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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.


Careful Decisions Ahead, and around every corner….



portraitSuitcoat100Two weeks ago, I was speaking to a young man, who was drafted in one of the major junior drafts this spring.

He was drafted in the 14th round.

When I suggested that he should attend a college showcase event that was coming up, he responded, “You do know that I was drafted by a major junior team in their midget draft…. don’t you…..”.

My response was that I did, but as a player who was obviously not well regarded by any of those teams at the present time (as evidenced by the late selection), I thought that he could use the extra time to develop as a player and hopefully leverage his hockey skills to help earn an education.

I  have been around for a while….. and I have seen a lot…..

I have had two sons who have been involved in major junior hockey and hundreds of clients who have tempted it…., and based on what I have seen, he should truly make a very careful decision.

To help describe my point, I have spent the past few weeks analyzing certain information that I will soon publish in an upcoming newsletter, but  I will share some of it with you now.

Between 2010 and 2014 (5 drafts), there were 1,188 players drafted in this particular major junior league (12 rounds in 2010 and 2011, and 14 rounds from 2012-2014).

If one was to go to each team’s roster page and look at the players listed who played at least one game last year in the league, there were 498 players who played in the regular season. Of the 1,188 players drafted, 42% played at least one regular season game. Several hundred of those players other played in only pre-season games and then were released.

Of the 498 players, there were 383 players who entered the League through the midget-aged entry draft. Of the other115 players, they entered through the European Draft (36) and through trades with other Leagues. On average, 21 players per team (who played at least one regular season game) entered through the midget draft.

Of the 383 players who entered the League through the Midget Draft, only 336 played over 20 games (19 players per team).

Upon closer examination of all the players, and in which round they were drafted, the following breakdown describes the likelihood of ever being able to play in that League.

– Twenty-two percent (22%) of the players were first-round draft picks,
– Nineteen percent (19%) of the players were second-round draft picks,
– Thirteen percent (13%) of the players were third-round draft picks,
– Twelve percent (12%) of the players were fourth-round draft picks,
– Nine percent (9%) of the players were fifth-round draft picks,
– Five percent (5%) of the players were sixth-round draft picks,
– Five percent (5%) of the players were seventh-round draft picks,
– Three percent (3%) of the players iwere eighth-round draft picks,
– Four percent (4%) of the players in 2014-15 were ninth-round draft picks,
– Four percent (4%) of the players were tenth-round draft picks,
– Four percent (4%) of the players were drafted in rounds 11-13
– No players who were drafted in the 14th round over the past 5 years played in that major junior league, last season

I tell you this information to impress upon you the fact that  it is very important to ensure that you keep all your options alive for as long as you can (as a player), if you truly wish to maximize your hockey career, In our next newsletter, we will talk more about the various options.

So why do these major junior league continue to invite players to their camps, if they truly have such a small chance of ever  playing for them…. and why did they expand to 14 rounds from the previous 12, especially when many teams used to pass on even picking players in rounds 9, onward….

Remember, major junior hockey is a business….. first and foremost…..

It  is in their best interest to have a large pool of young players who are not eligible to play NCAA hockey…. just  in case they need a spare player some night…… and also in an attempt to diminish the talent pool available for the competing options.

In addition to needing players to fill their rookie and main camps (to play against their high draft picks while their best  players are off at pro camps), the reason why most major junior teams invite late-drafted and non-drafted players to their camps (although  they often will tell these players that they were overlooked…. or didn’t have enough picks… etc…..), I believe that their objective is to  intentionally remove these players from the pool of players, who would otherwise be available to the college system, so that these institution will not have access to these late bloomers, many of whom may have otherwise eventually gone on to play professional hockey if given the proper development within the college system.

It truly is a “cut-throat” business, where market share, position and profit s mean everything.

It is into the major junior business arena that young players enter, and so parents and players should never feel that they are on equal footing in knowing what the objectives are of those profit-oriented teams.

As in almost  all transactions and agreements, ‘Caveat Emptor‘, a Latin phrase for “let the buyer beware”.

Major junior hockey is not regulated by the government, and so it if the responsibility of each participant to know what he is getting  himself into. It is up to each participant to understand and appreciate what is at rick, and what is the likelihood of individual success

College hockey is not easy to understand neither. In fact, it  is there funky rules that make players  ineligible from playing in the NCAA. In many cases, it is there unreasonable and unforeseen complications that others take advantage of in order to maximize their potential for success.

In addition to stepping on the ice with a major junior team and playing a pre-season or regular season game, there are a few other  things that  players can do that will forever prevent them from being able to leverage their hockey skills to earn a college/university  education at an an NCAA school.

To keep your NCAA eligibility,

– DO NOT accept a benefit from an agent or an advisor or a hockey team or any other third party, such as a free trip, transportation, hotel room, hockey sticks, skates, free camps, clothing, medical or physio expenses, and/or registration for showcase events

– DO NOT enter into a written or verbal agreement with an agent or an advisor that includes any promise for future representation (for when the player turns pro)

– DO NOT enter into a relationship with an agent or an advisor that includes a small token amount of $250 or $500 to act as your advisor until such time as the player may earn money as a professional hockey player

– DO NOT allow a third party (including your midget coach) to make arrangements for you to try our for a major junior hockey  team

– DO NOT  accept  the free offer to train at a gym or practice or showcase on the ice with major junior players and professional players…. quite often described as “other clients of the agent”….

– DO NOT step on the ice for a training camp for more than 48 hours with a major juniuir team. If the team covered your expenses at a  rookie camp then you must cover your expenses at the main camp in order to remain eligible for NCAA hockey. You are only allowed to accept (1) one 48-hour expense paid visit/tryout.

– DO NOT sign a contract with any major junior team. Doing so will results in the loss of your NCAA eligibility even if you never play a game for that team.

– DO NOT accept jerseys, hats, t-shirts, or any material benefits from a major junior without paying for them. If you have received items in the mail your options are as follows: Mail the item(s) back, pay the team for the cost of the item(s) or donate the item(s) to charity.

Remember, it is you who is responsible to keep your wits about  you as you move forward in your hockey career. It is not in the best  interest of a major junior team, or an agent (regardless of what he calls himself), to provide a player or his parents, with independent advice regarding important life decisions.

In closing, I think that  you should know that I think that these teams and leagues take care of their business interests very well, and that they offer a tremendous opportunity for the right players. Although I would question some of their ethics, they owe no apologies to anyone for conducting business in the way that they do. It certainly appears to work well for them.

Caveat Emptor

If you think we can help, please do not hesitate to contact me by clicking here.


David MacDonald, SPAD
Hockey Family Advisor





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