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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.


You Should Know…..


portraitSuitcoat100About a month ago, I wrote an article entitled “It’s what you don’t know….

In the first paragraph I stated “it is the things that hockey players (and their parents) don’t know… that they don’t know…., that usually cause the greatest disappointments!”

I mentioned that I constantly hear from parents who tell me that their sons are some of the best players of this great game of ours…., but just can’t seem to get a lucky break…..

In that article, I stated that I am usually able to identify within a few days as to what the likely barriers are….., and quite often, it has nothing to do with the player…., but rather about a past or present situation and the ease at which a present or future coach is able to make a decision regarding the player, as opposed to an easier decision to be made regarding another player.

Coaches do not like distractions, confusion, or possible controversy associated with their teams, and will always make decisions based on the path of least resistance.

Below are two situations in which players and their families lost favour in being considered for future opportunities. I present these as real-life examples that we have been involved in trying to clean up.

Last summer, we began working with a player, whose mother had earlier reached an agreement to use the services of another family advisor (several years previous), but then did not make the required payment (to the advisor), and so the advisor terminated his relationship with the family. We were unaware of the previous relationship between the family and the other advisor, and only became aware of it when we spoke to a program about the player, and the coach told me he had spoken to another advisor two years previous about the same player.

Apparently, for several weeks, the advisor had undertaken work on behalf of that client, and had spoken to several programs about his young client under the promise that the payment would be made, and the necessary paperwork executed. The advisor had done work on behalf of the client in good faith, and then never received payment for those services….. hence, “the athlete used the services of an unpaid family advisor” (which is not permitted under the rules of the NCAA).

Later, after we became involved, and the player completed the NCAA Eligibility Center questionnaire, he could not answer the necessary questions truthfully without making himself ineligible to play Division 1 hockey. Although we had attracted the interest of a well-respected college, they were unable to make an offer because he could not pass the amateurism test.

This past summer, I was approached by the father of a player, whose son just could not seem to get a break. He was a very talented and well-regarded player, and should have had more opportunities than were being placed in front of him.

While doing my research, I discovered that several years ago, the player had been offered a position on a spring travel team, and the spot was held for him because the father had promised that he would get the player registered and the payment submitted. In the meantime, the coach turned away other suitable candidates who signed with other programs. At the end of the day, the father never did complete the transaction, and the coach was upset. Unfortunately, that coach was well-connected, and whenever he was asked about that player, he would never say anything blatantly bad, but others could read his body language. To advance his playing career, the player was forced to leave the state.

In both of these situations, we were able to smooth out the situations and find solutions that will enable the players to experience a fulfilling hockey experience, moving forward.

These are two examples of things that have affected a player’s hockey experience (and academic opportunities), that are above and beyond the control of the player, and which parents would never realize could be so wide-reaching and have such devastating consequences.

As a couple of other important points…..,

Regardless of what a coach or GM say….., as a parent, they never want to hear your opinion. They do not want to hear your advice, your analysis, or your thoughts. NEVER……

Also when a coach is looking at possibly “moving (trading) a player” because the player is unhappy, few coaches ever want to take the chance of having to play against that player (in a future important game) if they can avoid it. Coaches do not want to be in the position where that player gathers extra motivation in an attempt to embarrass his former team. Never does a coach want to hear those words, “if only we did not trade him….”

Oh, and by the way, for those three American players who told me this week that they are being offered to be carded by Canadian Junior teams, what does this mean?

It likely does not mean what you believe it to mean!

“Being Carded” likely means that when the team is forced to go from 45 carded players, to 25 (and then to 23 by January 10th), that you could possibly be scrambling to find a place to play this season, and could possibly become very unattractive to teams that might need to pay thousands of dollars (at that time) for a release from the team and/or Hockey Canada.

Many (of what could have otherwise have been) productive hockey careers in front of the right recruiters are wasted playing out a junior career in a dead-end league, because playing rights were traded to a team in exchange for a little as a box of pizzas. I have personally seen situations where very good players, who would have otherwise thrived in the proper environment and would have continued to develop their game, were traded to less attractive situations in order to reduce their rosters, in exchange for 12 large pizzas (2 pepperoni, 6 meat-lovers, and 4 with the works) to help offset the cost of a road trip….. sometimes described as “future considerations”.

Please look close and recognize the dead ends….. the detours…… and the potholes……, along the route….. There is no reason to become mesmerized like a deer in the headlights,,,

If you ever think we can help you make decisions, and identify real opportunities to help you make your academic and athletic dreams come true, please do not hesitate to send me a note.


David MacDonald, SPAD
Hockey Family Advisor


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