Attending a hockey camp is a good idea during the hockey recruiting process, and it can be beneficial in a number of ways.
- High school hockey players can improve their on-ice skills after instruction provided by college hockey coaches and players. This high-level teaching is particularly helpful for underclassmen trying to develop their game.
- Hockey camps offer some level of exposure to college hockey programs. But recruits need to be aware that there’s not much chance of being “discovered” at a camp. Coaches already familiar with you may evaluate your skills further at hockey camp. But if they don’t know who you are when you show up, it’s likely they won’t know you when camp ends.
- Hockey camp can give you a good idea of how you measure up to other talented hockey players. Exposure to other high school players can let you know the skills that you need to improve the most.
- A college hockey camp lets you get a small taste of campus life. You stay in the dorms, use college athletic facilities and experience other aspects that may help you make a decision when it comes to choosing where you want to play college hockey.
Choosing a Hockey Camp
Make sure you do your research when choosing a hockey camp. It’s also important to know if you’re going to hockey camp mainly for exposure or to work on your game.
If you’re hoping for exposure, go to a college hockey camp at a school that’s recruiting you. Remember, hockey coaches don’t do much scouting at camps, so go to one where they already know who you are. Find out what hockey coaches are on the camp staff and get in touch with them to let them know you’re coming.
If your main reason for going to hockey camp is to improve your skills, learn as much as possible about the coaching staff. Are they experienced with winning? Do they have a history of producing outstanding hockey players? Ask someone who’s been to the camp about the level of hockey talent there.
What’s the difference between invite-only “elite” camps and college hockey camps?
Elite hockey camps (like USA Hockey player development camps) are generally invitation only. This means that the talent level is usually extremely high. The high quality of skills instruction plus a few days playing hockey against top-level players, is excellent for player development. If you want to attend an elite hockey camp, have your coach contact the camp and nominate you.
College hockey camps are run by college hockey coaches, and can offer a high level of skills instruction as well. These camps also give a recruit the chance to get a feel for the college hockey program that he’s considering. Attending camp at a school that you’re interested in lets you check out the school’s campus and athletic facilities, as well as gain some familiarity with the hockey coaching staff.
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