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The craziest time of the year

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By: Mary Giacalone “Scary Mary”

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So we all agree that this is the craziest time of the year. Coaches are going through interviews, teams are either in or out of playoffs. Parents and skaters are getting worried about the upcoming try-outs. You are continually having thoughts such as

  • will my son/daughter make the team
  • how many new players is the new coach going to take
  • how many players is the coach going to cut
  • are there any new imports moving in the area
  • does the coach even know how good my son/daughter is
  • Is try-outs as political as everyone says it is
  • do I need to get extra skating/skills for my son/daughter before try-outs
  • are the coaches buddies all guaranteed spots….


This is the noise that we all hear in our heads leading up to try-outs, the craziest time of the year. What I can tell you is that I have some ideas on what coaches look for in the players they select.  Unfortunately, scouting is not an exact science and you will rarely find 2 scouts/coaches that entirely agree on a player.  Summarizing this process would be nearly impossible.


With that said, we put together a list of “Tryout & Scouting Tips” that we feel would be useful for any young hockey player looking for advice on how to stand out amongst his/her peers.  These are very relevant to the upcoming tryouts, but can be applied to any type of hockey competition as your child gets older.  Please share these with your son/daughter in context to the upcoming tryouts.


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Hockey Tryout and Scouting Tips


  • Play to Your Strength – don’t try to become a player that you are not.  Identify what you are best at as a hockey player and prove it.  Example: If you are a defensive defenseman, then don’t try to rush the puck all of the time.  Do what you do best.


  • Get Noticed! – Don’t just blend in with the crowd.  You must do something positive to get the attention of a scout.  Please don’t think that only means scoring a goal or getting on the scoreboard.  Some examples of getting noticed (positively) are:


  1. making a nice pass
  2. always finishing your checks
  3. being a vocal leader with your teammates
  4. always working hard on your back-checks
  5. winning face-offs
  6. making simple/smart plays with the puck
  7. playing a 2-way hockey game
  8. scoring a goal


  • Make every shift/game count – Most of the time, you never know who might be watching you from the stands.  Just make sure that you are consistently giving 100% every game or practice and you will never have to worry about this tip.  That doesn’t mean that you should be nervous and think every game is your most important one.  It just means that you should be consistent and always give your best effort.  You cannot control how you play every game but you can always control your effort.


  • Be a Supportive Teammate – Your character plays a very important role in how successful you will be as a hockey player.  Coaches, scouts, programs, will always look for players of strong character and leadership qualities.  Whether you are helping a struggling teammate or just giving an honest effort every night, these are qualities that will never be overlooked.  There are countless times where a scout will recognize a player’s skill but will give him bad marks for his lack of character.  So just remember to be a team player and that you need your teammates to be successful.


  • Body Language – Your body language on the ice can be a dead giveaway about your character in a hockey game.  Instead of hanging your head low after a mistake or slamming your stick on the ice after a missed scoring opportunity, just go out there and be ready for your next shift.    Players that casually walk up to face-offs and come off the ice slowly after a shift will always appear to be lazy in the eyes of a scout.  Scouts want to see a confident prospect, not a player who deflates after making a mistake.


  • Have FUN! – Just like in life, your best performances will always be when you are enjoying yourself.  You will not excel in anything you don’t enjoy.  Although you are competing against your peers at the tryout, you can enjoy yourself and make a few friends in the process.


Until next time Scary Mary says see you at the rink…..

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Mary Giacalone “Scary Mary”

Head Instructor/Owner of Scary Skate Inc.

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