If you have chosen a hockey career, then you must know everything about hockey. It is a good choice as a profession. But it is not easy to be a professional hockey player. You have to know each and every single tactic and technique for playing and being a pro. In this article, we have gathered all knowledge to make you an expert and professional hockey player.
How to Become a Professional Hockey Player?
Becoming a professional player is not only about playing hockey. You have to be sincere, regular, and responsible. Being a hockey pro is very much challenging, and only a few sign a professional contract. And a few of them make it into NHL.
Different Routes of Being a Professional Hockey Player
There are mainly 2 paths open for you. You can choose either the major junior route or the college route. Each path has it’s own pros and cons. Consider your size, efficiency, and limitations while choosing the route for yourself.
(a) Major Junior Route:
Many youths consider the major junior route more prestigious. If you are already much grown up at your sixteens, then the major junior route is the better option for you. If you are enough trained there is a chance to be drafted by any NHL club after 2 years of playing in major junior. But this whole thing depends upon the performance you show in your 2 years of major junior.
(b) College route:
If you love to go to school, you may like to pursue a division 1 scholarship. So that you can both play as well as run your college education. It will also buy you time. If you are a good player but not enough good to make it into the national league, then the college route is for you. Because in this route, you will get much more time than the major junior route.
So you will get the chance to develop yourself and be skilled. If you are a late bloomer, then it will also give you enough time to get yourself physically mature. In this case, you have to spend 4 years in division 1 college. Another good thing is you will get an option for your future livings.
There is a high chance that you may not play ever in the NHL. But still, there are also many good deals for hockey players. Those deals may attract you. But the thing you need is to be stick to your goal. If you are really good and efficient in playing this, then you will, of course, earn success regardless of the path.
Requirements You Need to Fulfill
There are no specific requirements for being a hockey player. But NHL scouts always check your heights and skills.
Size matters a lot in hockey. If you are longer than five feet six inches, that is good. The more your height is, the more you will get preference. But if you are shorter than that, then you may have to struggle. But do not lose hope and try hard. If you are good enough, you can make your dream come true despite your height.
Skating, shooting, and passing are important skills in this game. You can improve them under proper coaching and guidance. Through practising more and more, fast reflex and muscle memory can be achieved. And by practising more, you can learn how to play the game as a team.
There are different kinds of contracts. Let’s know about them.
NHL contracts are of 3 kinds. They are-
1. NHL 1-Way:
This is the best among all hockey contracts. You get paid a fixed salary. So you do not have to worry about where you are playing. The company has to pay you the same wage whether you are sent down.
2. NHL 2-Way:
It is also a good deal. In this contract, there are 2 levels of salary. They are NHL grade and minor grade. You will get a high amount if you are assigned to the NHL team. And you will be paid lower when you play in AHL or ECHL team.
3. NHL 3-Way:
In this contract, there are three pay scales. You will get the money depending on whether you are playing in NHL, AHL, or ECHL. The salary differs from each other according to the league.
AHL 2-Way Contract:
In this contract, there are two grades. You get paid high if you are assigned to the AHL team. Else you will get a lower salary for ECHL. But this will not let you play in the club of the national league. You have to sign a new paper to play in the domestic league.
This is a contract that is not guaranteed as the ones described before. You can get fired at any moment. And the severance pay will be of one week only.
In NHL and AHL, professional tryout contracts are available. Different teams assign players for a fixed number of games up to 25. The player can make a deal for another tryout or a fixed contract with another team after expiring the tryout contract.
Keeping good relations with coaches and managers is very important. It can help you to make good deals and get benefited from the company. And expose your skills and talents to the scouts. It may make you more valuable to the companies. It may also increase your chance to make bigger deals.
A good hockey agent can help you very much in making the best and perfect contracts for you. An experienced and hardworking hockey agent can help you to make contingency plans and get guarantees and buyouts.
Moreover, the agents can handle the deals for you. They will also help you to show your talents in the right place so that you get good proposals from NHL, AHL or European elite teams.
Best of Luck!
In total, you have to be consistent, hardworking, and diplomatic. Gather your time from other activities and spend them in practising more and more. So that your reflex, skating, shooting get improved. And keep good relations with everybody in the management. Show your professionalism and be a professional hockey player. Best of luck to you!