Every year, there are nearly 36,000 high school athletes that play Men’s Ice Hockey. Of those participants, only about 4,000 will make it to the next level to play in college. Do you think you have what it takes to be apart of the whopping 11% of athletes?
Don’t Jump at the First Offer
There are 150 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey teams across the country between the Division I, II, and III levels. That being said, you will have the opportunity to talk to multiple coaches, and in some cases, have multiple offers. Don’t jump at the first one! As tempting as it may be, keeping your options open will end up working to your benefit. It is important to take your time and to weigh all your options.
Take School Seriously
Of those 150 NCAA teams that you can choose, some are ranked higher in academics than others. You want to give yourself the best options, so keeping your grades up in high school will help you expand your horizons. In most cases, it doesn’t matter if you are the best ice hockey player in the country; if you don’t have the grades, coaches are less likely to take the risk on you. Maintaining your grades is especially important once you get to college because the NCAA has specific academic eligibility rules. As of 2016, if you don’t maintain at least a 2.3 GPA, you won’t be eligible to play!
Start Looking For a Junior League Team
Getting recruited to play ice hockey is very different than any other sport. More often than not, you’re going to have to play on a junior league team before college coaches start looking at you. Most NCAA hockey teams are located between the Midwest and Northeast regions, so finding a junior hockey team within these parameters will give you a higher chance of being scouted by coaches. Also, playing for a junior hockey team will give you more experience and give you the chance to add footage to your highlight tape to send to coaches that may be unable to see you play in person. Highlight tapes (we recommend Hudl as a resource) are equally important for this reason and will give you a leg up in the recruiting process. As stated by Matt Mueller, Director of On-Campus Recruiting at Michigan State, “A well-done highlight with the proper amount of plays can make or break recruitment.”
Know the Rules
As mentioned above, recruiting for college ice hockey is different than most other sports. Specifically, the NCAA has different eligibility rules for this sport. The NCAA won’t start taking away years of eligibility until after your 21st birthday, so you have plenty of time after graduating high school to join a junior hockey team before rushing to play in college.
Watch Your Social Media
This tip has become increasingly more important as our lives continue to revolve around technology. Although some coaches will say what you put on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., doesn’t correlate to you getting recruited, most coaches will disagree. Instead of taking the risk, play it safe. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. You’re selling yourself as a player and as a person; you want to give potential coaches the best possible impression of yourself. USA Today posted an article earlier in the year on this subject. It provided the example of how a “Division I program in NC stopped recruiting a QB because its recruiting coordinator thought it was excessive for a player to post 16 times a day on social media.” Nothing is ever private, and people are always watching. Don’t let social media hold you back from playing at your dream school!