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Hockey/HS vs AAA


My son has played AAA hockey for the past 10 years and has been on some good teams and some really bad teams.  He also has a goalie coach that he has been going to for 8 of those 10. He is going to be a junior next year in HS and when he had the chance to play AAA Midget National vs his HS (prep school) he made the decision to play HS.  This was based on the fact that junior year in HS is critically important educationally and the National team would be a lot of practice and tournaments and would be a distraction. It would also not allow him to play HS. He decided to play Midget AA this year (short season) and then HS.  He is concerned now that he might have made a bad choice ( in hockey terms) and this will hurt his chances of playing in college. He has a few friends that have been drafted in OHL and USHL.  Some even got commitments to colleges already.  I know educationally he made a good choice, but from a hockey perspective, did he hurt his chances?


Thanks for writing me.  This is a very intersting story. Now, if I understand this correctly he play goalie and had a goalie coach that he's been working with for severl years.  thes other friends of his that are now playing in the OHL and USHL, were they also goalies?  My guess is that they were not.

You see, great forwards and defenseman are a dime a dozen, where as goalies are not.  Finding a good goalie is hard to come by.  Especially one's that have mental toughness. Getting to the AAA level is tough.  Getting to the AAA level as a goalie is even tougher.  Why?  Once you start you hockey career, coaches have a tendency to stay with the same goalie they have used for years because they know what the goalie is capable of doing in tough game situations.

This is why it hard for a AA goalie to get to the next level.  Example" How many positions are available for great skaters...18?  How many positions are available for great goalies on a team...2?  Once he has made a AAA team he needs to hang on to that position like it is GOLD!

My buddy Derek Schooley ( told me several years ago that he doesn't even look at a kid if he's not currently playing AAA hockey or Major Junior. But this is him.  Not sure if the rest of the NCAA coaches are like that.

My advice is to see if he old coach will take him back.  If not, all things are not lost yet. He will have to promote himself as a AAA goalie, however coaches will ask...if you are a AAA players, why are you playing AA?  His answer needs to  A lot of coaches will respect that.

Because he skipped the National team, he will now have to do his own promoting.  Being on a national travel team gives him the exposure he will need to get to the next level.  Now that he is a Junior, he needs to start marketing now.  I recommend VD that shows all of his talent. Surely you have a lot of film clips that show him from his first game as a AAA goalie?  I would have a montage of clips starting his first AAA games (date, team, age) at the start of the clip and then, the same for the next clip and so on. This will show a pattern of his playing as the years advance.

The goal is to get him to the college level.  But he also needs to have the academic scores in order to get the selected.  Oh, you can make the team.  But that's just the start.  In order to play for the team, you have to meet all academic requirements.

Send that DVD along with a stats sheet to all of the coaches of teams that you are interested in playing for.  I would recommend that he finds teams at the bottom of the ranking.  Then send that DVD to those coaches.  Starts with NCAA coaches first than move to teams at the Major Junior level.

Last, I recommend that he opens up a Linked-in account, it doesn't cost anything.  Then have him ask to be part of my network.  This will give him the chance to connect will all NCAA coaches, scouts and NHL coaches.  He should be able to connect with all of my contacts.

If you have any question, you can contact me via linked-in.

Rob Lopez - Commissioner
University Ice Hockey League - Mexico.
Scottsdale, AZ 85255  


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Rob Lopez


I can answer all questions about ice hockey from Mites level to College. I have 15 years as a Goalie Coach, 5 years as an assistant coach, 6 years as a hockey director, and 9 years as a General Manager


I have been in the industry now for over 35 years and I have developed youth and adult programs from Canada to Mexico. Plus, I design 100's of free practice drills for 1000's of coaches worldwide in 41 different countries.

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