If you've landed on this page, there's a good chance you WANT to find a new hockey team in Europe to play for...
This article will cover that topic exactly......and let you know about how European hockey teams looking for players find them.
If after reading this article, you have the desire to play pro overseas, send us a message here.
Let's get started...
We'll start by using a simple analogy relating the business world to the hockey world in Europe.
In the corporate business world, when a company is looking to hire a new employee, what do they usually do??
First....they use job boards to get the word out about the position.
Businesses also hire new employees through close contacts and warm leads in addition, but it's usually obvious that a company is hiring.
Most even have job openings and a careers page on their company website.
This is NOT the case when it comes to hockey teams looking for new players in Europe.
European hockey teams looking for players (Head Coaches, Sports Managers, and club boards) make decisions about new hires much differently.
In order for you to get your name in front of them, it's important to know how to best speak with them...
Much like a business may require a job candidate to hold a college degree or have X number of years experience, pro hockey clubs in Europe also have certain requirements that they look for in players.
Quick Example: Unless you have had a few cups of coffee in the NHL or possess high-end AHL experience, it's not likely an NLA club will have any interest in you.
Why is that?
The NLA is regarded as one of the premier leagues in Europe, therefore, the level of import they are looking to sign is set at such a high bar.
Luckily, there are many hockey leagues and clubs across Europe which vary in level of play.
We dive into the culture, pay, and landing a team overseas in depth in this article, Pro Hockey In Europe.
So how do European teams find players?
It varies from league to league, but clubs find players through the following ways:
- hockey agents/agencies
- their own scouting
- current players/referrals
Working with a good hockey agency (or agent) in Europe can make all the difference when it comes to you landing a new team.
Reputable agencies have spent years building up relationships with coaches/GM's across a wide spectrum of leagues.
This takes time, but it can make all the difference.
Depending on your playing experience, certain agencies/agents may or may not be the right fit for you.
Say an agency only works with NHL or high end European leagues (KHL, SHL) players for example...
Then it's unlikely they'll work in representing you if you are coming out of say NCAA D3, juniors, or even ACHA.
You don't fit into their wheelhouse for representation. It's nothing personal, it is just reality.
You instead need to find an agency that has experience working with players that are of your caliber and has helped them land a team.
Teams Doing Their Own Scouting
Only the top level leagues in Europe do substantial scouting.
They do this through their own national system. They'll also look for high end players graduating NCAA or have "aged out" of major junior and choose to skip the university route.
Clubs without scouts rely on other means of finding players.
They primarily do this through a combination of:
A) hockey contacts in their immediate network
B) finding players through agents they're comfortable working with
Unless you have a way to get your name in front of clubs, it's going to be impossible for them to even know who you are. That's where we come in.
Another way that European hockey clubs learn about new prospective players is through current players (aka referrals).
When it comes to deciding if a new player may be a good fit for the organization, coaches and general managers that have working relationships with current/former players will trust their judgement.
Since the player referring them has played at that level of hockey, they likely wouldn't refer players to the team who are not capable of playing there.
Over the years, we've intentionally built our agency up, Play Hockey in Europe, to have a solid combination of former players and agents as partners on our team.
This allows us to have and continue building great relationships with a growing number of teams across Europe.
We know well which leagues could best suit a particular player based on their experience and how much hockey players make in Europe.
Finding a Team in Europe Seems Hard
It's the truth....
One of the hardest parts about finding a good new team as a player is that it's extremely hard to know which teams are even looking for new players.
We've been in your shoes before....so we know how it feels.
Are they (the club) looking to sign new imports right now?
Are they interested in a player of my caliber?
Are they looking for younger or older players?
Are they looking for my position?
This along with many other questions are valid ones that go through players heads when you're looking to play in Europe.
We constantly keep a close eye on a wide variety of leagues (and clubs within them) to know where good fits may be for each player.
Having helped players land teams for many years in Europe, we feel we've done this quite well in this and we continue to.
If you're serious about wanting to play hockey in Europe, please send us a message. Let us know what your goals are and we will let you know if we're able to help you.