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From Campus to the Ice: How college hockey players make their mark in the NHL

The influence of college hockey is greater compared to a few decades ago. Data from shows 349 college students participated in the 2021–22 NHL games. Based on the report, the number of college players in the NHL has grown by 65% within the past 19 years.

Some are already first-round selections. Others are undrafted free agents or behind-the-bench players. Regardless, their influence in the NHL is real and growing. Names such as Jeremy Swayman, Trent Frederic, and Derek Forbort are on the NHL list.

College hockey players taking prominence in the NHL

Many of the big names in the NHL are college alumni. Popular NHL coaches such as Mike Sullivan, David Quinn, and Jim Montgomery were college players. Data by College Hockey Inc. shows over 300 former college players play for various NHL teams today. Many of the players are aged 23 years and below. Data shows there is a lot of similarity between NCAA and NHL games.

This makes it easier for college players to fit into the national teams with ease. Dave Taylor, a V.P. at the St. Louis Blue says before 1980, NHL didn’t allow NCAA players. He says that has completely changed today. An NCAA player can come from college and directly join an NHL team.

For many years, critics believed college hockey can never be a ticket to the NHL. They believed students cannot effectively balance sports and academics. Their notion was that students always give preference to academic performance over sports. Time has proved them wrong. One of the students says – “I do not worry about papers because the writing services write research paper for me and I get quick results.” It takes commitment to balance academics and sports. With online help from research paper services, it is easier to create more time for training.

The impact of college hockey on the NHL is growing fast

In recent years, NCAA players have become a great attraction in NHL. Mike Cammalleri of the New Jersey Devils once played for UoM. He says 30% of players in the national team were developed in the universities. He says many of the current players participated in the 2014–15 NCAA season.

College sports prepare students for the national teams. They get ready for the ice by building both playing and social skills. They develop a strong personality and resilience required in the national league. Due to their active participation in college sports, they easily fit into the NHL.

Their training at the university teaches them to be accountable. They cannot cheat and get away with it. They learn the skill of time management and commitment to win. Specifically, they learn to balance education and sport. Many of them have good records in academic performance. It shows they paid attention to both academics and sports.

Working harder to rank higher in NCAA divisions

For some, the road to NHL is rougher based on the schools they come from. The top hockey powerhouses include schools such as Boston, Minnesota, and Dakota universities. Many from these schools rank in Division 1 of the NCAA divisions. Players in Division II and III have to make tougher choices and work harder.

Through hard work, Division III players such as Guy Hebert made it to the NHL. The list includes other players such as Keith Aucoin and McLean. Notably, NCAA coaches spend a lot of time with players. They provide them with high-quality training to prepare them to play for any NHL team.

The trend is growing stronger as every hockey season comes and goes. The NCAA is producing a longer list of NHL players. Each year, a strong batch of NCAA players join the NHL list. They follow strict criteria for quality for the national association.

The players are drawn from universities and colleges across the US. A player such as Cale Makar is from UMass. Adam Fox is from Harvard, and Charlie McAvoy is from Boston University. Other names that are making a mark include Quinn Hughes from Michigan University.


The effect of college hockey on the NHL is significantly growing. Nearly 400 NCAA players today work with various NHL teams. To date, over 30% of college players have joined the national teams. After graduation, players drafted into NHL become free agents. There is a growing competition to rank higher in NCAA divisions. Those who rank higher get a better chance to join the national team.

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