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 college experience.
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 the coaches.
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.