Staying on track to earn a university/college degree, while trying to achieve the dream of playing in the NHL, is no easy task. So many young players unfortunately put all their eggs in the NHL basket at 15 or 16, only to learn that 35 North American players in any birth year will become full-time NHL players. Thus, many players, who could have parlayed their elite hockey skills into a college education, end up without the NHL dream, or a college education.
Choosing the NCAA route ensures that a player always stays on the educational track while pursing his NHL dream. Why?
Every step of the NCAA hockey path, from high school through college, a player is accountable to pass in school in order to play hockey.
Recently, the NCAA announced that 84% of all NCAA hockey players graduated with their university/college degrees. The CHL’s college graduation rate is under 20% because there is not this accountability throughout the education path.
During the 2006-2007 season, 24% of the full-time players in the NHL came from the NCAA. The percentage of NCAA alumni in the NHL grows every year. For example in 1967, when the NHL expanded from 6 to 12 teams, there were only 5 NCAA players in the NHL representing less then 1% of the total NHL player base. In 1979, prior to the Lake Placid Olympics, the NCAA accounted for 9% of the NHL player’s base. Now at 24%, the NCAA numbers in the NHL, and other levels of pro hockey, undisputedly continue to grow.
Below is a detailed study of the four major NCAA conferences (CCHA, ECAC, Hockey East and WCHA) during the 2000-01 season, which clearly displays two things:
The USHL is proud to be the major supplier to the NCAA. Almost 25% of the players in NCAA Division I hockey are USHL alumni. Further, the USHL accounted for 26 NHL draft choices last year, including four first round selections.
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