In this series on amateur hockey scouting, we compiled responses from 20 different hockey scouts and coaches that scout representing NHL, OHL, CJHL and NCAA teams about their unique job. Many wished to remain anonymous, which we allowed in order to get more candid responses to our questions.
These hockey scouts come from varying backgrounds, ranging from former players — from the NHL, junior and college ranks — to former coaches, including some with limited hockey playing experience. Believe it or not, there is even a former referee. Some have been a hockey scout for over 30 years and others only a couple.
In talking to hockey scouts for this series, it is clear that they all have stories of finding particular players or seeing late bloomers blossom. It’s no wonder then that the advice most scouts offered to hockey parents centred around patience and enjoying each and every moment of the journey.
One CHL coach said, “Don’t rush the process and understand that your son/daughter are the one driving the bus, not you! Support your children in every way imaginable but be a parent first and always. Please do not put sport ahead of all other life priorities.”
“Do not get caught up with the “right path” because there is none,” another NCAA coach said. “I’ve seen 14 year olds considered NHL locks that never make it and I’ve seen 19 year olds that were told they could never play Division 1 hockey make the NHL.”
“Have your kids do what they love, support their goals and enjoy the ride. “
A CHL scout/coach said, “Players develop at different rates and in different settings. To improve, a kid needs to play. Minutes are more important than the level or league they play at. Development requires teaching thus the importance of coaching can never be overlooked.”
Finally, the scouts were asked if they offer advice to hockey parents and if it bothers them when someone at the rink asks questions?
One scout said, “Absolutely not. I enjoy talking to the parents and spectators, but wait until the end of a period or the end of the game. If you see me and you have a question, I always like to talk about hockey and most scouts would feel the same.”