How are colleges talking to 14 and 15-year-olds?
Player and parent expectations should be tempered in regards to being recruited by colleges at the Bantam/Midget level. It almost surely will not happen and that’s OK. However, colleges are aware of the best prospects in the age group. The CHL drafts are part of the reason schools try to get younger players interested in the NCAA route but recruiters also want to collect the best talent. Players that commit at younger ages are generally extremely talented and extremely dedicated. They are far from average. Lots can change but at that moment in time, they are typically the most elite players in the age group.
Coaches cannot initiate phone calls, texts, emails or meetings with prospects officially at this age. However, third parties often serve as a go-between and set up opportunities to have conversations. Players can call coaches but coaches cannot call players.
What does a verbal commitment mean?
A verbal commitment is non-binding agreement and the school or player can walk away from that promise at any time. Until a player signs a Letter of Intent, nothing is absolute. The player and program are really committing to the process of preparing “Player X” to attend and play hockey at “School Y”.
In the CHL there are no verbal commitments; players are drafted to a team and if a team wants them they sign a binding contract.
Should players hire agents or family advisors?
There are two types of agents/advisors in the market place. There are NHLPA certified agents who work with amateur players free of charge and are not paid until they sign a professional contract and there are paid family advisors who receive compensation from amateur players.
For the most part, NHLPA agents are credible with coaches, they have a lot of experience and knowledge of the amateur hockey world and they typically only take on prospects who they believe have pro upside. The important distinction here is that NHLPA advisors recruit players and only take on prospects they want whereas paid advisors take on a much larger pool of players.
The paid family advisors vary in credibility, they vary in knowledge and experience and they vary in purpose. Some are in it for the right reasons to help players; some advisors fill an important niche for the non-pro bound players who don’t get the same representation and exposure of the pro bound players. However, there are also advisors who take on as many players as possible, promise them dreams they cannot deliver and take advantage of parents.
Family advisors serve as an additional resource to a player’s coach, school or parents. Often, they have connections and understanding that a player’s inner circle may not and do a lot of the grunt work and research to provide players with the best possible opportunity. They can help to place players with junior teams, prep schools, CHL and NCAA.
We have listed some questions and considerations for players and parents to help decide on an advisor.
- Always ask for a list of their clients and a few references of players or parents you are familiar with to get an idea of what their experience has been.
- If you are paying for an agent/advisor make sure you read the contract and have a clear understanding as to what services you are paying for and what your expectations are. We recommend that all prospects make an incentive-based deal with advisors based on the goals they have set.
- Beware of promises and “promoters;” a true advisor is not a promoter of prospects; a true advisor is an educator to help players and parents make the best decisions for their child. The idea that an agent or advisor is going to get a player a D1 scholarship or placement on a junior team is wrong. The only person who can get a player a D1 scholarship is the player himself.
- Ask how many players the agent is representing and where those players are going. Agents with too many clients can’t give you the time and attention you’ll need.
- Don’t overpay for services; nobody should be paying thousands of dollars for someone to answer a few basic questions and call coaches on the players behalf.
- Players should ALWAYS reach out to the coaches directly, they should not hide behind their agents and should not rely on agents to make phone calls for them. NCAA and CHL coaches want to speak to players directly and it can actually be detrimental when their advisor reaches out on their behalf.
How do I get on Neutral Zone?
Neutral Zone, to deliver on its mission to unbiased amateur scouting, does not accept payment or have any programs, combines, etc. to get listed on our site. Our scouting staff goes to every major showcase and tournament including regular season games and playoffs to find the best prospects in North America. The only way for a player to get onto the site is to perform at a high level, catch on our scouts eyes at a game/tournament/showcase and be written up in their scouting report. Every player written up in a scouting report will be added to our system and get a player profile.
Once a prospect has been evaluated by both a regional scout and a scouting director they will be assigned a star rating which will change throughout their amateur career. Some prospects will be CHL Draft candidates and/or will be in leagues which we do monthly or quarterly rankings of those leagues which will also show on the player profile.