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I share your wish that hockey players could stay home, play high school, and then head straight for college. Unfortunately, however, the system isn't set up that way.
A big difference between hockey and the other sports you mention is the quality - and in many cases, the existence - of high school play. Some programs are better than others, of course, but almost every school has football, baseball, soccer, basketball, etc. Very few schools outside Minnesota have quality high school hockey programs. The ones that do tend to have only a few good teams, meaning that most of the games are laughers and only a few per year are truly high-level and competitive. Indeed, aside from a few hockey-hotbed areas, few schools even offer varsity ice hockey.
So, while football, baseball, basketball, soccer and lacrosse players can stay home and develop - usually with descent competition - in high school, Hockey players need to play high level AAA and/or junior to develop and be seen.
More than that, the colleges probably just love juniors. It allows them to stock their program with more mature, more developed, hardened men instead of young teenage boys.
I am actually shocked D3 - especially Nescac- hasn’t instituted an age limit
Heck, they limit the amount you can practice
You can’t tell me having 25 yr old seniors enhances the school experience
Man, I didn't realize how messed up this sport really is at the NCAA. I have a bit of time before I have to worry about this but I feel for all of these Jr level players, what a crap situation. I also understand the parent frustration as the kids get older.
First, most freshman football players at Alabama are 20 when they take the field, very few true freshman play power-five football, they all redshirt.
Second, NIL is available for any level of college athlete, not just D-I. So tell your kid to work hard on his social media presence, develop a decent following, and start lighting it up during his D-III season & I'm sure some car dealer or local sports shop will be willing to pay him to shill their products.
You guys realize junior hockey is FUN right? you all seem to think it's this horrible burden on these kids when in fact 90% of them love it.
We living it right now and its a nonstop grind, more like 20% fun, 80% what the F are we doing here playing in front of nobody
These kids will be in the real world soon enough. Budget meetings, project deadlines, conference calls, etc. Enjoy playing hockey while you can. You have the rest of your life to work.
Kids have always reclassed for an advantage, but hockey, for some reason, has carved its own specific loophole with the NCAA. They have modified the rules to be a developmental league rather than collegiate athletics. If the NHL wants players to be better prepared for pro they should have a post-college developmental process.
While juniors existed before, they most certainly were not a requirement. 21 year old freshmen is dumb for tons of reasons.
NCAA Age-limiting factors: Division 1 (D1) and Division 2 (D2) colleges require high school student-athletes to enroll in college no later than 12 months post-graduation. Upon acceptance, these students have five years to compete in four full years of college sports, as they can opt to redshirt (sit out of competitive gameplay for a season) for one of their four eligible years.
Note: The D1 and D2 eligibility grace periods for ice hockey players and tennis players differ:
Men’s and Women’s Tennis
D1: 6 months
D2: 12 months
Men’s Ice Hockey
D1: 21st birthday
D2: 3 years
Nope it hasn't changed, that's correct. Hockey is the only sport with that crazy grace period though, which doesn't make sense considering the very high level of competition in other NCAA sports like basketball and football.
Men’s Ice Hockey
D1: 21st birthday
D2: 3 years
I enlisted in the Army straight out of HS and didn't start college until I was 24 and yes I played a sport in college. Heck Chris Weinke was 28 when he won the Heisman trophy. I don't understand, outside of the cesspool that is Tier-III juniors, why you are so upset at the age a kid is entering college. It's a choice, if it's not right for your family situation or your son, you just don't do it.
If Worchester State, Framingham State, Franklin Pierce, Suffix, and many other DII and DIII schools are not for your hockey player look at ACHA - Most ACHA higher division schools will beat many of the small New England DII & DIII schools.
Juniors is not necessary for D3. My son plays D3 at a NESCAC school and didn’t play juniors. Many will go to chase the D1 dream though.
D3 coaches are clowns who are empowered by desperate players. Sad truth is when junior players take a step back and visit an actual nice college, why the hell would anyone want to go to fitchburg? This will never happen and until then the power trip continues
The numbers of kids coming right out of high school to D3 schools could increase if people realistically listened to what D1 coaches do or do not say to them about the player. If it is anything less than, do a year of juniors and if we see x, y and z we will take him next year, actively seek D3 opportunities. D3 coaches will also not chase you down if you are intent on pursuing the D1 dream. They will wait until reality hits home. That is why those 03 and 04 numbers direct to D3 exist the way they are. If you are coming out of prep this year with nothing concrete, you should actively be reaching out to D3 schools. If you have good grades, NESCAC coaches are making decisions right now.
While its possible to be a rostered player without playing junior, you have to remember in your decision there's a difference between being rostered and actually playing. Being in the stands watching getting spot games the first year or so sucks.
Not all D3 schools play in dumpy state rinks dummy! Elmira, Oswego, Plattsburgh-Great rinks, great fans, great teams and great hockey...not D1, no, but not too shabby either..