The Florida Eels success over the past 15 years is a result of relentless recruiting, phenomenal training and development of its players, and the advancement of over 250 players to college hockey.
The recruiting does not happen overnight. Nor does it take a few trips to a couple of showcases. To the contrary, it involves a systematic approach that involves travel and scouting to over a dozen showcase venues:
The Americas Showcase in St. Louis in April (550 players)
A trip to Montreal in April (200 players)
A trip to Boston in May USPHL Spring Showcase (3 Eels teams 60 prospects and another 300+ other players)
The Pro-Am Pre-Draft Showcase in Foxboro Ma in May (3 Eels teams 60 players and over 1,000 players)
A trip to the Cali Showcase in April Los Angelis CA (150 players)
A trip to Global Vancouver in May (300 players)
A trip to CCM Denver May (550 players)
A Trip to Global Chicago June (250 players
A Trip to Vegas Global Las Vegas June (550 players)
A Trip in June-July to Slovakia Czech Republic Austria Germany Russia Sweden (400 players)
A trip to Andover Mass July IHC NCDC Camp (200 players)
A Trip to Marlboro Mass In July USPHL Summer Showcase (300 players) A Trip to Pro Am Sr Chowder Cup July 2 Eels teams 40 players and 1,500 other players)
Scouts present at NAHL Camps (800 players)
A Trip to (NCDC Combine Chicago July (150 players)
and a trip to Toronto in August
Yes quite a few players and over 1000 hours of travel scouting and recruiting over 15 events with over 45000 players. Now that is effort perseverance dedication and determination. As often quoted the Eels coaching staff and GM leave no stone unturned. We are not looking for any player or players. We are looking for the same kind of player that shares our values. One with skill of course but much more. One with heart determination willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the team. One who will abstain from vices. One who understands our common goal One who has an undeniable and emphatic goal to train harder than the rent to put in the hours and then some. A player destined and determined to win a National championship
One who understands our mission is to develop to be the best college player. Do all of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. To train equally hard off ice in the gym to give the extra efforts in preparing for SAT ACT and Tofel classes to score the highest he possibly can. That does not mean as a secondary effort. No way to train and practice those test every day be it one hour, two hours and in many cases 3 hours.
No, it is not easy to fit into this bill. That is ok. Not everyone has this drive, and, in many cases, they do not want to make these sacrifices. They have different goals and missions. But they are not in our radar. We demand the extra effort in everything we do. That is why our players study on the road when we travel. Sure, it is taxing but in the end our players reap the benefits of their labors.
Character to the Eels GM is so paramount. College coaches often say “we know he can play hockey, Frank, how is his character…what is he like off the ice… in the locker room and when we are not around? “To college coaches this is a key ingredient in their recruiting, and it is equally important and critical to the Eels. What people don’t realize is the Eels staff attends all these showcases to discern and look critically at their selection and recruitment. You see it is funny. So many other junior coaches just take who ever will sign with them and let the chips fall where they do so to speak... Not with the Eels. Oh no. We have in our collection of prospects so many players we do not want. These are the problem players, the players who are selfish and hell bent on not doing the right things. We want those special guys - the guys that fit into our mold. This is why our Eels teams have been so strong not just in the scoreboard or advancing to nationals. It goes far beyond. Yes, it goes way beyond skating shooting and scoring. Those elements don’t make up a team. They make up individuals. We know what the college coaches are looking for and we build our program around those ideals. The key stat is college advancement and we do it best. 250 and counting.