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Get Recruited to Play NCAA College Hockey | Tips & Strategies

  • Getting recruited to an NCAA ice hockey team is no easy task. College ice hockey recruiting is a very competitive process. The level of competition is just as high, if not higher, than other sports in the NCAA. Over 100,000 student-athletes compete in high school ice hockey, yet less than 5% of them will go on to play division 1 ice hockey. The more knowledge aspiring college ice hockey players have going into the college recruiting process, the better the outcome will be for them. Let’s start with some statistics to give you an idea of what the college ice hockey recruiting process looks like.

    As mentioned above, the percentage of high school ice hockey players that go onto play on a D1 college ice hockey team is less than 5%, illustrating the importance of taking the ice hockey recruiting process VERY seriously. The table above also shows the big difference in terms of odds of making a d1 ice hockey roster vs any division ice hockey roster. An in-depth evaluation of your level is an important part of the ice hockey recruiting process.

    The second table above shows the number of teams and players at each level within NCAA ice hockey. Importantly, it also shows the ice hockey scholarship limit at each level. This data shows that much of the roster, even at the D1 ice hockey level, will receive little to no athletic scholarship. This is something important to remember when considering the financial factors involved in college ice hockey recruiting – as academic and financial aid offered by different ice hockey schools may become an important factor for you.

    The statistics above serve to illustrate the competitive nature of the college ice hockey recruiting process. Given this level of competition, it is extremely important to be proactive and make an effective strategy for getting recruited. Below are some important tips to get you started.

    Start Your Ice Hockey Recruiting Early

    The ice hockey recruiting process can begin as early as freshman year for top ice hockey players. For most players the process really begins in your sophomore year and beyond. By this time you should have a year of high school and club play under your belt, and will be one year closer to ice hockey college. You can never begin your process too early as you can start to compile a body of ice hockey work and a network of potential ice hockey coach contacts as well as creating an initial ice hockey college list.

    Allow Fit To Guide Your Ice Hockey Recruiting Process

    Properly evaluating and comparing schools as you navigate the college ice hockey recruiting process is extremely important and can have long term implications on your college experience and outcome. To put things into perspective, the 4-year graduation rate in the US is approximately 40%. This means that you are more likely to add additional years to your degree (or drop out of college) than to graduate in 4 years. In fact, about 39% of students transfer to another college or drop out altogether after freshman year. What is the reason for these statistics? Why is the transfer rate so high and the 4-year graduation rate so low? 

    The answer is generally that many students are making the decision to attend colleges that are not a good fit for them. This is usually the result of a flawed college ice hockey evaluation process that does not consider the correct factors when determining which ice hockey schools to attend, or in other words, which ice hockey colleges are a best fit. 

    You should evaluate NCAA ice hockey colleges based on all of the important athletic, academic, social, geographical and financial factors. For more information, click here.

    Here is a great tool to help you find your best fit ice hockey college: search and filter tool.

    Market Yourself To College Ice Hockey Coaches

    As mentioned above, the process of getting recruited to play ice hockey in college has become very competitive, with a large number of high school hopefuls competing for a limited number of college ice hockey roster spots. One of the most important components of ensuring that your ice hockey recruiting process is a successful one, along with determining which schools are the right fit, is standing out from the pack and getting the attention of college coaches. 

    This involves ‘marketing yourself’ to college ice hockey coaches – presenting them with information that demonstrates your ability and creates interest in you as a potential ice hockey recruit, but doing so in a direct and personal manner. Click here to read more about the 5 key ways that you can communicate effectively with coaches and grab their attention.

    Make Use of Ice Hockey Recruiting Technology AND Guidance

    The rate of technological advancement has changed the way many industries operate and the recruiting industry is no different. Recruiting technology has removed many barriers to acquiring college information and communicating with college coaches. Student-athletes and families can now use technology to find, evaluate and compare any ice hockey colleges in the country. They can then use this technology to send online resumes and highlight reels along with messages to any ice hockey coach in the country, en masse. On the surface this looks very convenient for families. However, without sufficient guidance this technology can easily lead you to the wrong ice hockey college. Read more here.

    Attend Ice Hockey Tournaments, Camps, Showcases

    An important step for any aspiring college ice hockey player is to display their talents across as many platforms as possible. This includes camps, showcases, and tournaments associated with travel teams. Travel teams are a great way for athletes to gain high exposure to college ice hockey coaches just by traveling across states to play. It’s said that ninety percent of coaches cite that travel teams are their primary source for recruiting to high-level programs. The other method of gaining exposure is through attending camps and/or being invited to showcases to perform in front of collegiate coaches. 

    Visit Ice Hockey College Campuses

    One of the final steps in the ice hockey recruiting process is to start visiting the targeted ice hockey colleges of your choice. It’s the most realistic way for an athlete to get the feel for each college individually, as well as the coaching staff of those programs, and the student-life on campus. Visiting the college or university is a great way to get any last-minute questions or any confusion out of the way before making the commitment to a collegiate program. 

    Be sure to follow the links in each section above to read more about how to effectively navigate the college ice hockey recruiting process. 

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