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Champ of the day Champs Girls Hockey Women's Hockey

Today’s Champ of The Day: Annie McDonell

June 10, 2024

Today’s Champ of the Day is Annie McDonell.

Check out Annie McDonell’s Hockey Player Profile here

I am a 200-foot player that is relied on as a strong defender and a go-to on the penalty kill, as well as for creating space and opportunities in the offensive zone. As a two-way centre, I am recognized for both my technical skills (puck control, playmaking), as well as my relentless work ethic and ability to win tough battles in the corners.

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Champ of the day Champs Girls Hockey Women's Hockey

Today’s Champ of The Day: Saige Ruback

June 9, 2024

Today’s Champ of the Day is Saige Ruback.

Check out Saige Ruback’s Hockey Player Profile here

I am passionate about art, nature, learning new things, and growing as both a goalie and a person. I am a dedicated independent learner, who enjoys challenging myself with new goals on and off the ice. I have a growth mindset and I am the hardest worker.

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Champ of the day Champs Girls Hockey Women's Hockey

Today’s Champ of The Day: Sara Martin

June 8, 2024

Today’s Champ of the Day is Sara Martin.

Check out Sara Martin’s Hockey Player Profile here

My strengths as a player are my understanding of the game, puck skills and shot and I’m always working on my skating and foot speed. I’m always the first one to the rink and rarely miss practice or games. I’m also very committed to improving my skills outside of our regular team activities and I attend a hockey specific gym for my workouts. I am also a brown belt in Jiujitsu, play for my school hockey and flag football teams and I love anything to do with being outdoors. I’ve been spending a lot of time golfing with my Dad and brother and I look forward to golf season every year to improve my game!

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Champ of the day Champs Girls Hockey Women's Hockey

Today’s Champ of The Day: Mackenzie Flannigan

June 7, 2024

Today’s Champ of the Day is Mackenzie Flannigan.

Check out Mackenzie Flannigan’s Hockey Player Profile here

I am a 2026, 5’11”, right-handed, defenseman who plays for Belle Tire 16U AAA. I have a powerful shot with a quick release and am consistently put on the power play. I’m patient with the puck and make excellent breakout and stretch passes while under pressure. I’m a hard-working, coachable player and a good teammate.

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Champ of the day Champs Girls Hockey Women's Hockey

Today’s Champ of The Day: Gabriella Hervert

June 6, 2024

Today’s Champ of the Day is Gabriella Hervert.

Check out Gabriella Hervert’s Hockey Player Profile here

As a strong two-way defenseman, I generate scoring chances through puck rushes and shots from the point. My speed and hockey vision enables me to make the first pass, while my strength and stick work protect the puck at the blue line and when defending my own net. Off ice, I’m a dedicated athlete focused on improving my physical strength and conditioning. I value direct coach feedback and have a strong work ethic. Academics is a priority as I understand the importance of education for my future.

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Champ of the day Champs Girls Hockey Women's Hockey

Today’s Champ of The Day: Anna Rioux

June 5, 2024

Today’s Champ of the Day is Anna Rioux.

Check out Anna Rioux’s Hockey Player Profile here

I have played net full time since the age of seven. I appreciate the challenge of playing against the best shooters every time I hit the ice and excel against top talent, posting a GAA of .948 in the last two seasons, while taking over 1,000 shots per season. I’ve been recognized at the Provincial level in Ontario as a top 2008 goaltender. I’m a competitor who can rise in the big moments. I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

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College Hockey Recruiting Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey

Deciding Between NEWHA and Top DIII Women’s Hockey: Factors to Consider

If your choice is between going to a NEWHA team and a top-rated DIII team, you should seriously weigh a number of factors into your decision rather than just being able to say “I play DI hockey”.

Before discussing the inputs to your decision between a NEWHA and a top DIII hockey school, let’s first set some context comparing the NEWHA conference and the top programs in DIII women’s hockey.

A while ago, I interviewed Kerstin Matthews back when she was the Head Coach at St Anselm College and she discussed how her team was really a DII team but played a DI schedule. She also explained how there are some DII and DI schools in the NEWHA. She gives a great explanation on how the NEWHA conference is now able to compete for the NCAA Women’s Hockey National Championship: 

NEWHA Hockey

The NEWHA conference is very competitive and pretty well-balanced. Assumption and Stonehill were added over the past two seasons and they both had some success right away. There hasn’t been a single dominant team in recent years, with different conference champions the past few seasons. So within the NEWHA, players will experience a good level of competition throughout the season. In addition, as the programs mature at the DI level, one would hope that the level of play continues to elevate year-after-year.

However, the reality is that the NEWHA conference as a whole doesn’t fare very well against the rest of the DI women’s teams right now. This past season, the NEWHA Conference went 1-44 in their non-conference games. The one win was a 1-goal mid-week game in early January at the end of Christmas Break by Franklin Pierce against Dartmouth.

It’s great that the winner of the NEWHA Conference gets an automatic spot in the NCAA Women’s College Hockey playoffs. Every conference winner should get a berth. But the numbers show they aren’t even close to having one of the top 11 teams in the country to compete in the NCAA Playoffs.  According to MyHockeyRankings, all 8 NEWHA teams were rated at the bottom of the DI Women’s Hockey rankings this past season. Thus, it is no surprise that the team representing NEWHA in the NCAA Playoffs has been outscored a combined 16-2 in the two games of the opening round the past two seasons.

Note: The NCAA just announced they will move from 11 to 12 teams in their NCAA Women’s DIII Hockey Playoff tournament.

Beyond the level of play, potential recruits should also be factoring in roster size and athletic scholarship money. Half the NEWHA teams had 27 or more rostered players, with Sacred Heart carrying 33 players. Given a maximum of 18 athletic scholarships per program, many student-athletes are paying there own way.  And with a team only able to dress 20 or 21 players per game, several are being healthy scratched each game. 

Do your research on academics

This post doesn’t cover the quality of academics at the schools being discussed because I don’t really know all the details of each school.  However I have heard many times that the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools are top-notch.  The NESCAC includes top rated teams like Amherst, Middlebury, Colby College and Hamilton College. At the same time, every NEWHA and DIII school has disciplines that they are strong in that may line up with a potential recruits intended major. Doing your research and seeing if there is a good match is critical when looking at your options.

All of this should weigh into the decision of playing NEWHA vs high-level DIII.

NEWHA vs. Top DIII Hockey

Let’s now compare the level of hockey between the 8 NEWHA teams and the Top 8 DIII women’s hockey teams this past season.

NEWHA Conference 2023-24 MyHockeyRankings

DIII Women’s Hockey 2023-24 Top 8 MyHockeyRankings

As you can see, the top 8 DIII ratings are very similar to the NEWHA ratings – implying they are comparable in levels of play and would have competitive games between them. This is also likely why you hear some DIII coaches say that they could beat a DI team.

How to decide

Rather than just focusing on just DI vs DIII, the following factors should really be prioritized before making a decision:

  • Academics / Education
  • Cost
  • Potential for individual and team hockey success (winning, playoffs etc.)
  • Cultural fit with team and school
  • Playing Time
  • Being able say “I play(ed) DI hockey”

Depending on your expected role on the team, it seems that all else being equal, the school/academics should be the most important factor in your decision.

At Champs App, we have discussed at length all the attributes to consider when deciding on a women’s college hockey program, but this specific choice of alternatives seems to really highlight the need to figure out your personal priorities and the importance of selecting the right academic opportunity for you.

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Champs App Messaging is the fast, easy way to send error-free messages to coaches. Champs App Messaging cuts the time to send emails to coaches by over 50%, ensures key information is included and reduces common errors because it has templates that automatically populate the coach’s name & email and inserts information from your Champs App profile. Try it now!

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College Hockey Recruiting TOOLS Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey

Introducing…The Champs App Messaging Tool

Champs App Messaging is the fast, easy way to send error-free messages to coaches. 

Champs App Messaging Tool Demo (Desktop Version)

The Champs App Messaging tool ensures the coach’s name, email and school are correct without the need to look online and find each coach’s contact information. 

Email Templates

With the Champs App Messaging tool you can choose from a variety of email templates to send. For example, one template informs coaches about upcoming events or tournaments and another lets a coach know about new videos added to your Champs profile.  Each template automatically populates the message with the coach’s name and school and inserts personal information from your Champs App profile. This way you can be sure the emails does not have an errors.

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Personalize each message further to make it uniquely yours. Experience the convenience of the Champs App Messaging yourself by logging into your Champs App account. Or click here to learn more about how it works.

Introductory Pricing

For a limited time, we are offering the Champs App Messaging tool at a low introductory price for an annual subscription.  As we add more amazing features to the Messaging tool over the coming weeks and months, these new features will be included in your annual subscription. So, get started today by logging into your Champs App account to try out the new Champs App Messaging Tool and easily send error-free emails to coaches. Subscribe today  before the price goes up.

Champs App Messaging Tool Demo (Mobile Version)
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2024 2024 College Hockey Recruiting Girls Hockey USA Hockey Nationals Women's College Hockey Women's Hockey

Part III – USA Hockey Nationals Team Selection & Seedings – Girls U19 Tier I

This is Part III about the analysis of USA Hockey 2024 Nationals Girls Tier I Hockey playoffs taking place in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Here is Part I for U14 and Part II for U16

This analysis look at the teams selected for the Girls Tier I U19 playoffs. Given the importance of being seen at Nationals from recruiting perspective, I examined the at-large team selections and the seedings.

As a reminder: If you are heading to the Tier 2 girls playoffs, you can still be scouted by DI coaches. This week I spoke with a DI coach who will be in East Lansing and will be looking for the top players from smaller regions that can’t easily play for a Tier I team.

Girls 19U Selections

Below you can see the ranking of the 16 teams who will be playing at the 19U Tier I Nationals. The 4 highlighted teams (East Coast Wizards, NAHA, Team Wisconsin and the Connecticut Polar Bears) are the at-large invitations. Unlike other age groups, there is no U19 team from the Northern Plains district – thus the 4th at-large team. Then there is the host team (Florida Alliance) and the other 11 are the district champions.

The USA Hockey 2024 National Guidebook provides the following description for how they decide on the at-large teams and seedings:

Similar to the the U14 Tier 1 at-large Selections, it is unclear why the Minnesota Empowers and Tradition teams are not at-large teams. Maybe they opted out due to the higher priority of the Minnesota High School hockey playoffs. There is a lack of consistency of Minnesota Elite League teams accepting at-large invitations.

As far as the last team to miss the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Pens Elite has a 95.20 rating which is only 0.24 below the last at-large team, the Connecticut Polar Bears. But it seems this is large enough to make the Polar Bears the at-large selection.

Girls 19U Seedings

For the U19 age groups, the seedings do not match the rankings. Shattuck St Mary’s is ranked #1, but seeded #2 behind Bishop Kearney Selects. East Coast Wizards are ranked higher, but seeded lower than the Boston Jr Eagles. And NAHA is ranked higher than the Mid Fairfield Stars, but seeded lower. As described in the USA Hockey Guide above, it is likely a combination of head-to-head and Last 10 Games that were factors in these seedings.

Specifically, BK Selects beat Shattuck in their only game back in October, and but Shattuck still had a much higher rank in their last 10 games (see below). In addition, S-SM has a 0.65 higher rating than BK, which is quite large. So it seems the head-to-head was the primary factor in the flipping of positions. I suspect this will have impact the motivations of both teams should they meet in the playoff round.

The Boston Jr Eagles won the Massachusetts district, so it seems to make sense that they would be higher than the Boston Jr Eagles.

For NAHA and Mid Fairfield, being seeded #8 vs #9 doesn’t really make a material difference, since they will be in the same division. It just impacts the order of games and who is the home team when they play each other. The two teams never played each other during the season, but Mid Fairfield has the higher rating over the last 10 games.

Here are the links to Part I – Tier I Girls 14U and Part II – Tier I Girls 16U


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Let NCAA coaches know you’ll be at Nationals and your game schedule. The Champs App Messaging tool is the fast, easy way to send error-free messages to coaches before and during the event.

You can easily select a coach & email template and the message automatically populates the coach’s info, school and your personal information from your Champs App profile.  Pick the Upcoming Events template and the Messaging tool with magically insert your upcoming games at Nationals into the message.

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