over to select their squad leaving the player that gets released in extremely tough spot.

When rumblings of early signings happen it spreads like wild fire around minor hockey circles.

Early signings could potentially ruin the integrity of the entire tryout process. More and more teams are taking this route again “because that’s how everyone does business.”

To stay ahead or to stay competitive teams and organizations have to play that game or there is a perception out there that they will get left behind.

Whatever happened to having a chance or a legitimate opportunity to make the team during tryouts?

Those chances decrease rapidly when spots are automatically promised.

How many players are guaranteed a spot?

Early signings continue to promote resume and past performance over potential competition when it comes to spots available in a tryout scenario. Some believe that those two aspects should be enough to guarantee a spot, because if there’s no guarantees or a sure thing then there’s too many things left to chance.

With options narrowing or buzz through hockey’s grapevine, families and players start to look elsewhere so they can try ensure what’s best for their interests.

The writing is on the wall for so many players and their families. That’s why we are seeing more and more players and their families taking what many think as alternative routes in the game.

Could you imagine the caliber of play if and when every player would be on a level playing field during an legitimate tryout process or training camp?

When promises get made that people can’t keep, it spawns a culture of entitlement, a culture of selfishness, a culture of greed.

There’s a massive difference between promises and earning your place on a team.

What if a player moves into the area, is a very solid player who would deserve a legitimate chance at cracking the roster, but isn’t given a fair shot due to kids already being signed.

What’s the messaging look like then?

People around the hockey world then wonder why grudges arise.

“Why should I go tryout, if they have already picked the team” mentality becomes apparent amongst young players or capable players looking to get to the next level.

It’s hard not to see the logic in that perspective, but wouldn’t it be great to see players go to tryouts or selection camps on sheer spite alone and send messages of their own?

This is the era of minor hockey that many players and their families are experiencing and that’s why the game of hockey are seeing more and more options/programs arise at every level.

Teams are looking out for their best interests while the players and families are looking out for their own.

It’s crazy to think what the tryout/selection/ID/Training Camp process looks like in the era of advanced signings and early promises.

One can only wonder if the players and their families or teams and organizations ever regret their early committals? As the old saying goes,

“If you burn your ass, you better sit on the blisters.”

For all those players questioning whether they should go tryout or not. Perhaps they should take the Stone Cold Steve Austin approach, “Hell Yeah” and “open up a can of whoop ass” during the selection process.

Teams want early commitments, so they can build out their “ghost rosters”, or real roster, while players want early commitment, but the question remains is anything ever earned this era of the game?

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