In the game of baseball, it was often discussed about a player, “Is he a 5-Tool player?”. They were hard to find. They are still hard to find. It has been long said it has been the same question in the game of hockey.

Today in hockey we think just like baseball, more is required than the 5-Tool player. 6-Tool hockey players are what is now being sought after. With the changing of the game of hockey in so many ways players have changed as well. Players are bigger, stronger, faster, and better conditioned than previous generations.

Scouts, general managers, and coaches are all looking for that special player. The truth is 6-Tool players do not grow on trees. They are hard to find. The difficulty then becomes the process for organizations to determine their needs. Can players with 3 or 4 tools contribute to their team? Not all the tools are comparable from player to player. Can your team be successful with the tools the player has to offer or can the player evolve and improve and have more of the required six tools with development? Bottom line is there is many factors to take into consideration and compare.

“Fill your toolbox with the right tools!
What are the 6-Tools we evaluate when working with prospects?

  1. SKATING – Can the player skate at the next level? Is the player an above average skater at the present level? Speed, agility, edge use, transition is all taken into consideration.
  2. SKILLS – Passing, receiving, stickhandling, puck protection, shooting. Is the skill level exhibited above average at the level? Puck control? Is the player a shooter or passer or both?
  3. COMPETITIVENESS – Does the player give effort in all situations? Does the player go to traffic areas? Does the player win puck battles? Does the player sacrifice for his teammates?
  4. PHYSICALITY – Does the player engage physically as required? Is there hesitation in contact situations? Does he pay the price required?
  5. POSITIONAL PLAY – Does the player exhibit an understanding of offensive and defensive responsibilities and concepts? Is the individual a 200-foot player committed to both sides of the puck in both ends of the rink?
  6. HOCKEY I.Q. – Does the player show hockey intelligence, making easy plays, and exhibiting creativity?

In evaluating players, three criteria are then used to measure and compare each of the 6 tools:

  1. Identification (present-day high end value).
  2. Projection (highest future potential).
  3. Probability (percentage that highest future potential will be realized).

Understand that the 6-Tool player, the one who is above average in all six tools, is of tremendous value and very rare and hard to find.

It is easier to separate players when one player’s tools are much stronger than another’s. The real challenge is when several players have a similar tool set. Character quite often can be the tipping point. Organizations will tell you character is hard to find. Everyone wants good character. Body language on the ice, on the bench, off the ice are all considerations. Low maintenance players are priority over high maintenance individuals and parents. Sometimes your social media activity, negative or positive can also tip the scales.

A few thoughts to consider.

Can my work ethic help enhance my present tools or can I acquire new ones for my “tool box”?

  • Am I being realistic and honest about my abilities?
  • What price am I willing to pay?
  • Do I want to be a pro?
  • Can I act like a pro, or learn to act like a pro?
  • Do I love the game of Hockey?

Hockey can do many things for many people. What you want out of this game is for you to determine. The investment you make now may pay dividends in the future. Control what you can control and do not waste time and energy on the things you cannot control.

The Game of hockey can provide incredible experiences. The investment is not cheap, the dividends can be life changing.

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This article may contain advice, opinions and statements from the writer and the information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the opinion of the author, David Cole of RRi Sports Advisors International dba the RRi Hockey Agency and not necessarily the views of the RRi Sports Advisors International dba the RRi Hockey Agency. The article does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other information provided in the article, or from any other member of RRi Sports Advisors International dba the RRi Hockey Agency.

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