Categories
USA Hockey Nationals Youth Hockey

6 Helpful Ways to Use MyHockeyRankings

The following is a post I wrote almost four years ago about MyHockeyRankings on an old blog I used to publish. Most of it is still highly relevant after all this time. I have added some additional new thoughts at the end of the post.

I spend a lot of time on the MyHockeyRankings (MHR) website.  I don’t use the site because I care about the rankings of my kids’ teams, but I do see the rankings, so I am aware of what they are. However, there are many more valuable reasons to use the site that I find really insightful that I wanted to share. I will also put together my thoughts on what the watchouts and drawbacks are for MyHockeyRanks in a separate post.

To start, let’s remind you of why MyHockeyRankings was created and how it is intended to be used. As stated explicitly on their About Us page, the site was set-up to help with scheduling competitive games between clubs. Using a pretty simple algorithm based on goal differential, a rating is created for each team.  The difference in ratings between two teams is their expected goal differential (EGD) between the two teams if they were to play each other (subtracting the lower rating from the higher rating). This methodology is used to normalize quality of opponent and calibrate one team versus another. I won’t go into the statistical analysis of the legitimacy of EGD, but the goal differential is only an expected value, and thus there will be a lot of variation in actual game scores. If the EGD is small, then if the two teams would play each other, then it likely would be a competitive game. If the goal differential is large (for me 4 or 5 goals is a significantly large gap) then it likely would not be a competitive game and it may not make sense for the two teams to play in the first place. This is especially helpful if there is a large tournament and the organizers are trying to group teams into competitive divisions or for leagues to draw the line between A, BB and B levels. There is a lot more detail to how and why, but that is the gist of the ratings.  Well, now that each team has a rating, it is only natural to rank them.  This is where much of the controversy starts with the MHR site, but we’ll discuss the use of rankings separately.

  1. Schedule, Scores and LiveBarn

I track about 10 different teams at various clubs, levels and age groups and I find it much easier to see the schedule and scores in one single location thanks to MyHockeyRankings than going to each individual team’s website or leagues site to find the schedule and/or score.  If I want to dive into a particular game then I might go elsewhere, but being able to see which of those teams has/had games in a particular weekend is very helpful.  As a bonus, having the LiveBarn icon next to a game (especially if one of the teams is playing at an away tournament) it lets me know that I could watch the game if I wanted to. This feature was remarkably helpful for watching games for a prep school team that we are considering for my daughter. Without the MyHockeyRankings/LiveBarn partnership, I might never have been able to see several of the school’s games.

2. Scouting and Researching

When heading to a tournament it is highly likely that most of the teams we will play we won’t have ever seen or played before. We have used the MHR ratings to help decide which goalie to start in which games. If on the first day of a tourney we have two games and one team is clearly rated higher than the other on MyHockeyRanking, then the coach usually has some insightful information on who to start in each game. For a playoff game one coach asked me to download the most recent games of the team they will be playing, thanks to MHR I was able to see exactly when and where to find the game on LiveBarn. Finally, as mentioned above, being able to find games from potential prep schools for my daughter and watch their play has allowed me to research potential future schools/teams for her to play on based on the quality of their teams, including the LiveBarn video identification.

3. AA vs. AAA?

I care about my kids’ hockey development not the number of letters they have for their level of play. Since there really is no standard of what is AA vs AAA (which is a topic for another post), MyHockeyRankings also helps to compare AA vs AAA teams in an apples-to-apples manner. For example, I have one of my kids playing on a AA team this season that is rated slightly higher than the AAA team in our area. This is not a surprise, and while having a higher rating doesn’t really matter, there is a big difference between the two teams. The AAA struggles to compete and loses most of their games and their players are usually chasing the puck. Instead, nearly all the AA games my kids team plays are competitive and the players are developing a lot more both on defense and offense, especially when the games are close. While MHR didn’t really play a role in the decision on which team my child would play on, the ratings have provided validation that they are playing at the right level for their development even though it has one less ‘A’.

4. Scheduling Games

As mentioned at the start, this is the original intent of the MyHockeyRankings. Last season our team played about 30 games.  Which is fine, but a few more would have been nice.

Since there weren’t any local teams that were available in the Spring, we looked to find a few teams that were 5 hours away for weekend exhibition games against 3 or 4 teams. Well, of course I used MHR to find the teams which would be most comparable to our team to reach out to (even though they were a level lower by letter).  Once again, this is exactly the intended use of MHR, to help schedule and ensure competitive games.

5. Triangulation Between Levels

My daughter plays on a youth (boys) team and at some point she will switch to playing with the girls. One of the challenges is for me to compare her current level of play with the boys to the girls of her age.  However, thanks to MyHockeyRanking and using their methodology, I can triangulate her team’s ratings to other girls teams.  Since the local girls team plays enough games in the boys division, I can determine their equivalent boys rating and see the difference to my daughter’s team. It provides an additional piece of data to inform our decision on the where and when she should play in the future. I have used the same methodology to compare between levels between teams from Squirt to Peewee, from Peewee to Bantam and Bantam to Midget. For example, how does a Peewee AA team compare to a Bantam B team? Thanks to MHR I am able to figure out the answer to this question.

6. How are you trending? Last 10 Game Ratings

Figuring out if your team is trending up or down during the season is a pretty important insight.  Almost all teams improve throughout the year, but how is your team improving relative to others. Thanks to MHR you can see if the last 10 games are accretive or dilutive to your rating. Also, with the help of a basic spreadsheet you take any time period and figure it out for yourself.  As a data geek, I like the ability to analyze this kind of stuff.

Finally, as I admitted at the start, I am aware of the rankings for my kids’ teams. The ranking usually doesn’t vary too much from the start of the season to the end of the season, so once it has been established, not much point paying too close attention to it.  But knowing where the team ranks on a national and state/regional level is good to know as a parent. It basically helps me set realistic expectations for where my kids are in their development and what goals to help them set for the coming year.

These are the benefits I have found from using MyHockeyRankings and when used properly it has provided helpful insights for several important decisions for my kids’ hockey development. However, while I have used site for ‘good’, it is pretty easy to use the site in the wrong way. My next post will discuss the watch-outs and using the site in a manner that goes against its original intent.

2023 Update #1: Another strength of MHR has been having USA Hockey use the rankings for at-large invitations to National playoffs. This way the best teams will still participate even if they didn’t win their district championship.

2023 Update #2: I have also used the Women’s College Hockey ratings as part of the college recruiting process. It’s been helpful to see how each of the conferences really compare to each other in terms of level of play. As an example, it shows how competitive the WCHA conference is, and that finishing 6th in that conference would be first or second in a different conference. You could be playing for a Top 10 team in the country and still not make the NCAA tournament. The NCAA might want to change it’s pairwise calculation (which I don’t really understand) and just use MHR for their at-large tournament selections.

Categories
2023 Coach page College Hockey Recruiting Youth Hockey

College Exposure Showcase Coach Scout List

Go straight to the Instructions on How to Connect with College Exposure Showcase Coaches

Why Create a Champs App Profile? (Video)

How to Create a Beautiful Hockey Profile That Gets Noticed (Video)

Coach Profiles

sean levin

Head Coach – Rider Broncs

Mike HinklE

Equipment Manager – Alvernia Golden Wolves

eric Hench

Head Coach – York Spartans

Dave standley

Assistant Coach – Virginia Tech Hokies

Jon O’Neil

Head Coach – Kuztown University

anthony borelli

Assistant Coach – Alvernia Golden Wolves

Champs App lets players create beautiful, free hockey resume that facilitate the college hockey recruiting process. 

“How do I know coaches will remember me after the College Exposure Showcase?”

By connecting directly with coaches, players can know that coaches will continue to follow them after the CES event during the regular season (see their schedule, video & profile updates). Coaches can not only get more details about each player, but also see their upcoming schedule, regular teams and coaches.

Instructions:

Step 1: Create your free Champs App Profile hockey resume here

Step 2: To make it easier for the College Exposure Showcase coaches to find you make you add your current team to your Champs profile and make sure to include your jersey #

Step 3:  Review the list of the College Exposure Showcase coaches above to connect with and then send connection requests to the coaches/schools you are interested in from within Champs App.

Categories
Player Development Strength and Conditioning Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey Youth Hockey

Summer Hockey Development Plans

How I helped create a summer training plan for my kids

Since both my kids returned from school, I have been very focused on helping them figure out what to work on this summer.  Each of them has a big tryout that they need to prepare for – in addition to continued development for next season.   My kids are completely different players. One is a forward, the other defense. One is above average in size, the other is slightly under-sized. One is a lefty, the other a righty.  

After re-watching 4 or 5 games for each kid from mid-to-late season I was able to identify several key areas that they had a pattern of underperforming. But then, since I am not really a hockey coach, I needed to figure out how they could improve their performance in those areas. Specifically, I followed the methodology I previously discussed about tracking high-frequency events and success rates based on the teachings of Darryl Belfry.

I am not sure we figured out the secret sauce, but I wanted to share my research methodology and how it translated into an action plan.

For each of my kids, I chose 2 or 3 players who I knew were clearly more successful in those key areas. All of them would be considered top players at the USA Hockey national level. As a result, finding historical video from those players either on HockeyTV, LiveBarn or from the recent USA Hockey Nationals was not difficult.  Once again, I watched 3-5 games for those benchmark players to see how they handled the same key situations as my son or daughter.  What I learned was enlightening.

To provide one specific example, I watched video via HockeyTV of Caroline Harvey (Olympic medalist and recent rookie of the year at Wisconsin) way back during her time at Bishop Kearney Selects through to her games at the U18 USA Hockey Development camp in 2019. Seeing how she handled similar game situations provided excellent contrast to my daughter’s play.  The way KK could handle the puck and find time and space at that young age was truly impressive – and makes it very easy to understand why she is a generational talent.

For each player under analysis, patterns and insights emerge after 2 or 3 games. Each player is different, and I found there was at least one attribute for each player that made them special and worth emulating.

Note: this was not a one-day exercise watching all the games and collecting video snippets to review/ edit at a later time. It took several days to watch the video for each player.

I then spent time individually with my kids over the course of a few days discuss with them the areas I recommended they focus on (most of them they already knew). This included showing them video of themselves not succeeding (which they did not enjoy) and then showing them clips of the benchmarked players completing similar situations successfully.  We are still early in the summer, but both kids have been working on these areas by themselves and with their skills coaches. 

We shall see how effective this whole process is when we get to the fall, since I have no expectations that my kids will see immediate results.  But one of the key learnings for me about this whole exercise was not to depend on my kids’ team coaches for their development plans and how to implement them (as I have alluded to in a previous post about hockey development plans).

Categories
College Hockey Recruiting Girls Hockey USA Hockey Nationals Women's College Hockey Youth Hockey

5 Observations From Attending USA Hockey Nationals

A couple of weeks ago I attended my first USA Hockey National Championship.  I was in both Dallas for the Girls Tier I round robin games and New Jersey for several Youth 15O games. Here are a few things I learned while I was there – mostly from my time in Dallas.

1. Accurate Seedings

For Girls Tier 1, 23 of the 24 Top 8 seeds qualified for the quarterfinals from 14U, 16U and 19U.  Which shows how accurate and reliable the rankings that are used to decide the both the at-large invitations and seedings are. However, once in the playoff round, the lower ranked teams had a reasonable chance to win, with many of the higher seeds losing to lower seeds.  On the Youth side, only 24 of the 32 teams made it to the quarters.

2. Scouts Everywhere

In both locations, I saw coaches scouting players at every round robin game. On the youth side, there were junior and college coaches in every corner and in the stands.  For the girls,nearly every DI college and many DIII coaches were along the glass and in specially designated areas to watch all the 16U games and many 14U and 19U games.  

While Nationals, clearly isn’t the only opportunity to be seen, it certainly helps. It is a big deal. So I now understand why making Nationals from highly-competitive districts is so important to winning their district if they won’t be one of the 3 at-large invitation teams.

I also saw several DIII coaches talking to eligible players who hadn’t committed yet after games.

3. Many Scouts Left After the Preliminary Divisional Games

I flew back to New Jersey from Dallas at the end of the round-robin play, and saw many coaches checking out of our hotel or pulling their carry-on bags on that Saturday. Clearly they were heading home after 3 days of non-stop games.  Based on my previous conversations with coaches, if they are efficient in their scouting, they will have seen enough of all the players they were watching. 

4. Networking Galore

I happened to be staying in a hotel where many other NCAA coaches were staying.  I was able to view first-hand lots of talks happening between team coaches and college coaches in both the arena and the hotel lobby/bars.  Once again, reinforcing the importance of being at Nationals for the recruiting process.  I know of at least one eligible player who was contacted after Nationals based on their appearance at Nationals.

USA-Hockey

5. USA Hockey Scouts in Attendance

It was nice to see at least two USA Hockey representatives watching games and players.  I am assuming it was in anticipation of the upcoming USA Hockey District camps taking in place in May and June to select player for the 15’s, 16/17s and 18’s Camps.  This gives USA Hockey a bigger body of work to judge players rather and greater level of consistency across districts rather than just relying on the coaches who may only attend one or two District camps.

Categories
hockey Minor Hockey Player Development Youth Hockey

Why Your Team Should Play AA Instead of AAA Youth Hockey

Do you want a chance at playing at the USA Hockey National Championships?

Did your team play AAA last year? 

If yes, what was your final ranking on MyHockeyRankings?

If your team wasn’t in the Top 50 teams for your age group, then this post is for you.

Last week, USA Hockey announced all the team that either qualified or were invited to Tier I and Tier II National Playoffs taking place at the end of the month. Many low ranked AAA teams never had a chance of going to Nationals.

This post discusses why your AAA team might be better off being designated as Tier II (AA) instead of Tier I.  And while this post primarily focuses on youth (boys) hockey in the U.S., some of the same principles can be applied to girls hockey.

Here’s why…

1. Teams ranked below the Top 50 rarely qualify for USA Hockey Nationals

lowest ranked team qualifying for 2023 USA Hockey Youth Nationals Playoffs

If you aren’t at least a Top 50 team in your age group, there is almost no chance you will win your Tier 1 District playoffs – the exception being a team from Northern Plains (Team North Dakota for 16s) and the Rocky Mountain District (for 18s).

2. Lower ranked AAA teams are rated about the same as top AA teams

Here is how the bottom half of Tier 1 team ratings compare to the top teams in both Tier 1 and Tier 2

2023 USA HOCKEY tier i vs Tier 2 ratings comparison

As you can see, after the ~50th ranked team, the AAA teams are pretty competitive with top AA teams in each age group.  There is less than a goal differential between these teams – so games between 50th ranked Tier 1 teams would be close with the Top Tier 2 teams.

3. It should be easier to qualify for USA Hockey Nationals

There are 48 spots for each Tier II age group. By classifying at the Tier II level, they would have a much better chance of qualifying for Nationals and playing competitive games in that tournament.

4. You can still play in AAA tournaments and showcases.

At the same time, they can continue to play in the same leagues and events during the regular season.

There are already tournaments specifically set-up for the bottom half of AAA teams.  Some tourneys are explicit about this by segmenting their division names (AAA and AAA elite – or Ribcor + Supertacks +  Jetspeed). Others make sure that similarly ranked lower rated teams attend the same event.

For some regular season Tier 1 leagues, they already do this implicitly. In one league, the weakest teams don’t even get to play in the leagues end-of-season playoffs, instead they are relegated to their own ‘Consolation’ division. This past season, there was a club which had all 4 of their Tier 1 teams in the consolation division due to poor regular season performance at each age group. Once again, these leagues are set-up to treat the lower ranked teams at the level they actually play – a tweener between AAA and AA.

Be Realistic

From a game and tournament perspective, weaker “AAA” teams are playing each other anyway, but not really playing for anything. It is unlikely any of them will with their districts and to be one of the 12 automatic qualifiers to Tier 1 USA Hockey Nationals, and they certainly won’t get an at-large invitation for the remaining 4 spots.

However, there are 48 spots for each Tier II age group.   By classifying at the Tier 2 level, they would have a much better chance of qualifying for Nationals and playing competitive games in that tournament. At the same time, they can continue to play in the same leagues and events during the regular season.

At the end of the day, these weak “AAA” teams will still be who they are – but now they would have a chance to play against their peers for a National Championship.   Considering that youth hockey is all about development, competing in a real playoff environment is a great development opportunity and playing competitive games.  Certainly better than what is happening today, where most of these teams are enjoying limited success – and when they do, it usually versus their true peer group.

Youth hockey is all about development. You really shouldn’t care how many letters your team has as long as players and teams are getting better every year. It’s not about being able to tell your friends that you (or your kid) plays AAA.

So, are you willing to trade playing triple-A for double-A in exchange for a legitimate chance to play for a National Championship?

Data Source: MyHockeyRankings.com

Categories
Development Camp Youth Hockey

The Early Birth-Month Advantage in Hockey

This week, the USA Hockey NTDP released the names of the 45 2007’s invited to their evaluation camp. Over 50% of the players were born in the first 3 months of 2007.  Malcolm Gladwell talked about this hockey phenomenon in his book Outliers, where the earlier you are born in the calendar year, the more likely you are to be get selected to elite teams. This is due to the size and age advantage over players born later in the year. It is a self-reinforcing cycle from atom/squirt ages – despite hockey being a late-development sport. 15 years later, this bias still exists.

Categories
Coaching Player Development Youth Hockey

Does your Player Have an In-season Personal Development Plan?

You can’t depend solely on your team coach to make you a better hockey player. There, I said it.

In my experience, I haven’t seen any team coaches work with individual players to create personal development plans. Typically, I’ve seen pre-season and mid-season reviews which discuss overall player development. And I’ve seen coaches ask players to put together a list what they need to work on. But after that, it is usually up to the player to get better at those items themselves.

During the season, almost all coaches focus on team concepts like breakouts, special teams (power play and penalty kill), defensive positioning etc. They also spend time in practice on basic skill development like passing, skating, board battles and game situations like 2-on-1s.

In reality, team coaches don’t have a lot of time in practice to work on the individual, unique needs of each player.  Of course, there is always the coach who spends extra time with one or two ‘special’ players on a team and gives them more attention. But, on average, you can’t expect a team coach to be responsible for working on your player’s highest priority development needs.

To get better as a hockey player you need to be working throughout the season on the areas in your game that will have the biggest impact on your overall improvement and success.

So if you’re team coach isn’t working directly with you or your player on a personal development plan, how do you develop one?

In a previous post, I described that I am a big believer in Darryl Belfry’s methodology of tracking high frequency events and success/failure rates to prioritize what a player should work on. After a series of 3 or 4 games, you should be able to look at the video and see which areas of your game you are repeatedly under-performing. From this analysis, you should be able to prioritize 3-5 skills or attributes that you need to work on.  This is your personal development plan.

The next step is to figure out how to get better at those areas.  Of course this will depend on what your specific needs are – but it could be anything from working on skating or shooting the puck to positioning on the ice.  Some might be easy fixes and others might take months to work on to gain the required proficiency.  The key is to find someone or somehow to help you get better and to work on those areas between games. This is easier said than done, because figuring out the right person to help or how to help yourself may take some effort.

I have had many parents complain to me that their kid’s coach isn’t helping them get better at the areas that the player really needs help on.  My response is that I have learned not to expect any team coach to make my kids better. Most youth team coaches don’t have the time or interest in going that deep with every player on a team. If the team coach does do it, that’s a bonus and an indication of a high-level coach who “gets it” – but in reality they are rare to find.

Key Takeaway: You can’t only expect team coaches to make you a better player, you need to be responsible for you own development.

Categories
College Hockey Recruiting Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey Youth Hockey

Creating Player Videos: Where to Post Your Recruiting Highlight Reels

This is the fifth and final post in a series on creating player videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.

#1 How to Create Player Videos for Recruiting
#2 What Are The 3 Types of Recruiting Videos Coaches Want to See?
#3 Sourcing Game Footage For Highlight Reels
#4 How to Edit Video for Recruiting Highlight Reels

This is the last post on creating recruiting videos and it focuses on where to upload your video to share with coaches.

There are two types of situations to share videos with coaches.  The first, is directly one-to-one with a specific  coach and the second is one-to-many.

Video Analytics

Ideally, in both situations your want to post the video in a manner where you can track some metrics about your video. This could include various attributes like who has watched you video, how many times the video has been watched. In addition, you might also be able to track location, how long users watched the video and where the user came from prior to watching your video (e.g. search, email, social media etc.)

YouTube

The easiest method to upload a video to share is using YouTube.  A public YouTube video lets your video be found via search engines and within YouTube and you can easily track views and additional measurements about your video.  You can also upload the same or personalized videos for specific coaches or schools separately to track viewership by team.  In most situations, YouTube offers all of these hosting services for free.

Vimeo

Another similar service is Vimeo which offers both free and paid options depending on which capabilities you might want for hosting , tracking and possibly editing capabilities.

Social Media Platforms

Many student-athletes also use social media platforms, such as, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram, to share their recruiting videos. This allows coaches to view the videos at their convenience and share them with other members of their coaching staff.

You can also store video files in a private folder in the cloud using Google Drive, Dropbox or Box and share links to those files with specific teams or individuals.  Once again, using trackable links and privacy controls, you can control and specify who has access to you files and check if coaches have watched the videos.

Other Channels

It’s important to note that college coaches and recruiters may also use other resources to evaluate prospective student-athletes, such as game film, scouting services, and in-person evaluations. Therefore, it’s important for student-athletes to showcase their skills and abilities through multiple channels to increase their visibility to college coaches.

Team Website

One last category is the host the video on the same site where you publish you online hockey resume.  It can be on your team site, using a recruiting service or on your Champs App profile page. Currently Champs App only allows YouTube video links, but in the future you will be able to store your videos directly on your profile page then share and track who has watched you videos.

Feel free to share your method of hosting your highlight videos – please send us your preferred method and we can add them to this post. 

Categories
College Hockey Recruiting Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey Youth Hockey

Creating Player Videos: How to Edit Video for Recruiting Highlight Reels

This is the fourth post in a series on creating player videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.

#1 How to Create Player Videos for Recruiting
#2 What Are The 3 Types of Recruiting Videos Coaches Want to See?
#3 Sourcing Game Footage For Highlight Reels
#5 Where to Post Your Recruiting Highlight Reels

This post is not about creating professional hockey videos for teams or coaches.  Nor is it intended to help with analytics or stat tracking like Hudl or Instat. Instead it is simply just to help players and parents make simple highlight videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.  As a result, we will only cover basic tools to help edit and produce these types of videos to the exclusion of fancy stat software packages used for more sophisticated needs.

There are dozens of premium hockey-specific video editing tools out there. This post does not cover in any of them. Feel free to do an online search if you want to find some of the top names in this category. Instead, we will only discuss the common general purpose video editing tools that are most popular and relatively simple to use.

There are also many, many service providers who will be happy to make professional looking videos for you for a fee. Nothing wrong with hiring someone to make your video, but with a little effort, you can save yourself a lot of money.

Candidly, I have used very basic tools to help edit video and create graphics.  I’ve never paid for any additional software beyond what I already use either at home or at work.  There are many parents (and definitely most players) who have better media-making skills than I do.  But what matters is delivering presentable videos that meet the needs of coaches.

As for editing tools, there are many free programs and several movie editing tools which are relatively low cost. All  of them are pretty easy to use once you’ve gone up the learning curve on your first couple of videos. . These software packages include iMovie, Final Cut, Adobe, Windows Movie Maker and Microsoft Video Editor. And these days there are many browser-based video editing tools as well.

You can make your own graphics using common graphical editing and presentation tools like Keynote, Adobe, Powerpoint and Google Slides.  There are also good, either free or very inexpensive graphical design offerings like Canva and stock image sites.

What to include in all your videos

  1. An intro graphic which provides the basic information about the player. Ideally it includes most of the following:
    • Profile pic
    • Birthday
    • Height
    • Graduation Year
    • Current Team
    • Position
    • Jersey #
    • Current Coach
    • Contact Info (optional)
  2. During each clip/scene use some type of graphic (e.g. circle, arrow etc.) to identify the player
  3. Informational Graphics

Another common element I’ve seen in highlight video (not full games) is some type of on-screen graphic which communicates to the viewer what type of highlight they are about to see. It could be anything from a goal or assist, to a good defensive play or fancy pass.  If there are specific critical attributes of a player’s game that you want to emphasize, explicitly calling them out on-screen beforehand can be helpful.

Should you include music? 

That is a personal choice. Many coaches have told me they’d prefer not to listen to a soundtrack with the video, but they can always mute the sound of any video if they don’t want to hear it.

I am sure I am missing some additional editing tools and other methods of cutting video, so please feel free to send us your methods and we can add them to this post. 

Categories
College Hockey Recruiting Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey Youth Hockey

Creating Player Videos: Sourcing Game Footage For Highlight Reels

This is the third post in a series on creating player videos college coaches want to see from potential recruits.

#1 How to Create Player Videos for Recruiting
#2 What Are The 3 Types of Recruiting Videos Coaches Want to See? – Champs App
#How to Edit Video for Recruiting Highlight Reels
#5 Where to Post Your Recruiting Highlight Reels

Now that you decided you want to create videos for your player the first step is to get raw game footage you can use to create the three different types of highlight reels coaches want to see.

Live Streaming Services

In both the US and Canada, LiveBarn is the most popular hockey streaming service.  What is great about LiveBarn is that you can easily download either 30 second clips or full games.  While sometimes the quality isn’t great or the camera is sometimes  not focused on the  puck,  in general it is one of the most consistent sources of footage that you can use.

The second most popular game streaming available is from HockeyTV.  Depending on the event and/or rink, the service has a very good browsing capability to find specific games and navigating within games.  The big drawback for HockeyTV is that you need to pay an extra  fee to download specific games – which makes it expensive to use for editing full games.  My trick is to just use my phone’s camera to record specific highlights from of the HockeyTV screen.

Additional Streaming Services

There are also other hockey streaming services available in specific regions or events. For example, in Minnesota there are rink-specific  feeds that you can pay to watch games. And there is also the GameOn streaming service in Canada that is available for major events and specific rinks.  Once again, the fees vary either by one-time access to events (e.g. tournament or showcase) or subscriptions.

Recoding Games Yourself (or by someone on your team)

At almost every rink, you will find at least one parent with either an iPad or video camera on a tripod recording or streaming a game.  The quality is usually very good and as long as they camera person pays attention the entire game, there is usually some great footage.

In addition, I consistently see at least one parent along the glass takes out their phone every time their kid is on the ice and start the recording their shifts.

One more method is to use GoPro cameras. This is my personal favorite source of game footage  as a supplement to LiveBarn.  It is especially good for goalies.  While you only need one camera and you can decide which end is more appropriate to record based on your player and period,  I like to use two cameras at both ends of the rink behind the goalies.  The only challenge with using GoPros is that it is a lot of work.  Beyond shelling out ~$200 or more for a camera, memory card and necessary accessories to stick it to the glass, you also need to make sure you have enough power to last the entire game.  This can be through charging the in-camera batteries or connecting an external battery pack.  And remembering to charge the batteries and empty the memory cards before/after games is another chore. However, the payoff is that the quality of the video for offensive plays and goalie footage is about as good as it gets. I can’t tell you how many goalies (and their parents) have asked me to send them video of their end when they know that I recorded their game.

OTHER FOOTAGE SOURCES

Sometimes a game or a highlight is available from some third party that I have seen on social media or know about from our team chat.

Many games are live broadcast or posted to YouTube either by the opposing team or a tournament/showcase organizer (e.g. NAHA Winterhawks games and more).  You may be able to find game footage just by doing a search on YouTube.  If you have a premium YouTube subscription you can download videos with your account. There are also “free” websites to download YouTube videos, but since many of the sites are filled with suspicious ads and potential malware, I won’t link to any of them here. I would just suggest you use caution when using one of these services.

Twitch, Facebook LiveLivestream or Other Personal  Live Broadcasting  Services

Similar to YouTube, many parents live stream games using their personal social media accounts. I have used footage from Faceboook Live and SeasonCast . You may not be able to download the full game video, but you can use your phone to capture short highlights.

Social Media

Every once in a while I will find a short  highlight I want to use on Twitter or Instagram.  Usually someone else posted a great play from an angle or a shot that is better than what I have on my footage, so I find a way to capture or download it.

One more trick I use is a screen recording software (sometimes I use Screencast – but you can also just use Zoom to record your screen) to capture and download video from a 3rd party source that is not available for easy download.

I am sure I am missing some additional sources of footage and other methods of capturing game video, so please feel free to send us your methods and we can add them to this post.