Men’s hockey can be found on college campuses throughout the Northeast and upper Midwest regions. These programs attract top talent from all three USA junior hockey league tiers, but it takes more than just being an elite talent at the junior hockey level to get recruited for college hockey. College coaches recruit student-athletes who are talented on the ice and in the classroom, demonstrating a drive to be successful athletically and academically.
To separate themselves from the crowd, student-athletes should focus on building out their recruiting profile, creating a highlight video, contacting college coaches, competing in tournaments and attending prospect camps. Once communication is permitted between college coaches and student-athletes, recruits will also need to focus on maintaining clear and timely communication with coaches at their prospective schools.
It’s also important for student-athletes to familiarize themselves with the NCAA, NAIA and ACHA rules and calendar that regulate the college recruiting process. To help student-athletes navigate all of the moving parts during the recruiting process, we’ve created an all-encompassing guide to men’s college hockey recruiting.
Over the years, the NCAA has established recruiting rules and a calendar that serves as a guide to the college recruiting process. These rules dictate when the college recruiting process starts and how college coaches can recruit student-athletes. But it’s important for student-athletes and their families to understand that the recruiting process starts long before college coaches can contact them. In this section, we outline the NCAA recruiting rules and discuss what student-athletes should be doing to get recruited by college coaches before the official start of the recruiting process.
View the NCAA recruiting rules and calendar for men’s college hockey.
If junior and high school hockey seem challenging, just imagine what it takes to play at the collegiate level. Student-athletes with aspirations to play for an NCAA men’s hockey program must be able to adapt quickly to the many changes that come with the transition from junior and high school hockey to college hockey. This includes an increase in training hours, a busy schedule of home and away games and the added pressure of competing for a scholarship. While adjusting to their changing athletic schedule, student-athletes must also manage their academics, especially those on academic scholarships.
To find out if a recruit is cut out for men’s college hockey, visit our section on the recruiting guidelines to learn what college coaches look for during the recruiting process.
View position-specific recruiting guidelines for men’s college hockey.
Hockey athletic scholarships are available at the NCAA Division 1 and 2 levels. As an equivalency sport, hockey coaches control a pool of scholarship money that they can award however they see fit to recruits and current roster players. The NCAA allows Division 1 programs to award a maximum scholarship limit of 18 full-ride equivalents per team, while Division 2 programs are given a maximum scholarship limit of 13 full-ride equivalent scholarships. Fully funded hockey programs have the flexibility to award full-ride and partial scholarships, while programs that are not fully funded are more likely to award only partial scholarships. While college coaches will award full rides to USHL junior ice hockey athletes, it’s more common for them to award partial scholarships as a way to make the most of their scholarship budget.
NCAA Division 3 hockey programs are unable to award athletic scholarships. Instead, student-athletes can receive merit-based scholarships if they meet the school’s academic standards, such as ACT/SAT test score and/or GPA requirements. In this section, we go into more detail about men’s college hockey scholarships.
Learn more about NCAA hockey scholarship opportunities.
It takes more than just athletic talent to get recruited for men’s hockey at an NCAA school. As one of the smaller NCAA sports, college coaches are selective in the recruiting process. NCAA hockey coaches focus their recruiting efforts primarily on student-athletes who compete for a USA junior hockey league. But just because a student-athlete plays for a junior hockey league, doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to be noticed and recruited by college coaches.
If a recruit wants to continue their hockey career at the collegiate level, they need to properly market themselves by building a recruiting profile, creating a highlight video and reaching out to college coaches at their prospective schools to express interest in the program. Athletes will also need to stay on top of the NCAA academic eligibility requirements throughout high school to ensure they are eligible to compete if they are recruited by a college program.
Learn how to get recruited to play for one of the more than 150 four-year institutions with men’s hockey programs in our section on how to get recruited.
Learn more about the men’s college hockey recruiting process.
If you’re competing in a USA junior hockey league, you’re likely in 40+ games each season, but college coaches only attend a small percentage of hockey games to evaluate and recruit student-athletes. The best way to ensure that a college coach has the opportunity to evaluate a recruit’s talent is to create a highlight video. This video serves as a tool for college coaches to evaluate an athlete’s skillset from the comfort of their office on their own time. If the coach likes what they see, the recruit just might make it onto their list of prospective athletes.
Creating a strong highlight video starts with capturing good footage and editing the content to span no more than four minutes. What should kind of footage should a recruiting video include? In this section, we outline each step to help student-athletes create a strong and attention-grabbing recruiting video.
View our tips for creating an effective hockey recruiting video.
Ever attend a hockey combine or tournament and notice college coaches in the crowd? These are popular recruiting events for college coaches and they serve as one of the easiest ways for recruits to gain exposure and access to coaches. Finding the right event involves some research and, at times, willingness to travel outside of the recruit’s region. In this section, we discuss the differences between the various hockey recruiting events and provide a list of camps in your region.
Student-athletes have the option of more than 150 NCAA men’s hockey programs at four-year institutions located throughout the Northeast and upper Midwest regions. To find the right college match, student-athletes and their families should focus on finding a school that meets their athletic, academic, social and financial needs. What’s the best way to approach the college search process? We suggest starting with NCSA’s list of top ranked men’s hockey colleges. This section provides a list of the best hockey colleges across the NCAA division levels, NAIA and ACHA.
View the complete list of hockey colleges.
While NCSA aims to provide the best recruiting guide from men’s hockey, there are many resources that recruits and their families can turn to during the college recruiting process. Websites such as USA Hockey and College Hockey Inc. are filled with advice and helpful tips to guide recruits through this overwhelming process. For men’s college hockey rankings, student-athletes are encouraged to visit the NCSA’s Power Rankings and the NCAA’s website.
NCSA’s Power Rankings analyzes schools with men’s hockey programs based on decision-making factors that are important to prospective students, including location, size, cost and academics, to create a list of the top athletic programs in the U.S. Using resources, such as U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges, 2017 IPEDS graduation rates and 2017 IPEDS institutional net cost, NCSA helps recruits find the right college match for them.
View the NCSA’s Power Rankings of the Best Men’s Hockey Colleges.
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.