Here in Canada, college hockey is a black sheep. The common misconception is that the U-Sports is for those who are done Major Junior, and the NCAA seems to be only for Americans. It is not the normal route for a Canadian kid coming through the minor system to head down south for hockey, but it might just be time to readjust our thinking towards the NCAA. Playing hockey while getting an education is not a bad option, and will give players a fallback in case their pro career does not pan out. Although Junior is still the easiest option for players, here at Roster Point we want to expand your horizons, and that starts with the NCAA.
College hockey is competitive, and often the underutilised route to the NHL for many Canadians. Per collegehockeyinc.com 33% of current NHL players have played college hockey at some point. For the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, 15 of their player had suited up for a college team at some point. This is not insignificant, and it is time for Canadian players to look down south for opportunities.
Further to these stats, the NHL has recently announced funding for D1 NCAA programs in the United States. It will be jointly funded by the NHL and NHLPA and will provide schools looking to go D1 with the money and opportunity to do that. Penn State is the most recent D1 school to make the jump, and the University of Illinois will be the first school under this new program to move into D1 hockey. “This initiative demonstrates the NHL’s support of the growth of men’s and women’s college hockey at the Division I level and we’re looking to incentivize and raise awareness to schools that may be interested in getting a Division I hockey program,” Commissioner Bettman said. “By expanding our footprint of hockey at all levels for elite programs we can inspire new players and parents to join the hockey family.
Now, what does this mean, well in layman’s terms it means that there will be more hockey scholarships available for those who want them. Division 1 schools provide a fully paid tuition for college athletes, so your once ridiculously expensive international tuition is now free. This is not a bad option, and with more and more scouts and GM’s looking at the NCAA for development and prospects, you will be able to make the jump to the next level with ease.
Here at Roster Point, we want to give you the opportunity to play at that next level. As a bantam player, you have a number of options here in Canada, but those are normally limited to Junior hockey. For those ending high school, it is time to look down south, and see what options are available in the NCAA. Roster Point is one of the only hockey recruiting platforms with NCAA teams on it, and we are excited at the possibility of sending more of our players down south as they will pave the way to success on the ice, and in the classroom. See how Roster Point can get you to the next level and sign up today.