What Do Hockey Scouts Look For?

There are many good hockey players around the nation, but it takes the judgment of one hockey scout to make a difference in a future sporting career. 

Scouting is a very important part of many sports, including hockey.

Hockey scouts filter out the competition, deciding which players have the skills and the potential to become the best hockey stars later on.

Lots of hockey enthusiasts dream about being scouted, but unfortunately, the chances of this occurring are slim.

If you want to be scouted, you need to develop key skills that scouts will be looking for during matches. 

We’ll cover these skills in more detail below. Practice developing these abilities as much as you can, and with a little luck, your dream of being scouted might just come true. 

Developed Hockey Sense

Once the skill level of hockey goes up, the time that’s open to making a play decreases.

In lower skill sets and age classes, players might have several seconds to judge the session and decide on what tactics to play. 

This changes in the NHL, as important decisions need to occur within split seconds. Players at this level have developed impressive reaction times.

If you want to be scouted, you’ll need to play at a stage where you can make lightning-quick decisions. 

Hockey sense is one of the main skills that hockey scouts search for. This involves how well a player can judge everything occurring during the game, as well as predict what might occur later on.

Players with good hockey sense will be conscious of the game’s condition, and will be able to make quick decisions about the next tactics. 

Players can develop their hockey sense by playing and practicing hockey as much as they can.

If you already do this a lot, another good way to grow your senses is by watching your own games from the past, as well as older NHL games.

Look at all the players on the ice and try and predict any possible opportunities for good tactics. 

Passing Hard And Forcefully

A side effect of playing hockey at a higher level is that opponents can intercept any slower, feeble passes. Moving up levels in hockey involves passing the puck quickly and forcefully. 

If you’re passing the puck, you’ll be aiming to send the puck to the best location, without the other team intercepting the puck.

The best way to avoid the opposing team getting the puck is by delivering accurate, hard passes. 

Another important factor is being unselfish while passing the puck. If you have the chance to score, but someone else has a better chance of making the shot, pass the puck to your teammate. 

It’s important to value teamwork and be prepared to forgo the possible glory and excitement of scoring a goal when required. 

Shooting Skills

An Ice Hockey Player In A Red Jersey Handles The Puck Towards The Goalie On The Opposing Team While The Goalie Prepares To Defend His Net
Goalie Prepares To Defend His Net

All aspiring hockey players will need to know how to shoot and score, unless you want to be a goalie. Hockey scouts will carefully assess every player's shooting skills to decide if they’re ready for the professional stage. 

Shooting well involves two main elements, precision, and speed. 

As is the case with passing well as mentioned above, it’s better to shoot quickly in hockey. If a shot is quick, the other team is less likely to intercept or block the puck.

There’s also less chance of the goalie saving the puck if it comes at them forcefully. 

A fast shot doesn’t just involve the puck traveling quickly once it’s let go, but how quick the actual release is.

The quicker the puck comes into contact with your stick’s blade, the quicker it will leave it. This gives you a greater chance of scoring as your opponents won’t have enough time to react. 

However, shooting fast won’t do any good if you continuously miss the net. You need to work on your accuracy as well as your speed, so practice shooting from different positions and around obstacles to work on this skill. 

Body Checking

Body checking is a significant skill within hockey, as it occurs more often as the skill level goes up.

Scouts will be looking at how many times a player body checks, and if that individual follows through with the check. 

These are important as good body checks will take an opponent from the play for a couple of seconds. This amount of time is all you need to change the outcome of the game, either through scoring or defending your goal. 

It’s best to aim body checks to the middle of an opponent's frame, as this will be where their center of gravity lies.

Successfully hitting someone’s center of gravity will theoretically affect their balance.

This gives you more chances of knocking them down and removing them from the game for a longer period. 

Defensive Skills

The last skill that scouts will be looking out for is how capable a player is with defensive skills.

Lots of aspiring hockey players concentrate on attacking. This is understandable, as scoring more goals is how you win in hockey.

However, solely focusing on attacking play won't do you any good if the other team shoots more goals than yours. 

It doesn’t matter which position a player is in, scouts will be looking out for individuals who have a great perception of when they should take on defensive play. 

One way of doing this is by how players act without the puck. Some players will slowly move towards the action, while others will be predicting how the play will go, then work to move into a better place. 

Scouts will also see how individuals use the room around to ward off players from the other team.

Players only have a few feet of space around them, which is why it’s so important to use this space as a defensive area.

If you’re prepared to use your body space to prevent opponents from getting the advantage, you’ll have a greater chance of attracting a scout’s attention. 

The Bottom Line 

Now you know the main skills you will need to attract a hockey scout, you’ll need to spend more time practicing.

Work on passing and shooting fast, developing your hockey sense, body checks, and your defensive skills. 

Remember that these skills are nothing without classic athlete qualities, like drive, ambition, and a great work ethic.

Nevertheless, working on the skills above will give you a better chance of making it in the world of hockey.