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The Current State of Goalie Recruiting for DI Women’s College Hockey

The Current State of Recruiting for DI Women’s College Hockey Forwards
The Current State of Recruiting for DI Women’s College Hockey Defense

Updated January 18, 2023

We receive a lot of questions and comments about the recent Goalie recruiting classes for DI women’s college hockey teams. Almost all of them related to how tough it is has been for 2023 and especially 2024 goalies to find DI opportunities.

Recently I compiled all the roster information for goalies from current DI women’s hockey team websites and combined them with the latest public women’s college hockey commitment data to try and makes sense of the what and why it seems so tough for goalies right now.

Due to Covid, players who started playing in 2018 or 2019 were given an extra year of eligibility. In addition, 12 schools (all the Ivys, most of NEWHA plus Union and RPI) did not play in 2020-21 – so their 2018 or 2019 players can still be on their rosters for another season or two.

Finally, many of these extra-year players have the option to either stop playing after their 4th year of playing, transfer & play one more year elsewhere or stay-and-play for a 5th year at their current school. This makes predicting which teams would be looking for freshmen goalies in 2023 and 2024 tough, since many schools might prefer an experienced transfer student. It is very possible that even the coaching staffs for these schools may not know for sure what their student-athletes will do.

Here is the analysis I compiled which tries to explain why goalie recruiting seems tighter than previous years and which teams could be looking for goalies (by year).

DI Womens Hockey Goalies By Grad Year & Class

The following (ugly looking) table shows the number of goalies by class year on their current roster and their anticipated graduation year. Then the currently publicly known number of goalie commits by start year is also provided.

Note: Gray teams did not play in 2020-21 and thus have players with an extra year of eligibility even though they are currently listed as a Jr or Sr.

If you are a 2023 or 2024 goalie, the above table may help guide you to certain teams that may still be looking for a goalie.

A few observations and notes:

  • In a “normal” year there should be about 33 freshman goalies per year (44 teams x 3 goalies per team / 4 years)
  • Several schools (e.g. Clarkson, Merrimack, Ohio State) already have four goalies on their roster – so they likely would want to get that number down to three – thus not replace all their current upper-class goalies one-for-one.
  • It appears as thought most of the 2023 Goalie spots are already taken (other than maybe a handful of spots that remain open).
  • I am no expert on NCAA eligibility, but I can imagine it is also possible that some current underclass goalies could also redshirt due to lack of playing time or injury, which could also reduce the number of goalies needed for 2024 (or even 2025 & 2026).
  • Depending on how many current senior (2023 or 2024) goalies stick around for the 2023-24 season, it is possible that only 10-15 goalie spots remain for the incoming class of 2024 – which is not very many.
  • If you are a 2024 grad, you might also consider taking a Post Grad year and plan to start in 2025 when it seems there will be a lot more openings.

If you had a different experience or have additional thoughts or questions, feel free to reach out on social media or here to share your thoughts or experience.