After analyzing the league affiliation of the 2019/20 Freshman class, I was curious if the commitments during the actual 2019/20 season would show the same result (USHL, NAHL, BCHL). Much to my surprise it was not the USHL but the NAHL which had the most NCAA D1 commitments during the 2019/20 season (Sep 1, 2019 – April 30, 2020, Source College Hockey, INC). The obvious question: Why?
During September 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020, 313 players committed to play NCAA D1 hockey.
Let’s start with looking at the age/League categories of players:
80 % of the players committed came from Junior Leagues, followed by AAA Leagues with 13 % and HS with 7 %.
Next, let’s look where (country) the players played when they made the commitment:
Interestingly here is that only 3 players committed playing in European leagues (2 Finland, 1 Sweden). However given the cost, it is logical that the NCAA teams mainly recruit in the US and Canada.
Now the most interesting chart is, in which Junior League they played while committing to play NCAA D1:
This came as a surprise. 30 % of all players committing during the season played in the NAHL followed by the USHL with 25 % (2 % NTDP, 23 % other teams). The rest of the leagues is pretty much in line with the League affiliation of the 2019/20 Freshmen class (see first para) with BCHL and other Canadian Leagues and the NCDC.
If you think about it, it is logical though. When you look at the first chart, it shows that 80 players committed while playing in HS and AAA Leagues. Most of these players will play in the USHL (including NTDP) before joining their D1 teams. This explains the difference between the Incoming Freshman and Commitments during the season, by League.
This confirms the conclusion of my last post, Incoming Freshman Class, that there are Leagues outside the USHL which are also heavily scouted by the NCAA D1 teams. This is important for European players who often decide late to pursue combining their academic with their athletic career and consequently arrive late to the dance.