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Getting on in Hockey – An Opinion Piece

By Geoff Kaprowy, 11/08/18, 7:00PM CST


The statistics of hockey players playing out a full hockey career are interesting because of the different paths followed by each player.

The statistics of hockey players playing out a full hockey career are interesting because of the different paths followed by each player.  The path to the top is a difficult journey.   The percentage of all players making the NHL is only 4 percent.  This statistic isn’t stated to discourage players it’s a reality and all players should know that when you face some adversity like not knowing if you will make the team next year you should be like water and go with the flow because there are always options for you if you are open to them.  Hockey can be a lifetime sport.

A work career is much the same as moving up the hockey ladder.  For example you start your first year in science at University and think you’ll be a veterinarian.  When the first year is finished you realize you might have to change course.  You still love animals though so you work on an education that one day leads to a sales representative position in this field.  So essentially you still stay involved.  Or maybe this first year inspires you to pull up your socks and make every year after that better so you can look back and tell someone in an interview that that was a year of experience. Hockey is the same.  Opportunities and options change.  But the thing is you adapt and look for ways you can fit in and find enjoyment in what you do.  Those that enjoy what they do inspire others around them.  Some hockey players and students make it all the way, they really do and you could be one of them.

Hockey in Manitoba provides many options and opportunities to keep every player involved.  For some players things get a little more serious at the Bantam AAA age when players are chosen by WHL and MJHL teams.  These players are scouted for years after that and if they progress they can get an offer to play at a higher level.

The quality of hockey in Western Canada gets better every year.  The WHL is considered one of the best preparatory leagues to the NHL in the world.  Between 25 and 35 players are chosen from the province every year for a chance to play there.  What does that mean for the other players? A year or two in AAA U17 Midget Prep and Provincial Midget is a good step.   It can lead to development for playing in the WHL and Junior A leagues which can lead to playing at a University like CIS or NCAA.  Manitoba has the MJHL which is filled with late bloomers but there is also the USHL and the SJHL and BCHL that so many players are now drafted from to the NHL.  Players have to do their due diligence to find these opportunities and networking.    

At the end of the day, some players might take up a trade. Some might walk away from hockey for a while or a bit.  Some will join Senior hockey leagues or men’s hockey leagues in the province later in their hockey lives.  The thing is, the game is always there for you to take advantage of for your short or long term goals.  Hockey, like the community, will always be there for you whatever you choose to do and for however far you go in the game.  Investigate your career options and hockey goals and always work towards them.