The National Collegiate Athletic Association Hockey champions The Denver Pioneers. The teams 8th time winning the tournament. Now closing the gap to just 1 win between the record holders Michigan.
But does the college depend on fresh players? Or is it the players who choose the college?
Just after the NHL Draft can we also see a correlation between school and draft? Or are we in a new era of hockey, with drafts coming from France and record amounts from Scandinavia.
This years NHL first-round draft saw 11 college players make their way up to the Major league! A record tying feat.
The top of this list Cale Makar found himself as fourth choice overall being picked up by the Colorado Avalanches.
On the second day, however, only seven players with college affiliations were drafter out of the 50. Topping this list were two recruits from the University of Notre Dame.
Andrew Peeke (pictured right) was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets at 34th place. Following soon after was fellow classmate Cameron Morrison picked up by Colorado.
But is it Notre Dame’s Hockey that is creating these top players? Peeke stated that the reason for choosing Notre Dame was based on academics, stating that academics are “very important” to him.
Other picks from the second day were Boston Universities Chad Krys being selected at 45th position. Minnesota’s Ryan Lindgren at 49th position picked by the Montreal Canadians. Wade Allison, picked up at 52nd position by the Philadelphia Flyers, and future Harvard freshman Adam Fox, chosen at 66th position by Calgary Flames.
Here we see the schools of the NCAA and their 2017 final positions. Denver taking the top position, whilst other big names Minnesota, Harvard, Notre Dame, and Boston all find themselves at the top, year after year.
So are the future of major league hockey choosing schools based upon their Hockey? The schools themselves are ranked based upon academic success, with SAT scores in the 1300’s as well as the athletic capabilities of the team. So regardless of future ambition on the ice, the youth heading into college already require a strong head on their shoulders to find themselves standing a chance of reaching the big leagues.
Establishments like UND (University of North Dakota) ranking top within the state have found themselves within the NCAA 30 times and in the frozen-four 21 times. Outside of Hockey, establishments such as UND specialise in Engineering, Nursing, and Psychology. Ambitious students will find themselves having to balance their GPA with hockey to make sure they stand the best chance both off and on the ice of securing a successful future. Either way individuals finding themselves at such establishments will not be leaving dissatisfied.
We have already seen the big dogs of the league, but what if other schools want to stand a chance of creating a programme for students to compete in college hockey?
Well! The NHL and NHLPA have created a fund for schools to decide whether they wish to add hockey to their establishments.
The first of which to take advantage of this will be Illinois.
With the rise of interest in Hockey within Chicago and St.Louis, The university of Illinois will be a great addition for college hockey. Director of athletics Josh Whitman stated that “Varsity hockey has a great appeal”.
Illinois also creates the most division one players out of any state that doesn’t have a team.
In the last 5 years, division one hockey has added two programs. Both of which were made possible by large donation. Penn State added both a men’s and women’s team in 2012 with funding of over $100 million. Arizona State joined the ranks also, forming a men’s team in 2015 with a backing of $32 million.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that the “NCAA develops top class players” and that expanding the number of schools capable of taking part is a “no-brainer”.
But is this a shift towards securing Americas future as the main producer of talent within the major leagues? Or will we now see more students from overseas coming to American schools to stand a chance of taking part within the NCAA?
What are your thoughts?
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