Many top NHL coaches and scouts were interviewed to determine in their opinion what was “most important” for a player to make it in the National Hockey League. The scouts and coaches were asked to reveal what they looked for when drafting players.

“Desire”, “determination”, “attitude”, “heart and self motivation” were most often mentioned as the critical ingredients, which tilt the balance between making it to the National Hockey League.

Young players often lack confidence something that sometimes a few encouraging words or 30 seconds of private conversation can trigger that little spark to instill confidence, that changes attitudes and promotes determination and desire. Often it all seems to be intertwined.

When competing at high levels of competition even as youngsters a commitment is required that is substantial. Young players need to be aware that hockey will need to become a healthy priority, a personal pride issue, a constant challenge to improve as a player and as a person.

It is a privilege for our young athletes to compete at the highest levels possible. Statistically speaking with the number of young players playing worldwide today it becomes quite an accomplishment for a young player to make it to the “AAA” and “AA” levels in Canada, the USA and Europe great hockey playing nations in the world.

Naturally then the sense of accomplishment for a young man to make it to the National Hockey League or a young lady to play for her country must be incredible. The very process of desire, determination, attitude, heart, and self-motivation now becomes the player’s mode of survival. One of the truly inspirational draft stories proves one man’s desire to compete. Bobby Clark was drafted from the Flin Flon Bombers of the Western Hockey League to the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. Clark was a second-round pick behind a first rounder that was a bigger, stronger, player that could skate and shoot better. The first rounder was cut….. he never had a heart for the game.

Clark made the Flyers club and quickly became their leader on and of the ice. Clark had heart……still does. The former General Manager of one of the National Hockey League’s most successful franchises, Clark would sacrifice whatever it took to win.

Clark worked hard at practice everyday and never took a night off when it came game time. It is said that for a little guy Bobby Clark had a huge heart! In conclusion at the end of the day the player with the biggest heart is the one you want wearing your jersey.

Below are some additional qualities to think about and if they apply to you the hockey player. These are qualities that worked for Bobby Clark. I am sure possessing all or some of the qualities mentioned will help you become the player that teams will desire.

Determination will come from within. Will I stay on track when it is tempting or easy to travel a different road? Do I want to be part of the bigger picture as it relates to my team or my career? Do I really believe I can do what I am setting out to do? How bad do I want this? Passion can overcome obstacles. Do I really love the game enough to pay such a heavy price for the possibility at the end of the road? Can I live without the game of hockey?

Hustle can overcome many shortcomings. Do I understand that if I outwork the more skilled guy at every opportunity, I will have the edge? If I outwork my teammates and the opposition good things will happen. Is it true that hustle and determination overcome skill and laziness every time?

Discipline reveals the level of commitment to the cause. Will I make my contribution to my development, my small part to hold up my end of the deal to help my team be successful? So, do I want to be a strong link in the chain or the weakest link in the chain because I lack discipline?

Leadership may be the most difficult trait to find today. Finding leaders is a difficult task. Creating leaders in a short amount of time are equally difficult and almost impossible to create between training camp and the regular season opener. Can I be a leader?

Sacrifice is a quality that can run at a shortage if players are not prepared to pay a price. Abiding by team rules. Putting the team ahead of one’s self. Blocking a shot in a tie game. Winning puck battles all over the ice. Going to dirty areas on the ice to do the jobs no one else wants to do. Just a few examples of sacrifice. Can I make sacrifices?

Character is the first thing most coaches and scouts look for when recruiting quality players. Character will most likely be a deciding factor that will determine you getting an opportunity to play on a team at the next level. Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking.
“all it takes is all you’ve got, nothing more nothing less”

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