Making NAHL as a free agent isn't easy, but not impossible. Here are a few pointers I have...
Is the coach showing interest?
- Are you being invited to the Main Camp for like 20-30 bucks or for completely free?
- Is the coach constantly calling or texting you regarding about your whereabouts?
- Some NAHL coaches run their own private skate/ mini-camps in the summer... did you get invited to one of these?
How much do you qualify?/ What you can do.
- Do you play for a powerhouse 18UAAA, US-prep, NCDC, or Canadian Jr A program?
- Increase your chances by doing your homework...
Look on EliteProspects how many forwards are they aging out on their ACTIVE roster.
Look at their tenders... who are they tendering? for example, if they tender a kid from Victory Honda 18's with 70 points, you know his spot is almost guaranteed on the team. But a Na3hl, NAPHL, or 16UAAA tender might not be so guaranteed. So heading into camp, if you're a forward and you see they've tendered 5 forwards but 3 are NAPHL/NA3HL, you might have a better chance with them than a team with 5 tendered forwards from lets say Shattuck or Mission.
Some programs in the NAHL (cough... cough... Anchorage... Shreveport... have better history of taking free agents than others... cough... cough... Northeast... New jersey...)
Call the coach and gauge his interest. Is he asking you all the questions? Is he asking you for film? etc...
- Always compete, even if you are assigned to a shitty team, compete.
- Always be a good teammate. Attitude counts
- Do what you are good at. Not everyone is about points. I know of a local kid playing on a not so good Midget 18UAAA team in the region that made Odessa NAHL last year as a free agent... it was because he portrayed himself as an enforcer and fought successfully every game at camp.
- Do not worry about who else is in camp. You will see players from the USHL, BCHL, AJHL, OJHL, Shattuck, Mount, etc... but some of those players might not even be there to make the team, but for other reasons. (for example, I know of a Dubuque USHL kid who went to Austin camp, just in the case Dubuque cuts him from 38 man roster, but he wasn't trying to make the NAHL team)