Updated Dec. 21, 2023
This is the third of 3 posts about where things stand for each position – Goalies, Forwards and Defense – for the incoming classes of 2024 and 2025.
Read Part I of this series here: Navigating the Tight Goalie Market: The Current State of Division I Women’s College Hockey Recruiting for the Class of 2024 & 2025
Read Part II of this series here: Forward Recruits: The Current State of Division I Women’s College Hockey Recruiting for the Class of 2024 & 2025
Women’s DI College Hockey Total Defensive Players & Commits by Year
as of December, 2023
With 44 DI women’s ice hockey teams now in the NCAA, having 88 first-year D is pretty much exactly what you would expect if each team carries an average of 8 defenders on their roster. While there are some puts and takes (e.g. Assumption adding 7 freshmen D and 35 5th year/grad students) the 2023-24 season seemed to be an above-average recruiting class on defense. With the large number of current players with a 5th year of eligibility still available to them, it is likely that the incoming 2024 class will be small than this year’s group of D recruits.
Our current analysis shows that the Class of 2024 already has at least 74 commits – and we are likely missing a few European players from our list. Therefore, there are likely a small handful of spots still open or become available because of the transfer portal, but pretty much it seems the recruiting door for 2024 defenders has pretty much closed.
For the Class of 2025, only ~50 spots have been filled. With Delaware announcing their new DI team starting in the 2025-26 season there should be several spots available for that team. In addition, there are certainly some openings on several other teams and certainly most of the NEWHA schools – with only 4 roster spots publicly announced across those 8 teams.
Women’s DI College Hockey Defense and Commits by School & Year
as of December, 2023
A few quick thoughts:
- Ohio State and Bemidji State only have 6 defenders listed on their roster. Would be interesting to see how they would handle not having 1 or 2 of them for a period of time (injury, playing on national teams). Clearly a F would need to move back to help out, but that would still likely have the team at a disadvantage.
- 11 teams have 9 or more D on their rosters. For players being recruited to schools with such large rosters, they need to seriously consider the implications of being healthy scratched if they aren’t clearly in the top 6.
- The next post will analyze the overall rosters of DI teams – including showing how many players each school has. There is a pretty big range in roster sizes (from 20 – 33 players).