Is Atom and Peewee too young to get scouted? Not the Right Question to Ask…
In today’s pro-orientated hockey world it has become an all too common occurrence for parents to be concerned with their child’s future hockey career at a young age. In this context, it is logical to wonder if players need to be scouted in Atom or Peewee.
By the time a player gets to their Bantam WHL Draft season or Midget Draft Season in the OHL, there are not a lot of mysteries out there for scouts in the top 100+ players. The fact is that most of those ‘elite’ players have been on the scouting radar since at least Pee Wee.
However, even with this fact in mind, I think that parents should direct their angst towards something more important, the real big picture issue, player development.
Now, that might sound like I’m avoiding the question of the day, but there isn’t enough ‘Big Picture’ thinking going on at any level. What I mean is that young players’ hockey development and future career is a marathon not a sprint.
Yes, there are scouts in the stands in Pee Wee from time to time and most scouts will have an idea of who the next generation of potential stars may be in Atom, but there are so many years still to come before Junior that being ‘seen’ shouldn’t be high on the list of priorities. And even if you weren’t one of those top 100+ previously identified players in Bantam, there is still up to 4 years to ‘get’ noticed before the NHL draft.
Look at the realistic timescale for an Atom Player moving on to being a 1st year Peewee. He has 2 years of Pee Wee and then 2 full years of Bantam before the Bantam Draft in the WHL, that’s 4 years in total (5 years in the OHL). There is so much growing and skills development in this 48+ Month time scale that it’s a waste of time for scouts to spend a lot of resources on in-depth scouting in Atom or Pee Wee. Taking things one step further, post WHL draft, players still have 1 full year of Midget hockey and for 95% of players, 2 full years of Midget hockey development before they are able to even play at the Junior level, let alone be impact junior players. Then it is 2 more years before the NHL Draft and most likely 2-3 years before a player can skate a shift of professional hockey at any level, even the minors.
So we are talking 8-9 years before your son is potentially ready to suit up and earn a pay cheque. How well he develops in those intervening years is really the most important part of the equation.
Playing in well attended international Atom or Pee Wee tournaments may gain your son early exposure, but the time, effort and hard work he puts in during the coming years will dictate his future success or failure, not whether the ‘right’ scout saw him when he was 12 years old.