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College Hockey – Timetable for European Players

Screenshot 2014-10-27 22.32.52More and more Swiss players (and their parents) show interest to continue their hockey development in the US combining it with obtaining a College degree. Unfortunately with most it comes as an afterthought once their hockey development in Switzerland does not progress as planned. This is contrary to the US where the way to professional hockey is planned including the NCAA route from an early age.

Because of the different school systems in Switzerland and the US, there are various ways for Swiss players to get to play College Hockey. I divide them in two alternatives: High School and Juniors. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and I don’t recommend one over the other. It depends entirely on each individuals circumstances. However, for both alternatives the planing should start at an early age i.e. “Mini” or even earlier. Here are the rough timetables for the two alternatives:

High School

  • Complete Primary – and Secondary School in Switzerland
  • Complete High School (HS)  (4 years) in the US
    • Boarding school with a Hockey program or
    • Midget AAA, local HS (private or public) and Billet Family
    • Senior year may change to a Tier I (USHL) or II (NAHL) team
  • One or two saisons in Tier I, Tier II oder Tier III
  • College Hockey NCAA Div I or III, or one of the ACHA Divisions (Div I, II or III)


  • Obtain Matura or Federal Certificate of Proficiency (FCoP) in Switzerland
  • Depending on age, playing, one or two years, Junior hockey in the US
    • Tier I, II or III
    • Alternative: one year Prep School with a hockey program (HS Diploma)
    • With FCoP: take HS classes to meet NCAA academic requirements (not needed with Matura)
  • Prepare, and take, SAT and TOEFL tests
  • College Hockey NCAA Div I or III, or one of the ACHA Divisions (Div I, II or III)

This is a brief description of the two alternatives. There are also other variations of the two above described ways. All depends on the academic as well as hockey specific skill level of each player. The most important point is to start the planning early and work with an experienced advisor who is well versed in this field.

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