College Ice Hockey Scholarships and Recruiting

How do I get a College Ice Hockey Scholarship?

The hockey recruiting process is unlike all other college sports in that coaches expect you to play several years of Junior A hockey in a North American league before you attend university. Do not think that just because you see scouts, you are being looked at for a scholarship. You need to move up on their recruiting boards to get scholarship offers. Follow these steps to get a chance at a scholarship.

Improving Your Chances of Earning a Hockey Scholarship

Hockey players need to start the recruiting process before they reach Junior A hockey. The longer a coach can watch you, the better idea he will have of your potential. Once in Junior A hockey, coaches can then examine how you match up with the best competition. Learn how to impress coaches even more.

How the Ice Hockey Recruiting Process Works

The hockey recruiting process takes longer than any other college sport. To be seriously considered for an ice hockey scholarship, you must be playing Junior A hockey. However, do not expect to just get recruited; you need to take the reins and execute the process yourself, and here is how.

NCAA Academic Requirements to Play College Hockey

All NCAA Division I athletes have to meet the minimum eligibility set by the NCAA. This is a combination of your high school course work, grades, and test scores. On the basis of what level you want to compete, the minimum requirements can be found here.

How to Get Hockey Coaches to Your Game

Ice hockey coaches primarily scout players after they reach the Junior A level of hockey. If you are not playing in Junior A, you will have very difficult time getting coaches to your games. To get coaches to your Junior A games follow our guide here.

How Good do I Need to be to Get a Scholarship?

You do not have to be the right size and weight, but being undersized makes the process more challenging. You need to go to each schools site and find out from what leagues they typically recruit players. If you want to play for that school, you should try to play in that league.

Men’s Hockey

NCAA DI NCAA DIII NJCAA
Height 5 ft. 10 in.-6 ft. 6 in. 5 ft. 8 in.-6 ft. 4 in. 5 ft. 8 in.-6 ft. 4 in.
Weight 170-225 lb. 160-215 lb. 160-215 lb.

Hockey players who receive scholarships directly from high school play for high-ranking prep teams. The most common route to earn a college hockey scholarship is to play Junior A hockey in a North American junior league, such as the following:

  • USHL—United States Hockey League
  • MJHL—Minnesota Junior Hockey League
  • GTHL—Greater Toronto Hockey League
  • AJHL—Atlantic Junior Hockey League
  • EJHL—Eastern Junior Hockey League
  • BCHL—British Columbia Hockey League
  • NAHL—North American Hockey League
  • OJHL—Ontario Junior Hockey League
  • WSHL—Western States Hockey League
  • SJHL—Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Women’s Hockey

NCAA DI NCAA DII NCAA DIII
Height 5 ft. 4 in. or higher 5 ft. 3 in. or higher 5 ft. 4 in. or higher
Weight 120+ lb. 115+ lb. 120+ lb.

It is important for women’s hockey players to have club team experience and/or to play junior hockey after high school to refine their skills. Popular junior leagues include the following:

  • MWJHL—Manitoba Women’s Junior Hockey League
  • JWHL—Junior Women’s Hockey League
  • WWJHL—Winnipeg Women’s Junior Hockey League
  • WWHL—Western Women’s Hockey League
  • CWHL—Canadian Women’s Hockey League
  • PWHL—Provincial Women’s Hockey League

How Many Scholarships are Available, and What Schools Offer Them?

Number of Scholarships Offered per Team, per Year and by Division

Not all colleges that are eligible to offer scholarships will choose to do so. For example, Ivy League schools choose not to offer athletic scholarships.

Hockey is an equivalency sport, which means all scholarships are not full scholarships. For example, in NCAA Division I, hockey coaches can divide the value of the 18 scholarships available to them between as many players as they see fit.

Men’s Hockey

NCAA DI: 18

Women’s Hockey

NCAA DI: 18
NCAA DII: 18

Number of College Hockey Programs

Men’s Hockey

NCAA DI: 58
*NCAA DIII: 70
Total: 136

Women’s Hockey

NCAA DI: 34
NCAA DII: 2
*NCAA DIII: 48
Total: 84

*NCAA Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, but they do offer other forms of financial aid.

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Ice Hockey Scholarships. College Ice Hockey Recruiting

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Author: David Frank

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