Ice hockey is fairly limited sport in college athletics. There are only 136 men’s and 84 women’s college ice hockey programs in the United States. And most of these are located in the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions. If you are serious about finding an opportunity to compete in college hockey, these will have to be the regions you focus on when you start looking for schools.
Ice hockey is different from many other college sports, not just in the limited number or programs, but in recruiting as well. Unlike most other sports, it is not unusual for ice hockey players to play a couple of years of Junior A League Hockey before being able to earn a scholarship for college.
That is why it is important for ice hockey players to start their recruiting before they start their Junior League careers. College coaches will want to hear from the athlete as they prepare to start their tour in the Junior League. That way, the college coach can follow the athlete’s progress throughout their time in the Junior League. This is their way of evaluating the athlete for a possible scholarship.
Here are some great hockey-specific recruiting tips to help you through the process:
In order for college coaches to have an accurate evaluation of your skills and potential in college, they will want to follow your progress even before you start playing in the Junior Leagues. You might think that it doesn’t make sense to contact college coaches so far in advance, but coaches are used to following athletes for multiple years. The evaluation of hockey players is an important part of their program and college ice hockey recruiting has the special circumstances it needs to allow this.
For many ice hockey athletes, they find themselves away from traditional high school classes since they end up touring and playing the Junior Leagues before they graduate high school. Many of these athletes will take online classes or homeschooled programs to finish their degree. It is very important not to slack on completing your high school education. College coaches are looking not only for strong athletes but for strong students as well. Having good grades and test scores can improve your chances of finding a scholarship.
Stay in Contact With College Coaches
If you start playing in the Junior Leagues, it will be crucial for your recruitment to stay in contact with the college coaches that you reached out to. In order to be able to follow your progress, make it as easy as possible for them. Send them updates on your schedule whenever there are changes or extensions. You should also be sure to send them your up-to-date stats on your recent games.