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Brandon Convery is a retired NHL’er who played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings. Convery also played for four years in Switzerland and 1 year in Sweden before retiring in 2004. He now offers advice directly to parents and players and owns his own youth hockey consulting business, the Convery Group.
Convery says the top five most important things for jr hockey recruits and youth hockey players to focus on are:
Work ethic and a player’s character are essential. You can’t always control your ice time but you can control how hard you work on and and off the ice. Hard work gets you noticed by coaches and scouts and its hard for a coach not to take notice and reward hard work. Make it easy for a coach to want to play you by working harder than everyone else. Apply that same work ethic to everything you do in life.
A lot of players talk-the-talk but few walk-the-walk by actually doing and focusing on the things they need to, to get better. Often the advice and direction on what you need to do to get better is available from coaches, trainers and mentors. However, without a strong sense of self-discipline to hone your skills and want to get better day in and day out, that guidance is lost. To make it to the next level often means sacrifice including getting up early, eating healthier, study opponents, watching video of opposing teams and truly be a student of the game.
Time management is a huge concern for players. Today there is so much focus on off-ice training, nutrition and even the internet for training. There are equally a huge number of distractions for youth hockey players. If you are staying up watching TV all night, maybe its time to spend and hour working on your hockey goals for that month. Shooting pucks, working on your fitness or mental visualizations. Ask yourself, what are you doing with your time? How can it better be spent to reach your goals? Are you using your to get better and move on to the next level?
Its essential to re-evaluate where you are, what changes need to be made, what things you need to work on to get better. Often coaches, trainers and mentors like Bradon can help with this.
While strong work and ethic is key, you have to committ to it all year long and be paitient. Hard work pays off and hard work often trumps skill. Be smart about your goals, how you want to achieve them and most of all, enjoy what you are doing. It all goes by very quickly.
Convery began his career with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. For the 1991–1992 season Convery scored 40 goals in 44 games. His stellar play caught the eye of NHL scouts and he was drafted in the 1st round, 8th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the1992 NHL Entry Draft. After being drafted Convery returned to the OHL for the majority of the 1992–1993 season and also made his pro debut, appearing in 3 games with the St. John’s Maple Leafs of the AHL.
Following another full season in the OHL, Convery played the 1994–1995 season with St. John’s, scoring 71 points in 76 games. The following season Convery made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs, appearing in 11 games and scoring 7 points. The 1996–1997 season saw Convery play 39 games with the Maple Leafs, a career high. He played the majority of the 1997–1998 season with St. John’s before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks, appearing in 7 games.