As many of you know, we are hot into scouting/recruiting season in the junior hockey landscape. Call and emails are being made, combines and showcases are in full swing.
With that said, as a scout for a junior club, I've decided to do a few opinion pieces on different skills or intangibles that I personally watch for or take notice that can make or break if a club wants you. Trust me, if a Tier 3 program isn't interested in you due to some of these things, then you've basically hit the bottom and your career may be over before it even started.
Before I begin, all opinions are my very own and do not reflect any other scout, coach, recruiter, GM, or junior club. I'm sure though, many will agree with me on much that is written.
Let's start with a reasonably simple action players can control almost immediately.
One of my biggest pet peeves and turn offs from a player as a scout is poor body language or visual communication.
With body language I don't need to hear you say anything in order to figure out what your attitude and mindset currently is on and off the ice. If during a showcase a ref calls offsides and you look at them and throw your hands up, to me that's a negative check mark. Really? You are going to be mad that a ref called offsides during a showcase where the games don't matter but your performance does? While some may say "Oh man, I love that kids intensity" I look at it as disrespect and showing a ref up.
Maybe a teammate misses a beauty of a pass you send them and immediately you throw your arms up and shoulders back in disgust. To me that's signaling a "Come on man, it was a perfect pass, how do you miss that". Everybody in the rink see's your gesture. Guess what? That's a negative check mark.
Lets say during one of your games on your regular season team I decide to come out and watch. Maybe your head coach is giving you feedback after the play and you aren't even paying attention to him. That's a negative check mark and tells me you're not open to getting better as well as not respectful to your coach whether you agree or disagree with them.
Or, my all time favorite move that immediately is a turn off to you as a player:
So how do I identify positive body language?
The ref who you think made the bad call? Either don't do anything or hell, pick the puck up for him and move on.
The teammate who misses the pass? Maybe you skate up to him at the end of the play and give him a pat on the back signalling "Oh well" or you don't do anything but talk on the bench.
The coach who is providing feedback on the bench? Turn your head and look him in the eyes to convey that you are listening and respect what he's saying whether you agree or don't.
And... you not slamming your stick over petty things.
To me, these are all manageable situations that can give us hockey operations staff insight into you as a player without even saying a word to you. You can control only what you can control.
Keep that body language in check boys!