Five prominent schools (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dartmouth, Princeton, Clarkson) have not had any publicly announced commitments since the new NCAA rules were implemented in May, 2019
The days-before-starting-school commitment days have been halved since the new NCAA recruiting rules were implements (1113 before, 553 after). Which essentially means the average player’s commitment has moved from mid-February of their Junior Year, to Mid-August of Sophomore Year
Before the new rules were implemented, Wisconsin women’s hockey players committed on average 4 years prior to starting at U of W
Currently, only 5 school average less than a year for their commits – 294 days (St. Lawrence University, RIT, Sacred Heart University, Post University Lindenwood University)
Now: Here are the Top 10 schools that are the most aggressive to sign recruits (since the new rules were implemented):
Before: Top 10 School who used to sign the earliest commits prior to the rule changes:
If you want to know which girl’s hockey clubs or schools produce the most DI women’s college hockey commits, here is your answer:
We looked at 526 college hockey commits that are posted on the College Hockey Inc’s women’s college hockey commits web page starting with the 2020 academic year and beyond. There were 94 programs that produced at least 2 DI commits, but the Top 25 represented about 50% of all the commits. And the Top 50 represented about 75% of all the committed players. So, while there is a long tail of places a player can come from, the significant majority are recruited from some of the most well-known girls hockey organizations.
What percent of players of D1 women’s college commits come from Canada vs. the U.S. and why does it matter? Well, as I talk to my 14 year-old daughter about potentially playing Division I women’s college hockey, it’s important for her to understand who she is competing with.
So, how good do you need to be to play Division I women’s college hockey?
There are 41 Division I college women’s hockey teams. Assuming 22 players on each team, with 25% graduating every year, then there should be about 225 openings each year (assuming no DIII transfers to DI). With ~32% percent of players coming from Canada, that means a player needs to be one of the best 150 players in the U.S. for their graduation year. Drilling down a little more, at the position level, it means a player needs to be one of the best 25 players at their position. And if your goal is to play for a Top 25 team it means you basically need to be on of the best 15 players in the U.S. at your position.
It is also important to note that a large majority of Canadian players go to the top 25 schools, otherwise they could easily stay in Canada and be closer to home. For example they could play for Julie Chu or Caroline Ouellette at Concordia University. So the competition for these top school is probably a little higher from Canadian players, thus lower the number spots for U.S. players at these schools.
How do you know how good a player is compare to their peers?
Feedback from Coaches
Obviously, the best way to understand if a player is one of the top 15 players at their position is no easy task, even for the best college coaches who travel the country at tournaments and showcases to find recruits. Having several coaches provide feedback to the player and parents from these top schools is probably a good proxy.
Another way, is through the USA Hockey National Player Development Camps that are held each non-Covid summer. If a player is invited to the U18, then there is a pretty good chance that they are in the Top 15 for their position. If a player is invited to the girls camp for their age group they are certainly in the running, but they would need to see how they compare to their peers and listen to the feedback at the end of the week.
Level of Recruiting Interest from Top Schools
Finally, and probably the most important way to know how good a player is during non-Covid times, is to see the level of interest from women’s college hockey recruiter as they start U16 hockey. By attending camps, tournaments & showcases and meeting coaches from all types of schools, a player and their parents can gage the level of interest from Top 25 schools as they progress from their sophomore, junior and senior years.
Implications for U.S. Players
If a player has hopes and dreams to play for a Division I women’s college hockey team, they need to understand that they are competing with the top players in North America. Given the large number of girls AAA and prep schools (>250 clubs/schools), being one of the top 15 players in the U.S (or top 25 in North America) at your position. is roughly where the bar is set.
As a parent of a 14-year old girl hockey player who has only played with boys, we are trying to figure out her best path to playing Division I college hockey. However, there is no playbook that is given to parents or players on how follow the process. In fact, from talking to several coaches, each player’s journey is unique. However, if you live in a non-traditional girl’s hockey market like we do, the route can be even more complex.
As we look to decide when and where she play girls hockey for both development and recruiting purposes, I thought I would see what data already exists to help guide our decisions.
Insight #1 – Less than 0.3% of Women’s College Hockey Commits only played boys hockey
In my research, I have only found two female players who only played on boys teams for their club or school teams prior to college. And this is after looking into about 1000 Division I college players or commits. Those two players were Dominique Petrie, who only played AAA Boys hockey in California before attending Harvard. And a goalie from Alaska, Hannah Hogenson prior to attending Bemidji State.
Additional Questions to be Answered
In my upcoming posts I will answering the following questions:
Secondary information is from Elite Prospects which was used to supplement missing club/school information for some players.
The period covers 8/20/16 until 10/21/20 for players who are committed for the 2020 season and later.
The data on Women’s College Commits website may not be complete and likely does not include all D1 commits
If a team/club was not listed, I referenced eliteprospects.com for additional information. Thank you to Beau Marchwick who populates most of the girls hockey data and stats.
A player’s designated club/school is chosen based on the commitment date. If a player played on both a school and a club team, then the club or school with which the player was playing on longer was selected (because they were responsible for developing the player for a longer period of time).
For time period calculations, we assumed Sept. 1st as the start of the college academic year to calculate the number of days from the date of commitment.
The analysis does not include any U.S. Division III or Canadian University Sports commits.