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College Hockey Recruiting Development Camp Girl's Showcase Parents Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey

What I learned attending my first DI Girls College Hockey Showcase

This past weekend my 2006 daughter and I attended our first showcase with Division I coaches participating and scouting at the event.  The 585 PIP Showcase – Roc City Style took place in Rochester, New York at the Bill Gray Iceplex from June 18-20, 2021. Here is what I learned…

Who participated in the 585 PIP College Hockey Showcase?

In attendance were 180 players with birth years 2004, 2005 and 2006. Their break down by birth year and high school graduation year were as follows:

Included in these players, were many girls invited to the different 2021 USA Hockey Camps next month in Minnesota. Of particular interest to us, were the three players at the 585 Showcase who were the only 2006’s invited directly to the U18 Camp – thus, at least by USA Hockey’s assessment, considered the top three 15’s in the country.

From the recruiting side, there were 28 DI and 6 DIII schools represented (note: 13 schools were previous guests on the Champs App Podcast):

Boston CollegeMercyhurstQuinnipiacYale
BrownMerrimackRITConnecticut College
Boston UniversityMinnesotaRPIElmira College
ClarksonMinnesota DuluthSt. LawrenceNazareth
ColgateNortheasternSyracusePlattsburgh
CornellOhio StateUConnSUNY Oswego
HarvardPenn StateUnionUniversity of Buffalo
Holy CrossPrincetonVermont 
LindenwoodProvidenceWisconsin 

20 of the DI coaches participated in on-ice events which for each player included a skills sessions, a practice and 4 games.

Starting the women’s college hockey recruiting process

Unlike the first showcase in Rochester that we attended last October, 2020 during Covid, our goals for this past weekend were very different. Back then, since my daughter hadn’t played with girls before, we were just trying to calibrate how good a hockey player she was compared to other female players.

This 585 event was the first step in the long journey of my daughter’s recruiting process with the intent of being seen by some of the schools she currently has an interest in. Something which makes her situation unique, is that she has only played on boys tier hockey teams and will once again play boys tier 1 hockey next season. While this is great from a hockey development perspective, this puts her at a disadvantage because she does not get seen at in-season girls tournaments or the USA Hockey Girls National playoffs. This is why spring/summer girls showcases are so important for her specific college recruiting journey.

What were our goals for attending a girls college hockey showcase?

One of the challenges I struggled with leading up to the weekend, was defining the objectives for the showcase and how would we measure success?  Unlike the USA Hockey district camp we attended last month, where it was clear that the goal for my daughter was to be invited to the 15’s national camp and thus easily measurable (even though it took almost a month to learn the results). For Rochester, this is what we came up with:

  • Initiate scouting coverage by a handful of schools that my daughter has an interest in
  • Ideally, create the beginnings of a relationship with those schools via the on-ice coaching opportunities
  • Get on the radar of other schools. This is a long process and who knows where the best fit(s) may be for my daughter when she gets closer to being able to talk directly with colleges.
  • See what makes the Top 3 2006’s special

Being Proactive – Planning for a Girls College Showcase Weekend

To help with the first goal for the showcase, during the week prior to the event, my daughter sent a handful of emails to coaches who would be in attendance. She let them know why she was interested in their school and invited them to watch her during the weekend. Per NCAA recruiting rules, since my daughter cannot be contacted prior to June 15th, 2022 (at the end of her sophomore year), coaches could not email her back.

As a parent, it is unclear to me how college coaches scout at these events

My first takeaway from the showcase is that I really don’t understand how coaches scout at large showcases and tournaments – from my uninitiated perspective, there are just too many players and games to watch. During my podcast interviews, coaches have told me that while showcases are good to get to know players, they really prefer watching them play real games with their regular season teams. I did see most coaches carrying around the color-coded player lists for each team, many taking notes while coaching from behind the bench and when scouting games.  However, given there were 180 players, I have many questions on how they decide which games to watch, which players to focus on and what they are evaluating. In my upcoming podcasts, I will be sure to dive deep on how coaches collect their information at these types of events with so much going on.

Showcase teams with more “top-program” players had more coaches watching them

Another takeaway from the weekend, is that luck played a role in which team you were on – which then translated into how likely you were to be seen by as many coaches as possible. It is unclear how teams were formed for the event, but it was obvious that some teams had many more players from well-known teams (e.g. Shattuck-St Mary’s, Little Caesars, BK Selects, East Coast Wizards, Chicago Mission) than others. The more “brand-name-team” players on a team’s roster, the more coaches were likely to watch that team play and how often. Some games had what appeared to be a couple of dozen coaches watching from above or along the glass, while for other games I could count the number of non-bench coaches scouting the action on one hand.

For example, there was a game with 20+ players on the ice from those “top programs” playing each other with a full-house of DI coaches, while simultaneously, on a separate rink, there weren’t many coaches watching a game with only 3 “top-program” players.

It’s hard to immediately measure the success for a summer showcase weekend

One of the challenges of the weekend was quantifying some key metrics. Based on discussions with my daughter and from what I was able to observe from the stands, at least half of the six coaches she emailed had watched her play in a game – plus she was able to talk with another targeted coach during one of the skills sessions. In addition, she had direct interactions/conversations with about 8 additional DI coaches during the on-ice practices and games. Of course, it is impossible to know which coaches and how many actually scouted her from off-ice positions, this is something we may only discover sometime in the future. So in the end, measuring success of the weekend is a little opaque and one can only hope that sometime after June 15, 2022 we can see the benefits.

USA Hockey’s Top 2006 Players for 2021

It was great to watch the three 2006’s who were invited directly to the USA Hockey U18 Girls Camp play.  All three were big, strong players and very noticeable when they were on the ice. One of them scored a wonderful goal by powering their way to the net and popping the puck top-shelf over the goalie’s shoulder. It was the prettiest play I saw all weekend.

First Steps in a Long Journey

Overall, for a first DI showcase event, it seemed to be a pretty good start. Clearly, several schools now know who my daughter is and the process has begun. We have three more opportunities for her to be scouted this summer (2021 USA National Development Camp, 2021 NAHA College Showcase and the PIP 702 Vegas) before she returns to her boys team in the fall.

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Development Camp Girl's Showcase

2021 Girls Hockey Event Calendar

2021 Girls Hockey Event Calendar

Here is a list of 2021 Girls Hockey Tournaments, Showcases, Development Camps and Summer Camps.

This is a partial list. Feel free to submit a new event using our Feedback Form.

OrganizationEventDatesLocationCityAges
College Hockey ShowcasesSt. Louis ShowcaseAugust 12-14, 2021Centene Community Ice Arena
College Hockey ShowcasesTop Prospects Hockey SummitAugust 2-6, 2021Gigantium ArenaAalborg, Denmark2011 and Older
College Hockey ShowcasesSweden Girls High Performance CampJuly 19-30, 2021Nyköpings Arenor RosvallaNyköping, Sweden2008 & Older
NAHANAHA COLLEGE SHOWCASEJuly 31-August 1, 2021Boston Sports InstituteWellesley, MA
NCD CampsGIRLS NCD DEVELOPEMNT CAMPJuly 26-28, 2021New England Sports CenterMarlborough, MA
Premier Ice Prospects585 PIP ShowcaseJune 18 - 20, 2021Bill Gray's Regional IceplexRochester, NY2004-2006 Birth Years
Premier Ice ProspectsGIRLS ELITE PROSPECTS CAMPJune 27 - July 1, 2021Bill Gray's Regional IceplexRochester, NY2008 - 2010
Premier Ice Prospects14U PROSPECTS CAMPJune 27 - July 1, 2021Bill Gray's Regional IceplexRochester, NY
Premier Ice ProspectsPROSPECTS GOALIE CAMPJune 27 - July 1, 2022Bill Gray's Regional IceplexRochester, NY
Premier Ice ProspectsPREMIER PROSPECTS COMBINEJuly 8-11, 2021UPMC Sports ComplexCranberry, PA
Premier Ice ProspectsSOUTHERN PROSPECTS CAMPJuly 22-25, 2021Carolina Ice PalaceNorth Charleston, SC12U (2009/2010) & 10U (2011/2012)
Premier Ice Prospects617 PIP SHOWCASE - BOSTON HARBOR STYLEJuly 28 - 29, 2021The Edge Sports CenterBedford, MA2003 - 2005 Birth Years
Premier Ice Prospects702 PIP SHOWCASE - VEGAS STYLEAugust 5 - 8, 2021City National ArenaLas Vegas, NV2004 - 2006 Birth Years
Premier Ice Prospects615 PIP SHOWCASE - MUSIC CITY STYLEAugust 12 - 15, 2021Predators' Ford Ice CenterBellevue, TN2007 - 2008 Birth Years
Premier Ice ProspectsGreat Lakes Girls FestJanuary 29 - 31, 2021Lansing, MI19U through 12U
Premier Ice ProspectsMrs. Hockey® InviteJanuary 29 - February 1, 2021Charleston, SC12U Girls - Tier 1 & Tier 2
Premier Ice ProspectsPIPsJune 25-27, 2021Rochester, NY2007 thru 2010 Birth Years Tier I (AAA)
Premier Ice ProspectsLabor Day Girls FestSeptember 3 - 5, 2021Pittsburgh, PA14U, 16U/17U and 19U Tier I (AAA)/Canadian AA
Premier Ice ProspectsRoc City Girls FestNovember 5 - 7, 2021Rochester, NY19U through 10U Tier I (AAA), Tier II (AA), Tier III (A)
Premier Ice ProspectsBurgh Thanksgiving Girls FestNovemberPittsburgh, PA19U through 10U Tier I (AAA), Tier II (AA), Tier III (A)
Premier Ice ProspectsErie White Out WeekendDecember 17 - 19, 2021Erie, PA12U and 10U Tier I (AAA), Tier II (AA)
RUSH HockeyRUSH COLLEGE SHOWCASEJune 3rd-6th, 2021CAA Centre BramptonBrampton, ON
RUSH HockeyRUSH RISING STARS PRE-COLLEGE SHOWCASEJune 3rd-6th, 2021CAA Centre BramptonBrampton, ON
RUSH HockeyRUSH ATOMIC CHALLENGEJune 4th-6th, 2021CAA Centre BramptonBrampton, ON
RUSH HockeyBEANTOWN CLASSICJuly 16th-18th, 2021New England Sports CenterMarlborough, MA
RUSH HockeyBEANTOWN CLASSICJuly 23rd-25th, 2021New England Sports CenterMarlborough, MA
Showcase Hockey2021 Showdown AAAJune 11-13, 2021Minnesota
200x85 TournamentsCCM CHI-TOWN SHUFFLEJune 11-13, 2021Chicago, ILGirls Tier 1/Tier 2 (12U, 14U, 16U, 19U)
200x85 TournamentsCCM WORLD INVITE BOYS/GIRLS DALLASOctober 9-11, 2021Dallas, TXTier 1 & 2 – G12U, G14U, G16U, G19U
200x85 TournamentsCCM GIRLS WORLD INVITE DETROITNovember 12-14, 2021Detroit, MITier 1 – G12U, G14U, G16U, G19U
200x85 TournamentsCCM GIRLS WINDY CITY ELITE – CHICAGODecember 3-5, 2021Chicago, ILTier 1 – G12U, G14U, G16U, G19U
200x85 TournamentsCCM Girls 68 (14U)August 12-15, 2021Chicago, IL2007 Birthyear
Categories
Development Camp Girl's Showcase

5 Things I Learned Attending Our First Girl’s Showcase

Premier Ice Prospects

This past weekend, my 14 year old daughter and I flew to Rochester, New York to attend the Premier Ice Prospects girls showcase event.  It was the first time my daughter has attended this type of weekend and also her first time playing with girls. Since the whole experience was new to us, I thought I write up some of my learnings for other parents who are also being initiated into the women’s college recruiting process.

During the weekend there were 3 practices and 4 controlled scrimmages (since games are not yet allowed in NY) all run by Division III coaches since there is still a blackout period for Division I coaches, and thus not allowed to attend.  From what I could tell, there were girls from at least 12 different clubs with the biggest presence from the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and the local Selects Academy.

Here is what I learned…

1. College Coaches are Experts at Evaluating Players

I was impressed at how efficiently the coaches were able to get a read on my daughter’s strengths and weaknesses.  From the spectator side of things,  on several occasion I saw one of the coaches giving feedback to my daughter.  When I asked her about what the coaches said, it was pretty consistent with the direction she has previously heard from this past season.  Thus, it became clear to me that over the course of a weekend-long evaluation it would be pretty hard to fool a college coach about what you can and can’t do on the ice.

2. It’s Hard to Compare Players at these Events

One of my hopes for the weekend was to learn how good a hockey player my daughter is.  However, this wasn’t as easy as I thought. Given that the age of high school players in attendance ranged from 14 to 18 years old, in many ways it became a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Especially since I didn’t have a list of names and ages to go with the other participants. For example, there was one girl who I thought was the best defensemen during the weekend. When I asked my daughter about her, she told me she was 18 years old. So it was hard to really compare my daughter to someone almost 4 years older than her. Next time, I would try to get direct feedback from the coaches to see how she rates for her age group.

3. There was a big standard deviation between players

Even though it was hard for me compare my daughter to her direct peer group, I was still able to see big differences between the top players and the weaker players.  Almost all the players had some key strength that was on display, but as I watched more and more shifts it became clearer which girls were able to consistently make good plays and decisions. On the other hand, several struggled create offense or keep the puck out of their net on regular basis.

4. The Importance of U16 vs U19

Binoculars

I got to speak to some coaches at the event, and l didn’t realize the somewhat greater importance on the U16 years over the U19 years with respect to the recruiting process.  Since the Division I conversations starts at the end of a player’s sophomore year they are being watch heavily during their U16 years and in many cases have already committed by the time they play U19.

5. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the girls at the hockey showcase were. As I mentioned earlier, this was the first real time my daughter was playing with other girls. Unlike the boys teams that she has been playing on recently, the positive attitude and sincere effort to create relationships with other players was very noticeable. While still competitive on the ice during play, it was very nice to see the difference in wanting to create personal bonds with other players in between the on-ice activities.

Hopefully these learnings are helpful to other new-to-the process parents like me. I look forward to attending more of these events and accelerate up the learning curve as a hockey parent.