This week, we felt that it would be helpful to tell you about some of the type of work, and clients, that we have been involved with over the past fifteen years.
We have found over the past few years that many families believe that they need the assistance of a family advisor, but they do not truly understand what the role of an advisor is….. or how important it is to work with someone who has tremendous experience and the right contacts within the hockey world.
Since we began this work in 2004, we have experienced many different situations and circumstances, which enables us to offer the wisdom gained from our past experience, for the benefit of our current and future clients.
Our experience and contacts within the hockey world, are second to none, and we draw on those experiences every day to help players, and families, make wise and informed decisions.
We believe that the decisions that players and families make, along the way, will facilitate success or not.
If you think we can help by putting our experience to work for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Case Study # 2012-16
In 2012, Can-Am Hockey Family Advisor Inc. (HFA) received an enquiry from a lady, regarding her son. He loved hockey, and was regarded as a slightly above-average player.
The player was in Grade 10 at the time, and was not regarded as a good student.
The young man worked very hard at school, but because of a education-impacting disability (EID), he was struggling with his school work.
As professionals, HFA was keenly aware of the various NCAA legislation and rules, that would allow this young man to sidestep the normal prerequisites that would be necessary to play NCAA hockey.
For academic eligibility purposes, the NCAA defines an education-impacting disability (EID) as a current impairment that has a substantial educational impact on a student’s academic performance and requires accommodation.
HFA worked with this player, and his family, to place him on a U-18 and a junior team, where he would;
- be an impact player
- get the proper development
- get the proper exposure
As part of HFA’s role, they worked to provide and implemented a strategic plan for him to maximize his potential to play NCAA Hockey.
As a student, HFA realized that he would likely not be eligible to even attend college with his past grades, and realized that he would require very careful guidance.
As part of the plan, HFA introduced the player to an individual who worked with him, in support of his academic studies. Together, they put together an academic plan, and combined with the athletic plan, the player was able to gather the attention of several colleges.
In 2016, this player entered college, and was rostered to play in their NCAA hockey program.
In the Spring of 2017, this young man was named to the Honor Roll, of his college, with a GPA of 3.46. At the time, his mother wrote a note to HFA, and stated, “I believe his academic success started from the confidence he gained from the classes that you arranged, and the plan you put in place. When he was organized and put in the time he had success. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
In 2018, he was again named to the honor roll, with a 3.4 GPA.
Case Study #2013-06
This client is a perfect example of the type of player, whom the folks at Hockey Family Advisor (HFA) enjoy working with.
This goaltender’s father first called HFA when his son was 15 years old. The player turned 20 years of age in 2017, and has an October birthday.
Originally, the father explained that his son loved hockey, and that he had done everything to dissuade him from the game, during his early years.
At the age of 13, this client placed, for the very first time, a pair of skates upon his feet. Never before 13 years of age had he even skated.
Following discussions with his father and with the player in 2013, the professionals at HFA did their homework, and determined that he was a great athlete and an excellent student, and a true “late bloomer”.
The player’s passion for the game was second to none.
At 15 years of age, HFA made certain recommendations to the family, and explained that their son’s goals could possibly be achieved, so long as he stayed focused, and was willing to follow HFA’s advice, and not listen to others (with conflicting interests), and to make important decisions with his head, and not his ego.
HFA helped this client, and his family, choose wisely to ensure that he received steady development, and participated in important playing/showcase events.
HFA worked behind the scenes, spreading the good news about the player’s accomplishments, and had this player and his family concentrate on the “short-term”, while helping them realize that they “could only control those things that they could control”.
Through the careful guidance of HFA, this client was able to avoid the traps that most players fall into in the hockey world.
The player, and his family, realized that “the process was to be a marathon, and not a sprint”.
After only playing a dozen hockey games at the Junior level, and as a 20 year old, this player was offered a spot to join the NCAA Hockey Team of an Ivy League school for the 2018-19 season, on a full scholarship.
Congratulations, and best wishes in all your future endeavors.
“Trust the Process….”
Case Study # 2015-13
In 2015, we began working with a (just turned) 14 year old player, who was a well regarded forward, playing Bantam hockey in his home city.
Although extremely skilled, the player was on the small-size. and the folks at HFA felt that he would not get a fair crack to make his top midget team, the following season because of the politics involved in the area,
Regarding this player, we constantly heard that he would have a difficult time making the next jump, and we knew the reasons for that, whiich primarily involved the business-side of the game of hockey.
After much consultation with the family, and much discussion with some prestigious hockey programs within the prep school options, we were able to identify an opportunity for him to play U-15 hockey with a very good program, and we were able to get them to take a real interest in him, based on the recommendation of two NCAA Division 1 coaches who we knew well.
He was able to attend this prep school for very little tuition.
The player excelled within that school. which had the perfect mix of development and exposure opportunities, It also enabled him to excel in the classroom. He continued at that school for the next two years, playing U-16 and U-18, and he developed very nicely, with continuous training and playing opportunities, with his peers.
As a 16 year old, he was constantly told by (supposed) “people in the know”, that he needed to play Junior hockey, at that time, or he would never develop as a player. We talked he, and his family, “off the ledge” many times.
He was identified early as a NCAA Division 1 player, and received dozens of offers to play College Hockey. His playing style, and his excellent grades, made it possible.
He will attend college in 2019-20 (as an 18 year old), and play Division 1 hockey, as he prepares to eventually play professionally.
This past season, he played in the USHL, and was one of the top point-getters on his team.
This June, this player is predicted to be drafted by an NHL team, in the first few rounds of the NHL Entry Draft.
He has constantly made wise decisions, which has enabled him to maximize his opportunities to date,
Case Study #2011-07
In 2011, the folks at Hockey Family Advisor were introduced to a Canadian player, who had been playing midget hockey as a 16 year old, and had a fairly successful season as a forward player.
He was drafted as a 16 year old by a major junior team, and his family was in the situation where they did not know what they should do.
The player was a bright kid, but had not applied himself in school, (in large part) because of the hectic and demanding schedule associated with his hockey team.
The professionals at HFA did a full analysis of the current situation, and spoke to the family regarding the options that likely were ahead of them.
After much research, it was decided that the player would explore the prep school route, as a way to further develop his game, and to try to increase his grades in school, in anticipation of attending a post-secondary institution, in the future.
Based on several application processes that were undertaken on behalf of the student, he was able to attend a US based prep school, for little money.
In December of 2011, the player was injured, and he never played hockey again that season.
While at the Prep School, the player began to take a real interest in his academics, and gave them more attention.
He turned his grades at school from 60’s into 90’s.
Following graduation from the Prep School, the player decided to go to university, while playing junior hockey.
The professionals at HFA, were able to negotiate a trade that would place the player in the vicinity of a university, to enable him to do both, which he did for two years.
Because of the nature of his injury, he never did go on and play hockey at the college/university level.
In a recent note from his father, he stated that his son is now about to graduate with his third degree, and will attend school to become a sport psychologist in 2019. His plans are to eventually concentrate on working with athletes, with career-ending injuries
“One Door Closes….. Another Door Opens…..”
Case Study #2015-02
In 2015, the professionals at Hockey Family Advisor were contacted by the father of a player playing in a Canadian Junior “A” hockey league.
This league was not a league that was well regarded by US college hockey teams, and there was little recruiting by those teams, of players within that league.
The quality of hockey was very high, and as good as the other Junior “A” leagues in the country, but because of certain other things (not easily identified), it was just not well recruited.
The player wanted to eventually attend a US based college, and play hockey.
Because the player had signed a Junior “A” contract with the team the year before, and had played some games, he was regarded as that team’s property.
The team refused to do anything to accommodate a possible move for the player, and insisted that he play for them.
At the time the father contacted HFA, he was convinced that the team would help in whatever way they could to help their son. The team had actually made that pledge at the time he signed with them.
It is interesting to note that nothing needs to be signed for a player to become the property of a team.
This team was more interested in their best interests, than those of the player, and had made a business decision.
HFA got involved and first attempted to talk the team into accommodating a trade for the player, which they refused.
However, after employing other strategic moves, and demonstrating that HFA had significant clout and could be of possible future benefit to the team, they were able to negotiate favorable terms for a release from that team, and facilitate a move to a more favorable league.
After the player’s relocation to a more suitable league, and the continual marketing of the player, including the strategic attendance at various important targeted showcase events, the player received an offer to attend a NCAA school, on scholarship.
The player is in the process of completing his undergraduate degree, as he prepares for medical school.
“What’s the use of measuring speed if you don’t go in the right direction”
Case Study #2008-01
In 2008, Hockey Family Advisor was contacted by the father of a player who had been drafted by a major junior hockey team, within the CHL.
The player had been drafted in the third round as a 15 year old.
Based on the existing roster of that team, and the players they had drafted and acquired, most expected the player would be sent home, following main camp.
The father was interested in knowing what things that a player should ensure were included in his contract, should he make the team.
The professionals at HFA talked, with the father, about the many different aspects of what he should insist upon, and those things that would be nice if he was able to get them included in an agreement.
HFA got involved in the negotiation process, and was able to creatively put together a very good package for the player, which only became better as certain performance plateaus were reached.
Because of the favorable terms that HFA was able to negotiate on behalf of this player, and the tremendous success that this player had as a player, he was extremely well compensated, and included a fully-funded post-secondary education.
Many players, who were better regarded, and drafted in the first and second round of the same draft, received much less, and put in the same amount of time and effort, and played as many games in the CHL.
This client had a full playing career in the CHL, graduated from a Canadian University (totally debt-free) and played CIS hockey, and was drafted and played in the NHL.
The only time a player has bargaining power with a CHL team is prior to giving up the other options that are available to him, and HFA recognized that putting together a contract with several key conditional clauses was to be critical.
Because of the package that HFA was able to put negotiate before this player began playing CHL hockey, this player was able to simply concentrate on developing his hockey skills, and on his performance during games, during his CHL experience
Case Study #2008-17
In 2008, Hockey Family Advisor was involved in helping a young player.
In 2008, he attended a major junior hockey team’s tryouts, and was released after several rounds of cuts. He remained on their protected list, and was asked to return the following year, for Main Camp.
This player had completed 2 years of major midget hockey in Canada, and there was no Junior “A” teams that were interested in picking him up and guaranteeing him a spot. His options were very limited.
The player was a very good hockey player, and had always been well regarded, but was on the small side. He had a December birthday.
After doing their research, HFA felt that this player would have been one of the top players of his age group, if he had been born a few days later, as he would have been in the next year’s age bracket.
Most of the players, with whom he had been playing (and against), were almost a full year older than he was
Still, he was able to perform extremely well, especially given his size.
Based on the experience of the professionals at Hockey Family Advisor, they knew that he simply needed some time for his body to catch up with his game, and were able to identify the perfect international opportunity to enable him to develop playing against players his own age.
This option also provided the opportunity for this young man to develop ideal advanced study habits, and social skills.
Faced in 2008, with the decision to hang up his skates from playing highly competitive hockey, or to take this opportunity, he chose the later.
The young man, later returned to the Junior “A” team in his home town, which had previously told him that he need not even tryout, as he would not make the team, to eventually become it’s captain.
After graduating from Junior hockey, he went on and played university hockey on a full athletic scholarship.
He is now still active in the game, as a coach, for one of the top U-14 teams in his area.
Case Study #2012-05
Back in 2012, Hockey Family Advisor was first introduced to this young man, by a previous client.
The player was a well-regarded player from the US, who had been on the radar of a Canadian Junior hockey team, as a future prospect. The player was 17 years old at the time, and was unable to make the move to the Canadian team, at that time, because of his age.
HFA got involved in the discussion with the junior team, and devised a strategic plan, first to ensure that he was in the mix for the Canadian Junior opportunity when he turned 18 years of age, as well as to begin discussions with college coaches to make them aware of this player’s credentials.
HFA identified, and negotiated, an ideal package for this player to attend one of the country’s most prestigious Prep Schools, with a fabulous financial aid package, which he attended for a year, while awaiting to go to the junior team, the following season.
During the period that he was at the Prep School, HFA continuously spoke to college coaches about the player, and received some interest from a few college programs.
During the summer months, HFA made suggestions regarding two showcase events for the goalie to attend, where he could be observed closer by two specific college recruiters, and made another suggestion regarding a coach that they felt he could benefit from working with for a week in the summer.
Based on the recommendations of the professionals at HFA, and the coach, with whom he trained that summer (at the recommendation of HFA), this goalie was observed by the two target college coaches, plus a third, at one of those events.
Immediately following the showcase event, this goaltender was invited to visit the three colleges, and was presented with three opportunities to attend college on a full athletic scholarship.
After much consideration, he chose one of the colleges, to play for. He has now played three years of college hockey, and over the past two summers has also attended NHL ID Camps.
He will graduate from college this Spring, totally debt-free, and with a business degree, and with several options ahead of him.
Case Study #2015-03
In 2015, Hockey Family Advisor began working with a 15 year old player, who had a number of “things” going against him.
He had not started playing hockey until he was 9 years old…, he had a December birthday. He had been injured for an extended period during the season as a 13 year old.
This player had experienced a number of disappointments over the previous few years, which would have caused many players to give up the game.
He had incredible passion for the game.
HFA researched the background of the player, and discovered a number of very positive things that would indicate a number of “upsides yet to come”, and so encouraged the player and the family to take certain steps, which they felt would be helpful to encourage and support this late bloomer, especially given his characteristics.
HFA identified an ideal situation, for this player, to enable him to develop his games under the careful guidance of a very good hockey coach, within a learning environment which would further encourage his academic credentials.
As a 17 year old, he was invited to the main camp of a very prestigious junior hockey program, which HFA advised the family to pass up.
It was the feeling of the professionals at HFA that this player could be develop as a top line player, playing where he was, rather than as a 4th line player on a more prestigious team.
The HFA folks always felt was that he should “learn to walk before he ran”. They felt that he could benefit more from a lot of playing time, and by not by having fourth line minutes on a more prestigious team (and possibly be cut by Christmas time).
One of the most difficult hurdles that the professionals at HFA find in this game of hockey, is that players most often want to make decisions with their ego, and not using their head. They want the jacket of one team as opposed to the jacket of the one where they belong.
The player made the proper decisions to enable him to take full advantage of the playing time, and in the preferred learning environment.
Two years ago, he made the jump to the original junior league, where he is an impact player, on the second line as an 18 year old.
He presently has had three colleges who have made him an offer to play in the Fall of 2019, and an offer from an AHL team to sign a professional contract to play this season.
Case Study #2014-07
In the summer of 2014, Hockey Family Advisor was contacted by a mother, who had a son graduating from Bantam Hockey.
At the time, he hoped to play major midget hockey in the Fall, as a 15 year old. The son, was a very good hockey player, but had a few obstacles ahead of him
The first obstacle was that he was a small player. Having met his parents, and his older brother, this was likely going to be a genetic issue that he would likely not overcome. The second obstacle was that he had a late birthday, which compounded his size issue.
He was well-regarded, as a player, and had often been invited to participate in his provincial branch events of the Hockey Canada High Performance Programs, which meant that he was in the top eight of his age, as a defenceman within his home province.
Because of so many considerations, including where the he would be sitting a year from then, in relation to a major junior draft, and other many considerations, the player was not picked up by any of his local major midget teams.
As an alternative, he could play for less desirable major midget teams, or nearby academies who played in less challenging leagues and events/tournaments, or he could attend one of many different prep schools, as he had terrific grades at school.
In talking to the player and his mother, they had laid out (what they felt were) possible pathways to eventually enable the player play college hockey.
When the professionals of HFA got involved, they assessed the various options, including the likely cost/benefit of each, and were able to explain the various opportunities for development, the opportunity to be an impact player, and proper exposure for future advancement. They also looked at the other important aspects that such a decision would entail, such as the living and playing environment.
Looking ahead, and based on many years of experience, the folks at HFA, were able to point out the various pros and cons to all the different options available, and those being considered for the future. They were also able to make suggestions regarding other suitable options that were not even on the radar.
After significant analysis and discussion, and looking at all possibilities carefully, the family made the decision that appeared to cost the most money.
It would appear that the initial step (of the possible multi-year plan), would cost a lot of money, but through the negotiation techniques used by the professionals at Hockey Family Advisor, the cost was minimized. The player was immediately able to be an impact player on a significant prep school team, playing in a very good league, in front of important scouts and recruiters. His school grades improved from A to A+.
The young man went on and played on a top junior team, and was asked to commit to a college team as an 19 year old.
Case Study #2012-04
This is the story of a player who was always regarded as a good hockey player, from Colorado, playing junior hockey in Canada.
He had always played on the top programs coming along, and always played in various showcase tournaments that seemed to offer great exposure to many college programs.
As a player, entering his 20th year, he had no prospects to go on and play college hockey the following year.
When the professionals at Hockey Family Advisor got involved, they realized that this player was not just competing against the many different players out there, but also against the many coaches and “advisors” who were promoting their players and clients.
This player did not have the benefit of having “someone in his corner”.
It seemed that much lesser players were being invited to join college programs.
Because the player was so concerned about how he was playing…, who was possibly watching…, and what he was going to do the following year…, his performance on the ice was slipping.
The player contacted Hockey Family Advisor in October of 2013, and several discussions took place.
The player realized that he could “only control those things that he could control”, and the professionals at Hockey Family Advisor, took the pressures from the player that involved those things that he could not control. They reminded him to keep it simple, and short term.
HFA put together a strategic plan to ensure that the player became familiar to college programs, and that they were well aware of all his attributes (athletic and academic) and his schedule, etc.
Over a number of months, HFA reached out to these programs on a regular basis and remind them of past successes and future opportunities to observe this player. They also often were discussing strategy with the player and providing tips based on feedback they were receiving from those with whom they were talking.
In March of 2013, the player was offered a position with a NCAA team, and completed his college education in 2017, debt-free.
In the Spring of 2018, this player married his girlfriend of many years, and David attended the wedding.
Case Study #2012-02
We began working with this hockey player in 2012, when he was a midget-aged athlete. He was a very well regarded player from New England.
Against the recommendations of HFA, the following year, as a 17 year old, he played Tier III junior hockey in the United States. In this case, the professionals at HFA would have rather have seen the player develop with players of his own age on a U-18 team.
During the next season, the player played Junior “B” hockey in Canada. HFA did not find that he developed as much as he should have, and although they tried to get him to reconsider going to a proper U-18 team, he would not.
Like many, this player was making decisions with his ego, rather than with his head. He was wanting to play against older players, who he felt would help improve his game.
In 2016, the player attempted to crack the line-up of a Junior “A” team in Canada, as well as a Tier II team in the US. He was not successful.
Over the previous two years, the player was not doing the things that he needed to be doing to be successful. He had been in a bad living environment, and on teams that were not well disciplined.
He said that he wanted to be a hockey player, but had been unwilling to do the things that needed to be done to be a well-regarded hockey player.
The training, that he had done as a 14 year old, was no longer part of daily routine. His healthy eating habits had taken a back seat to living away from home, and surviving on pizza pockets. He became an expert video game player, in his spare time.
He was 30 pounds over his ideal weight, and was no longer the athlete that he had been.
After being released by three Tier II teams in 2016, and prior to reporting to a fourth in October, the professionals of HFA sat the player down and had a long talk with him, and his family.
After a renewed dedication to the process, the player took the season off from competition. An arrangement was made with a very good coach to work with the player on further developing his skills. He worked with an off-ice trainer, and with a nutritionist. He managed to drop the extra pounds, and he became a well-regarded player, once again.
In the off-season, on the recommendation of HFA, this player attended a well-regarded showcase, and had three of the most productive games, that he ever had. The professionals at HFA had several coaches observe these games, and the player was picked up by a Canadian Tier II team, where he had a very successful season.
He will be attending a Canadian University in the Fall of 2018, and will be playing on their varsity team.