Part 4 in this five-part series will take a look at the path to college hockey. There are many paths, but many share common threads.
If a player wants to play college hockey, what should he do?
There are many options and paths for players that wish to pursue the dream of college hockey. There is no correct path! Each player has a very different path and faces different challenges along the way.
What are the typical paths? Every player grows up playing youth hockey for local town and club teams. Once age 14 rolls around, that is when players and parents begin to make developmental decisions. Decisions on high school, prep school or club hockey come into play. Once High school and/or Prep School ends it means Junior Hockey options are next.
All of these options seem confusing, but typically student-athletes will spend 2-4 years with a program and then make the next step towards their eventual goals.
The most common path in traditional hockey markets such as Massachusetts is: High School to Prep and/or Junior Hockey to College.
Paths vary based upon geographic location and hockey availability within those areas. Prep schools are largely concentrated in the Northeast. Junior Hockey programs are scattered throughout the country. Not all states sponsor high school hockey, and those states without high school hockey, travel/club hockey will likely take its place.
Choosing a path requires a thorough examination of a family’s and player’s goals, their finances, travel restrictions, local hockey availability, and educational priorities.
In the final article of this 5-part series, we will offer up advice and questions to think about when the process is beginning.