We would like to thank everyone that participated in this years tryouts. The growth of girls hockey in Florida is growing at a tremendous pace. For this desired level of hockey there were players that were not selected in the eyes of the coaches that simply need more time to develop. The message is to keep pushing and finding programs in the area that have girls teams in place and for the younger players, continuing to play coed at the 10/12U level and up based on the comfort level.
The selection process is not easy, there are several thoughts to pass along for those that didn’t get the team they wanted or that didn’t get an invitation this season.
For those that tried for Tier 1, and made Tier 2 – There will be changes made as the season progresses, hard work and growth will be rewarded. There was not a single person disappointed in Tier 2 two years ago when there was not a Tier 1 program. For the 19/16U age groups, there are dozens of college programs looking for players to compliment their teams all year round. Life happens, injuries and unexpected events happen that cause future roster plans to change. For many, they think its over, and its not. That said, there must be an honest assessment to a player that maybe started hockey a year ago or a couple years ago and believes that a NCAA Division I team will be knocking. This is going to be an unrealistic outcome in most cases. At the end of the day, women’s professional hockey is here, its growing and it will continue to add teams. Most that choose Hockey as a career will find that a education is going to be equally important as unless you have no financial stresses to suppliment the salaries. You will certainly want a career for post hockey. Regardless of which colleges offer hockey, education must be equally or more important financially for both short and long term.
For the girls that are playing 19U, its a 3 year group. Due to Covid, colleges are backed up with recruiting normal graduating classes. Players from birth years 04-06 are taking gap years. They are continuing playing 19U hockey while starting college. Today, girls taking gap years can go into college with an associates degree in hand and still play 4 years of collegiate hockey graduating with a masters degree.
For those that didn’t get an invitation, its only a hiccup in a hockey life. Today, more than ever there are homes for everyone to continue playing, whether its house league, girls local and regional teams, travel teams, etc., that offer the chance to continue developing. There must be an understanding of how the process works. With an evaluation process like tryouts, things happen. While a coach is evaluating a player unknown to them, they hit a pothole in the ice and fall or fall several times for a number of reasons. The coaches may of moved on, if they knew the player, maybe they circle back to re-evaluate. It may be that the one time the eyes were on them, the player found themselves with a breakaway and scored. Might of been a sensational goal. That player may find themselves on a team but its short lived since the event didn’t seem to duplicate itself. Tryout invitations swing both ways, some seeming fair and others not fair at all in the eyes of the player or parent. As a general observation, the player is the one who tried out, not the parent. If a player has a concern or problem, at 14U and up, its ok to ask the coach for a meeting or feedback. What went well, what didn’t. What can be improved upon for the next season. For goalies, and this applies to all players, there is a time to be called up, you have to treat each day or moment on the ice as waiting for it to be your time. That time will come if the effort is put into development. When you get the call, you have to be ready to perform. Perform well, you will get asked again, perform badly, then you have to dust yourself off and get back into wanting that chance again. Work hard enough, it will happen, thats how players and teams grow.
The bottom line is true with all youth sports, keep the players in the game, provide the opportunities to grow and thrive being better players on and off the ice or field. Find role models, programs that are specific to your needs and keep learning, keep practicing, keep trying in games.