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Being Seen

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Being seen
By Bettina Prochnow
Nov 5, 2001, 16:03


Let’s say “A” equals the road to the NHL, which is paved with NCAA Division I, II and III colleges, universities, and one or two Russian or Canadian connections. If “B” is the avenue dotted with prep schools that short-step you to the NCAA Division schools, where does A-minus-B leave you?

Not necessarily locked out of the groove, even if you’re not living in a hockey beltway. The up and coming talented youth hockey player has a couple of side streets left to turn onto.

The name of the game for the competitive high-school aged player who is trying to move up the hockey ladder is to see and be seen—by the top prep schools, college coaches, and professional scouts. The Chicago Showcase is one such tournament. Held every April, it draws between 20-25 teams from all over the country.

“It’s a good place to go as a scout,” says Ernie Ferrari, Stanford University’s hockey coach. “With all those teams, you get to see a lot of excellent hockey players.”

Typically, an individual state will put together an elite team through invitations to special try-outs set up for this purpose. Sometimes states will blend their team under a broader aegis, like Team Southwest, which one year included players from both Texas and Arizona.

During the week-long tournament, recruiters from Junior teams, colleges and universities, and even some pros, have ample opportunity to check out the talent. Besides on-ice action, they also receive a roster of each players hockey statistics and academic record to boot.

A summer show

Lasting far longer than their name implies, Hockey Night in Boston, offers a summer showcase for the gifted player.

“Our goal is to promote the sport,” says executive director Lance LoFaro, “and help expose the players as they prepare for college.”

HNIB started 23 years ago as a way to showcase hockey talent from Massachusetts only. Then it grew to include New England, the Mari-times/New Brunswick area in Canada, and eventually, the rest of the country, including this year’s rookie entry—a Pacific Coast team.

All told, 18 teams culled from try-out camps held throughout the country in June competed in the 90-game first-round portion this year. The month-long tournament—typically held from late July to late August—concludes with a four-team round robin All-Star tourney. Based on their performance during the tournament, the HNIB coaching staff picks these players to form the ultimate challenge—two teams each from Massachusetts, New England, and Mid-America.

The talent shows up for this showcase of stars. Last year, HNIB could boast of having 73 of their former players in the NHL, including Brian Leetch, Jeremy Roenick, and 1995’s #1 draft pick, Bryan Berard.

“Hockey Night in Boston,” says Fred Devereaux of the Washington Capitals, “gives me the chance to see the best against the best under one roof.”

College coaches sing its praises, too. According to Mike McShane of Providence College, “HNIB is great competitive action for the serious player and is a recruitment necessity for players and coaches.”

As part of their summer league, HNIB also hosts a unique sophomore All-Star tournament each July. Eighteen teams, 400 skaters in all, compete against each other. From these players, 80 are selected to play in the tournament highlight, the All-Star games. Thirty more players are culled from this elite group to compete with the “big boys” during the major tournament.

Welcome, ladies!

This year, a girls’ division was added for the first time. Six teams, one each from the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Massachusetts, New York, New Brunswick and New England went at it on the ice.

“It was real competitive,” says Kylie Ferrari, one of four Californians who made the Midwest team, which included players from participants west of Michigan. “(But) it was tough playing as a team because it was the first time we had ever been together.”

To their advantage, many of the girls from the East Coast knew and had played with each other before.

“The trip was good,” she adds, “I made friends and got to see some colleges, too.”

The glitches were minor. The girls preferred the boys shirt logo to the one designed for them, and they also wondered why admission was not charged to their games, while it was for the boys. But the battle of the sexes was non-existent, since the teams got to know each other.

“We made a pact: we went to all of the boys games,” says Kylie, “and they came to all of ours!”

If you’re an elite player, or are trying to get on that track, keep these two tournaments in mind. They give you what you want—a chance to be seen by the right recruiters while doing what you do best!


Bettina Young Prochnow is a hockey player with the NCWHL and has two sons in hockey. She is a columnist for a newspaper in Livermore, CA.

This first appeared in the 11/1995 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2001 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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