It is time for the Ohio High School Hockey athlete needs to make so very important decisions.
1. Do I want to play College hockey?
If you answered No to question you should stop reading
2. Do I want to play NCAA college hockey, or ACHA club college hockey?
You need to learn the best path that will challenge, and develop you. Underlying key fact, you have to play games to develop. So just as Dalton Carter was healthy scratch in the NAHL, he did not find sucess until he joined the EHL.
3. What is my GPA? Lower closes doors, and lower reduces academic money as well later.
4. What are my ACT and SAT scores? The higher the better, dont be average, be exceptional.
5. Am I being recruited by any NCAA D1, D3 or ACHA teams right now? Ask question of the recruiter, get advice.
6. Am I being recruited by any AAA or JR teams right now? Ask questions and get advice.
The path to NCAA hockey is an arduous one. You dont realize it, but you have been on it since your youngest years. Trying to play the most competitive hockey you can. Doing the best you can in school. Being a good person of strong character and values. The better you are in all those areas the better your chances. In the Ohio High School scene, 1 player every 6.3 years reaches NCAA D1 hockey. Even then that comes only after 2-3 years of JR hockey, as the average incoming age of the NCAA hockey player is 20.3 years old. Dalton Carter a recent mid-season arrival at U Mass Lowell NCAA D1 Hockey East is the latest exception. Matt Wurst playing NCAA D3 at Wisconsin River Falls is representative of 1 player every 7.4 years. Yes longer because for many discard the NCAA dream when Division 1 passes them by, instead pursuing club hockey which averages roughly 30 players a year.
By the numbers: There are roughly 103 Ohio High School hockey teams. An estimated 2160 hockey players. The Odds of Reaching NCAA D1 are .008%. Compare that to the ANNUAL odds of playing Club 1.3%.
Compare that to 170 AAA level named clubs. 3570 estimated players. 86 of whom are noted as having received an NCAA D1 commitment this year, or 2.25%. in AAA your playing with the scouts are, not the fans. Playing in front of who you want to play for when you are 21, and making in many cases hefty trade offs. Globally there 350,000 estimated NCAA eligible D1 20U players. Odds of reaching NCAA D1 Globally are .071%, which LOL equates to the fact you are statistically better off playing anywhere but Ohio High School to reach NCAA D1. That said, and I am honestly Laughing, because I have checked and rechecked my math. I never knew that Stat before. But hey, here is the deal. You are playing Ohio High School Hockey. High School hockey is awesome, you have the fans and the whole HS experience. You are not studdying in your car, you are not taking online HS classes, you are not paying 40k a year for a private education, you are not paying 8,000$ a year for hockey.
Dont feel down at all, do not feel as if it can not happen. If you want it, really want it. You can get there. 1 in 6 years is an unacceptable number. Which is why numerous people are working to get that number to where it should be. 3-4 a year. Not right out of High School, that is not realistic in any way shape or form, hockey is not football or basketball. Every player needs to play 20U (Jrs) to matriculate successfully,THIS IS A FACT. Unless that player is one of the very exceptional, which I assure are not playing Ohio High School Hockey right now. There are players, right now in Ohio. Who honestly do meet the criteria to receive an NCAA commitment for 2016, 2017. They will not however get one, because the overall view and time have not been invested by those who make that final call. So what is one to do? Do everything you can, every day to the be your best. That is all you can do. That is all, that is all honestly anyone can do. At the end of the day, look at yourself in the mirror and ask " Did I do all I can do to help myself become a college hockey player?" Do the work. Reach out to AAA and JR teams now about next year after graduation. DO NOT leave your HS team to go skate with a JR or AAA team now. Ohio has its GROSSLY out dated Draconian rules which will cause havok for your HS team and you if you do, and are discovered. As Ohio HS alumni, and current players it is on you to start fixing the problems that are inhibiting Ohio Players. Stand up and be hear, and be loud, their futures are on your shoulders. Allowing the state to handicap you on the national stage has to end. Jump your coaches shit, jump your administrator shit about fixing these ball crushing rules. Then if the state wont respond the Ohio HS teams OWE it to the players, to strip their state sponsored VARSITY tags and register as tier II AA teams in USA hockey, establish some full season by laws and just run with a MUCH BETTER OPTION. Independently run by real hockey people! Not flim flam the scam man.
Is JR Hockey a garuntee to NCAA hockey? NO. Jr hockey is not a garuntee to NCAA hockey nor should it be considered as such. There are far to many moving parts to consider. Jr Hockey is a business and Coaches do their best to win games and make sure players are promoted. So as long as a coach is achieving two of those three things his job is more stable than not. For the players, who this is all supposed be about. only two help them to develop and get there. This is why its important players go where they are wanted and will play. That requires trust and hell, some times it doesn't work out. Players have rough first years. Trades happen, and in some cases they just are not good enough. Fact is you cant reach the NCAA if you don't try, and if you think about it, its worth trying. You are only able to try once.