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Question about making the jump to pro (asking for a friend)

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Old
07-15-2017, 06:57 PM
  #1
oilsands
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Question about making the jump to pro (asking for a friend)

Truly - this question is on behalf of someone else.

They're a mid to late 30s male, play centre, and are of average size. This person is an excellent hockey player and would have easily played major junior in Canada had the chips fallen differently. Currently, they're a/the top player in the top tier of a very large (20-30 divisions) recreational league in a Canadian city of about 500,000 people.

This person regularly plays against active major junior and former NHL/AHL players.

Would it be possible for them to tryout, make, and sign for a professional European team? Is there any precedent for something like this?

Thanks

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07-16-2017, 01:35 AM
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Rookie109
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Not a snowballs chance in Hades man, way too old to begin with. Should have been trying when he was 16-18 tops. I assume you're joking right?

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07-16-2017, 05:16 AM
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puckpilot
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Anything is possible, but you'd have to think its a long shot at best, especially at that age. But hey, there are plenty of players who could play lower level pro hockey, but don't because they can do better for themselves and their families doing something else.

Hey if they want to be the next Gordon Bombay, I'm not going to tell them no.


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07-16-2017, 06:49 AM
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varano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilsands View Post
Truly - this question is on behalf of someone else.

They're a mid to late 30s male, play centre, and are of average size. This person is an excellent hockey player and would have easily played major junior in Canada had the chips fallen differently. Currently, they're a/the top player in the top tier of a very large (20-30 divisions) recreational league in a Canadian city of about 500,000 people.

This person regularly plays against active major junior and former NHL/AHL players.

Would it be possible for them to tryout, make, and sign for a professional European team? Is there any precedent for something like this?

Thanks
Best bet is go to tryouts for an ECHL team. I think most teams do open tryouts.

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07-16-2017, 12:21 PM
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JoeCool16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilsands View Post
Truly - this question is on behalf of someone else.

They're a mid to late 30s male, play centre, and are of average size. This person is an excellent hockey player and would have easily played major junior in Canada had the chips fallen differently. Currently, they're a/the top player in the top tier of a very large (20-30 divisions) recreational league in a Canadian city of about 500,000 people.

This person regularly plays against active major junior and former NHL/AHL players.

Would it be possible for them to tryout, make, and sign for a professional European team? Is there any precedent for something like this?

Thanks
Some European teams have caps on the amount of foreign players per team and wouldn't consider someone so old. I agree that he should go to a tryout for a local semi-pro or pro team. ECHL definitely does do them.

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07-16-2017, 05:54 PM
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StLHokie
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For a 1st league team in Europe? Probably not. But if he has video, a 2nd or 3rd league team may take interest in him if his reel is any good.

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07-17-2017, 06:34 AM
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leftwinger37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varano View Post
Best bet is go to tryouts for an ECHL team. I think most teams do open tryouts.
Most ECHL do host tryouts (AKA "Free Agent Camps"), but they are mostly just a cash grab. They take might take a flyer on one or two players, but those one or two players will either be fresh out of college/junior or have some pro hockey experience already. The ECHL is a developmental league and the older players they carry will be established veterans.

Realistically, senior AAA or a semi-pro league is the ceiling for a player that is that far along in age and did not play college/major junior as long as he has the goods.

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07-17-2017, 07:10 AM
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shoeshine boy
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I have a friend who did this last year. basically he grew up playing in Michigan and some of his high school teammates (who he claims to have been better than) are currently playing AHL. instead of going to junior and minor league hockey route he went to college (I'm not sure if he played in college) and chiropractor school. as he approached 30 he started having regrets that he never played at a pro level so he started working out like a fiend both on and off the ice. he was a really good player when I first met him and actually did get even better through his training.
he went to several ECHL tryouts and some SPHL as well. the best he got was from an SPHL team that basically said, "We don't have a spot for you right now but something might come up later in the season. we'll call you if it does." obviously that call never came. in the end he was 1) too small for a defenseman (he's probably 5' 10") and 2) too old.
minor league hockey is, for the most part about developing young players for the next level. it is not about making some could-have-been's dream come true so that Disney can make a movie out of it (see The Rookie)
if your buddy is serious about though encourage him to give it a go but have realistic expectations.

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07-17-2017, 10:28 AM
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iconoclast22
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At this stage in life that it sounds like this guy is in, it's time to be looking at leagues like the North Peace or Great Lakes Hockey Leagues. Those and some others generally have some good talent with former college/junior/pro in the mix. He is likely not going to earn a paycheck playing pro at this point. The ECHL maybe if this was 1990, but those open tryouts, if they take anybody, they will take a young guy these days. Sometimes the FHL has a few older guys, so maybe if he's willing to spend a few years in the circus, he can make penny's playing there. But for me personally in his situation, I'd go with a high end senior league.

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07-17-2017, 11:19 AM
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at best, with the right contacts he could be an ECHL emergency fill-in for a night or maybe a weekend, but that's gonna be tough without any type of notable experience (hence why I said "right contacts.")

FHL might be an option, Not a good option, but an option nonetheless. I'm just not sure it's worth picking up and relocating to pursue the dream especially at FHL wages.

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07-17-2017, 04:30 PM
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Slats432
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If he is in AB then I would start here http://www.chinookhockeyleague.com/

If he is too good to play there, he could look higher.

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07-18-2017, 09:42 AM
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Beezeral
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unfortunately this isn't baseball where a 30 year old waking up throwing 95 MPH has a shot. Tell your buddy to enjoy high level beer league with former NHL/AHL/college players and don't worry about the past

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07-20-2017, 12:56 PM
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Impossible? No, probable? Eh..it's a long shot. Some Euro leagues have a tier system, elite and premier. At that age group he could look at going to the 2nd tier, but most of the 2nd tier leagues have less import player spots than the elite level. If he is SERIOUS about it, first thing he needs to do is find an agent. Plenty of resources online to find an agency that deals with professional hockey players.

After that he needs to work with his agent at going to combines and getting his resume up. Videos of games, practices, etc. As he goes to combines he will start getting ranked by scouts from the various leagues and his agent can put feelers out. There is a lot of pro hockey in Europe, some good, some great, some so-so.

There's also growing pro hockey in Asia, and they are hungry for north American talent that can bring experience and leadership into the locker room, as most of those leagues are trying to improve the quality of their players. They also have restrictions on import players and as someone with no experience at the pro level you will but up against a lot of retirees trying to play for money.

If he can get a UK passport the EIHL and PIHL in the UK is one place to look, but again, restrictions on import players and if he doesn't have the passport it'll be harder to make the teams.

But again, he needs to talk with an agent. They will get him tryouts and looks, and will actively sell him to pro teams that need players.

ECHL has come a long way and isn't really looking for the over 30 beer leaguer any more, and unless he wants to slum it up in the FHL for $200-300 a week there aren't many options in north America.

Hope that helps.

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07-20-2017, 05:52 PM
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MullerBrotenVerbeek
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there are a ton of garbage "pro" leagues in Europe. Many of them are so called "pro" but won't pay more than maybe lodging and a gym membership, some won't even give you that. I know a guy who was playing 4th or 5th division in Finland and the PLAYERS had to pay to be on the team . FHL pays about 6k/season and he'll probably be expected to throw a lot. Personally, I would rather not get my teeth knocked out and face cut up for a pittance.

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