I have something to do in school and I need to ask you a few questions. #1: How do you become a pro in hockey?#2: How old do you have to be to enter the NHL?#3: What do you have to do to prove that you can enter the NHL and that you're ready?
Those are my three questions. If you could answer by Wednesday that would be great!
Thanks for writing. I am hoping that I can answer this question all at one time rather than breaking it up into several answers. Some people will tell you that trying to make the NHL is like winning the lottery. They would say that you have better odds getting hit by lighting 10 time before you will get the chance to make the NHL. However, I am not one of those individuals.
In order for you to even be considered you have to be playing major juniors or be playing at a University that has an NCAA hockey program. The youngest I have seen playing in major juniors was Wayne Gretzky at age 14. The oldest you can play in major juniors is 21. After that, hit the showers or join a beer league.
Now to get to the major juniors, you have to have a couple of things working for you. One, you have to stand out from all the rest of the players in your league or town or both. If you can do that, you will be scouted. Trust me when I tell you this, the scout doesn’t even have to show up. Some parent in the stands that knows the scout will call and tell him what he seen.
This is why you always play your best, because that parent is out there watching. I have seen that too many times, where a scout was called and the next thing you know the player is in. But how do you get to a point where you stand out…that’s the key!
Standing out has everything to do with the 6 inches between your ears and that’s it! If you have the drive, heart, commitment, attitude, you can make it. Sounds too easy does it not? Well, it is not that easy. In fact, most players can’t make it to the next level because they don’t have one thing…commitment. Oh they say all the wonderful things people say, but when it comes time for the rubber to hit the road…failure! Why?
Let me ask you this. If you have practice tonight and tonight it’s just power skating, If you were with a bunch of your friends that don’t play hockey and they want to head out to the local burger place where the little honey hang out. Would you go or would you go to power skating practice?
If your girlfriend wants to go to a movie and then go parking, would you go or would you go to power skating practice? Nine times out of ten, the player goes for the fun stuff and not the power skating class. This is the difference between commitment and failure.
You have to be careful, because some people (dream stealers) will tell you it’s okay to go out and have fun. It sounds like this…”oh let then be kids; they are only kids for a while!” It also sounds like this when you failure…”Oh it’s ok to fail, maybe next time you will not set your goals so high!”
In order to get to the next level, you will need a support group or person. One that will call your BS when you don’t want to do things, rather than someone holding you and patting you on the back and telling you it’s okay. The support person will say…”excuse me, I wasn’t the one that said they wanted this, I wasn’t the one who wants this. You said you wanted to do this, now you get your butt out there and do it!
Hope this helps.
Rob Lopez - Commissioner
University Ice Hockey League - Mexico