How to Get Recruited for College Hockey
This lead question is kind of like asking, How do I get to Carnegie Hall? The punchline to the joke of course
is, "Practice." With lots of hockey play and practice, and achievement in youth, junior amateur, and high school
hockey leagues, a player might get noticed and recruited for college play. Or using a little initiative,
reaching out to college coaches might get the college hockey program to take an interest in the player.
The prizes worth pursuing and attaining in college hockey play include fun training on a college team with
other top-tier hockey players; enjoying collegiate hockey competition and the team and league traditions; travel
to other schools; camaraderie, pride, and friendship that come with being part of a college team—and
perhaps a partial or full scholarship to the school. Research shows that National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA) D1 hockey teams invest about $30 million in scholarships each year. So a player's hockey
talent could help pay for their undergraduate aspirations.
College level talent is generally noticed in and recruited from high school hockey leagues. Some players may
opt for Junior A hockey to prepare for college, or a college hockey coach may recommend that. It's up to the
players and their parents or guardians. Depending on a player's expectations, Junior A or Amateur Athletic
Association (AAU) ice hockey may be the best preparation for NCAA D1 hockey competition, and statistics show
that NCAA D1 schools send more players to the NHL than all of Europe. So there's that.
College Coaches Find Hockey Talent
It's the job of college hockey coaches to scout and recruit talented collegiate players. Coaches often say, "If
you're good, we'll find you." But the more you can do to showcase a player's talent, the better the chances of a
When you feel a player is ready to show their stuff, you can contact coaches directly. As long as you initiate
the contact with college hockey coaches, the player doesn't risk losing NCAA amateur eligibility. Some
show-and-tell with videos or photos will help. Nowadays, recruiting often begins online so consider building a
website on player achievements and video links to highlights. You can make a coach's job a little easier by
showing what the player can do.
In addition to participation in whatever league play is available in your area—and playing Junior A
hockey is often important in leagues such as Western States Hockey League, United States Hockey League, Eastern
Hockey League, Atlantic Hockey League, and others—there are tryouts for a Selects Development Hockey team.
One summer camp in this program in Rochester, NY, focuses on hockey skills development and instruction from NCAA
D1 and NHL scouts and personnel. Other related camps are held in New England, the Mid-Atlantic Region, and
Rochester or Buffalo, NY. Visit Selects Hockey
Development to find the options and learn more. The same as most camps, a player fee is required.
NCAA Hockey Eligibility Rules
According to NCAA rules, college hockey coaches can't initiate contact with prospective college players until
January of 10th grade (sophomore year) in high school; however, the player or player's family can reach out to
Players and families should be aware of eligibility rules governing tryouts for minor league teams such as
those in the Eastern Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Players can attend one expense-paid visit for 48 hours and
still be amateurs. The player must leave after the 48 hours is up, or risk losing their NCAA eligibility. Visit
College Hockey, Inc., to learn more.
Which brings up college hockey recruiting websites: you can find lots of information online—check out the
FAQs and ins and outs of recruiting. If the player aspires to college hockey, signing a contract with a minor
league team forfeits NCAA eligibility. Check into the rules covering any contact with professional teams.
Enjoy the college hockey recruiting process, and the interaction with NCAA teams and coaches, where you'll find
folks sharing a pure love of hockey.