Just how tough is it to reach the NHL? – ABC News – ABC News

It has been well-documented that when Little Johnny begins his minor hockey career, his family has a better chance of winning the Powerball or 6-49 lotteries than he does of becoming an NHL player.

Let’s fast forward to about a decade later, then. By this time, Little Johnny has become an elite player in his age group and he’s either playing major junior or college hockey or he’s attracting some serious interest from one or both of them. Well now, you’d think, the odds of him cashing in on a career in the best league in the world would have just gone up astronomically.

Wrong again.

Actually, once a kid makes it to that level, he has somewhere in the neighborhood of a five percent chance of playing in the NHL. All of which not only underlines how incredibly difficult it is to play in the NHL and how talented a player has to be to do so, but it should also be a wakeup call for anyone who thinks their kid is going to be the one to beat the odds.

Both juniors and colleges — who are competing in a sometimes rather unseemly battle for the hearts and minds of the best teenage hockey players — can be a little like snake oil salesmen when it comes to recruiting players. Both sides will be quick to claim that a player’s best career path goes through their programs.

What they often don’t tell players is that in junior, they might wake up one morning to find out they’ve just been traded to Owen Sound or in college, that if they don’t perform on the ice as expected, their full scholarship can be taken away from them.

A recent examination of all the rosters of the major junior leagues and U.S. colleges from the 1988-89 season

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