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Reach Your Full Potential


David MacDonald, and the Hockey Family Advisory staff, work with hockey players and their families to help identify opportunities in which players can leverage their athletic skills to receive immediate and future benefits, as they go about improving their game and expanding their educational opportunities.

“Our clients include young players who play at the prep school, major midget, U-16 and U-18 programs, Junior “A”, Major Junior and college hockey (both NCAA and CIS), levels throughout all of North America.”

We work with a limited number of hockey players of each birth year and help them identify and put in place a strategic plan to enable them to achieve their athletic and academic goals. We undertake promotional activities to help our clients receive proper placements.

Each fall, many of our clients attend prep school and college programs on scholarships and bursaries, enabling them to pursue their athletic and academic dreams, while positioning themselves for tremendous future opportunities.

In addition to the many academic and hockey questions, we help players and their families identify and negotiate the important things that should be taken into account by every student-athlete who is interested in playing at the next levels.

Please contact us if you think you could put our experience and expertise to work for you.


It’s Meant To Be A Marathon


portraitSuitcoat100“Confidence” is extremely important, and likely one of the most important attributes of a successful hockey player.

In today’s world though, too often, people confuse “ego” with “confidence”, and in fact will say that a player is full of confidence, when they really mean that he is “cocky” and full of himself.

In fact, most often, it is the parents that have the ego, as they try to live vicariously through their sons, which is the most annoying phenomena in the game of hockey, and the one thing that most often limits how far most hockey players will ever advance in their hockey careers.

Ego derives from the Latin and Greek word, “I” and is used to mean the “self,” or “identity.” It’s the belief system one has that identifies their place in the world.

Within the past month, I have spoken to parents and players who insist that they are being dealt a bad hand because of the fact that college programs are not yet calling…., that major junior teams are calling other players but not them…. I have even be told of a few situations where they even believe that NHL teams were regularly showing up to watch 12-14 year olds.

In the attempt to stroke their own egos, many players and parents have an overwhelming desire to top the recruiting and scouting stories of their teammates. Where it becomes quite comical is that the stories that they are attempting to top are generally malarkey that was used to top someone else’s story….. and so by the end of April, the stories are so grandiose that they are absolutely ridiculous.

So what happens when that belief system becomes skewed a little (or a lot) and you find that you’ve turned into “that guy” that everybody loves to hate: the ego maniac. Is that really so terrible? Yes, yes and YES

I have heard the most outrageous things come out of the mouths of players and parents…..

Recently, I had a parent state that her son “will not try out”. She wants her son named to a team without having to show up to try out like all the other players. That attitude has the potential of destroying “team chemistry”. Unfortunately, that player will likely play two levels lower than he should next season, simply because of the parental attitude.

I recently viewed the online resume of a goalie from North Carolina who was telling the World through a recruiting site that he was committed to one of the college teams that played this past weekend in the Frozen Four Championships. Perhaps “he was committed”, but when I asked the coaches about this player, they were unaware of him and had never seen him play, let alone have had any communication with him. He has been living in a fantasyland, and I am going to suggest that many are. I have identified dozens of players who have made similar claims this year, and are the laughing stock of many.

Doing what I do, it is very difficult to keep players grounded, when there is so much BS and distraction going on around them. My suggestion to all players is to do what you can do…., control what you can control…., keep your nose to the grindstone….. work hard and be smart……. forget about everyone else and their claims…… Be a team-first” guy…… and not that other guy…….

Make careful and prudent decisions.

Players will often make decisions to try out for a team that is perceived to be at a higher level, even though they have zero chance of making the final roster, simply to be able to say that were invited to try out for the “big club”. Quite often, that decision will limit their opportunities in the future.

I am aware of one player who turned down the opportunity to play with one junior club the other day, after being rejected by three other junior clubs, simply because the club who is interested in him does not do well in the standings, traditionally. Often, being the big fish in the small pond is much better than being the small fish in the big pond. Being the guy who is seen as being one who would prefer to make a difference by helping a struggling program and to help make those players around him better, rather than to rot on the fourth or fifth line indicates the type of character that many upper-level Programs recognize they need.

Successful people make wise decisions. They generally know their limitations, and they make strategic decisions based on how to best go about achieving their dreams. They do not go for bust. The most successful people in history were those who went about their lives quietly pursuing their dreams. “Timing is everything”, and as I often remind people, “Success is meant to be a marathon, not a sprint….”

Successful hockey programs make wise decisions.

When it comes to NCAA D-1 programs , over the past 10 years, it would have been extremely rare to ever hear of a player wishing to play at Providence, if given the choice. Providence is a Program that has won less than 50% of it’s games over the past 30 seasons, and from 2006 to 2012 had won just 36% of the time. This year they were victorious 65% of the time, and then went on to win the Frozen Four National Championship, as an underdog. Yesterday, I was asked 4 times about the Program.

I suggest that those players who entered Providence’s system over the past 3-4 years will be seen as having made wise decisions, as there were things going on behind the scenes to increase chances of success. I happen to know 3 of those players very well, and they are some of the most confident, quiet young men I know. They are all of the highest character, and were each thrilled to have even had been given the opportunity to play D-1 hockey. They took full advantage of the situation….., put their noses to the grindstone, along with their teammates….., shared a dream   , and made it happen…… with quiet confidence…… It was truly a marathon…..

And from what I have been told, not a single ego in the room.


David MacDonald, SPAD
Hockey Family Advisor


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