It’s all about getting the right fit for the player. That was the key message delivered during a lunchtime seminar on Day 2 of the 13th annual National Training Centres Junior Showcase, at Westwood Arena.
A panel of five experts provided the 68 players involved with a wealth of information on the many alternatives to them moving forward – between the Ontario Hockey League, provincial Junior A and Junior B leagues, NCAA Division 1 and Division 3 college programs, and the CIS university leagues.
Players’ consultant Chad Liley noted the NCAA route alone offers the potential for scholarships at 54 Division 1 colleges, and 75 Division 3 schools – but advised keeping their grades at an 85 average to be considered seriously.
He encouraged the Minor Midgets and Midgets on hand to be patient with their development, from year to year,
“You need to understand, it’s a process. It could mean you don’t go to Division 1 your first year,” he said.
Another panel member advised, “Play in the right league. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. The coach you play for, does he pick up the phone and call the scouts for you?”
One individual soaking up “all the advice” was Team Blue defender Damian Figueira. The hard-hitting 17-year-old spent the past year playing prep school hockey for the Hoosac Owls in upstate New York, maintaining a 3.4 GPA. But having graduated from Grade 12, he’s now back in Toronto and talking to the Junior leagues.
Team White centre Brandon MacKinnon netted a hat trick in yesterday’s morning game, before showing his good hands again in tying the afternoon tilt at 1-1.
In his first year studies at Brock University, the 19-year-old spent this season with Pelham Junior B’s, ending up as their second-leading scorer. But just last year he was playing AA, and had little interest from scouts before attending the 2015 Junior Showcase.
“It’s a good venue for the kids to be seen, and learn about what path would be the best to get them to the next level,” his mother Debbie said from the stands.
By Mike Beggs