I have always been skeptical when it comes to these NAHL Pre-Draft camps, or any type of Junior Hockey Camp at the Tier 2 and Tier 1 levels. The reason being is that I always find these to be more of a fundraiser and 'money grab' for the teams involved. Playing at the Tier 1 or Tier 2 level is very difficult, given that it is a high level of play. Now, most players/parents don't realize how many players are in a given NAHL or USHL organization. They have not only returning players every season, but they have draft picks, tenders and now players in there affiliate league, the NA3HL. So when you are not drafted, tendered or play in the NA3HL, you really have a small chance of cracking an NAHL team.
There will be four teams at this NAHL Minnkota Pre-Draft Camp; the Minnesota Magicians, Bismarck Bobcats, Minot Minotauros, and the Minnesota Wilderness. The cost of the camp is $450, which is actually a pretty good price for what you are getting out of the camp. You will get 5 games, a camp jersey, player/parent seminars, and exit meetings with coaches and staff. Typically a NAHL camp will cost close to $250. So you are getting 3x the exposure for $200 more.
I don't want to come off as in saying this is a joke and you absolutely shouldn't go. You are putting yourself in front of 4 different NAHL teams and getting a ton of exposure and great information on the league and Junior Hockey . You will be able to put yourself in the position of being drafted, so that is a good reason to go. Another good reason to go would be for self evaluation to find out where you are as a hockey player compared to other kids in your age group. If you haven't attended an NAHL camp before, then this would be a good start.
I do want to breakdown some of the numbers in terms of how many spots each of these teams have for the 2019-20 season.
I am just going over the number of players that will be aging out for each team. That number is the bare minimum of open roster spots for each team. The other things to think about are the number of players that will be either moving up to the USHL or down to a Tier 3 league (EHL, USPHL, NA3HL, etc..). So, please keep that in mind that there could be more open spots on each roster then just the number of players aging out.
2018-19 season they currently have 6 '98 birth year players. Therefore they will be aging out this season. There is 6 spots opening right there.
2018-19 season they currently have 5 '98 birth year players. So with that being said they have at the very least 5 opening roster spots due to the '98s aging out.
2018-19 season they currently have 11 '98 birth year players. This is the most openings for each of the 4 teams involved. They have an older team, so they will be looking for players to draft to fill the roster for the 2019-20 NAHL season.
2018-19 season they currently have 7 '98 birth year players. They will have 7 age out players and have a bare minimum of 7 roster spots opening.
With the above information, I would say that a NAHL pre-draft camp is one of the only NAHL camps I would attend as a hockey player wanting to crack an NAHL roster spot. It is a pre-draft camp, so you are able to showcase your skills and get the attention of some NAHL organizations before this years draft. Other tryout camps that NAHL teams hold are typically pointless since they already have the team 'figured out' for the next season. So if you aren't drafted or tendered, I wouldn't go. Focus on making a solid Tier 3 team and working to get noticed throughout the season.
I personally, as a player, was never a fan of going to NAHL camps. I always felt they weren't worth the money. I was never drafted or tendered by an NAHL team so I always assumed that going to a camp would not change my chances of being picked up. You need to realize just how many players these teams have in there system already and also try to do some research on just how many roster spots are available. This could be a very good opportunity to get in front of 4 NAHL teams all at once, so if you are willing to pay the $450, then attend the camp.
If I have one piece of advice for you, make sure you stand out. Introduce yourself to the coaches and staff for each of these teams. Make sure they know who you are. They will be more likely to pay attention to you during the 5 games. If you are in need of travel arrangements while at this event contact Connections by Avra for your travel and lodging needs.
The above information is my opinion and I am just breaking down the numbers to the bare minimum. I am sharing the amount of players that each team will have aging out, which is the minimum amount of roster spots available for each team. There are many other facets that go into the amount of spots that each team will have available for the 2019-20 season, which I laid out above. I urge you to do your research to determine the number of roster spots available and gather all information before attending these camps.