Are you ready for Junior Hockey? This is a question that many young hockey players are never asked, and maybe it is about time to do just that. Are you aware of what the demands that are expected? How do you do on long bus trips? Are you ready to be away from home? These are all questions that need answering, and here at Roster Point, we are going to help you out a little.
The demands of Junior Hockey
Junior Hockey is truly a milestone that many young and old Canadian could only dream of if you are one of the lucky ones to play at the next level, take a deep breath and relax. Most junior players will have this as their normal schedule:
- Wake up, and head to a morning workout. This can be either on ice or off ice, but you will need to work hard to prove that you belong.
- Head to class, you will either be put into a high-performance classroom, or e-learning, but you will need to get your studies done, as there is no time to waste.
- Head to an afternoon practice which will be at least an hour, if not two. Then, depending on the week you will have another hour of film review.
- Finally, head back to your billets for dinner, then off to either study, or help in the community at a local hockey club, or a community service event.
There is not a lot of downtime, but this is what life will be like when you are at the highest levels of junior hockey, are you ready?
Bus Trips… get used to them.
Let’s take the WHL for instance. If you play for the Vancouver Giants, your closest opponent is 2 hours away. Your division includes teams in Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, and Cranbrook, the closest of those teams is Kamloops which is 3 hours way. Then you have to add on the additional prairie road trip, which will include a trip to Brandon… that is over 20 hours away. The bus is going to be your second home, you will live, eat, and sleep on that coach. If your minor hockey did not include a bus, my best advice is to get a great pair of noise cancelling headphones and pick a bus buddy who does not snore.
Home Sickness is a real thing
For most, moving away from home at 17/18 can be tough, but if you are an elite level hockey player you may be moving away from home at 15/16. You will be living with billets, and these great people will become your family. You will be away for holidays, and nothing will compare to your parents cooking. The good thing is you get to experience a new city, make some new great friends, and even better, you get to play the game you love, night in and night out in front of a paying audience.
Junior Hockey isn’t all bad, but you need to be prepared for some of the hardships you will face. It is a gruelling schedule in-season, and when it comes to school, it can be tough to balance everything. You will need to turn to veterans and coaches to help you in times of need, and your billet family is always there for you. Now get out there, and enjoy the bright lights, YOU will absolutely love your time in Junior, and who knows, it might be the next step towards lacing it up professionally.