Recruiting is an exciting - but often confusing - process for student-athletes considering a college hockey career. College hockey doesn't have a draft, giving elite prospective players control over where they want to play.
High school students may not be actively recruited by college coaches prior to Jan. 1 of their grade 10 year. After that point, students may hear from coaches expressing interest in having them attend (or at least visit) their school. Students may reach out to college coaches prior to Jan. 1 of 10th grade, as long as they initiate contact by phone or in person (coaches may not, by NCAA rule, reply to phone or email messages).
Many prospective college hockey players wonder what they can do to get noticed by college recruiters. College hockey coaches spend a tremendous amount of time and energy scouting and recruiting potential student-athletes. If you play for a competitive midget minor, midget major, junior, or high school team, and are an elite player, there is a good a chance that the college coaches know about you.
We highly recommend that American players try out for the USA Hockey select festivals or district development camps that are held every summer. We also recommend you make a list of the schools you are interested in and visit their respective web sites (find links here ). Most college hockey teams have a "recruiting questionnaire" on their team web site and it would be beneficial to fill out a questionnaire for each school that interests you. Create a hockey resume  that can help introduce you to coaches.
Click here for more Frequently Asked Questions  about the recruiting process. Think also about the types of questions to ask coaches during the process - we've included a few of those below.
COMMON QUESTIONS FOR COACHES
How would you best describe your coaching style?
Every coach has a particular style that involves different motivational techniques and discipline. You need to know if a coach's teaching style matches your learning style.
What expectations do you have for training and conditioning?
This will reveal the college or university's commitment to a training and conditioning program.
What are preferred, invited and uninvited walk-on situations? How many do you expect to compete? How many earn a scholarship?
Situations vary from school to school.
Who else are you recruiting for my position?
Coaches may consider other student-athletes for every position.
When would you expect my college career to begin?
Some players can contribute to a college program immediately out of high school while others may be expected to spent time at the junior level.
What other factors should I consider when choosing a college?
Be realistic about your athletics ability and the type of athletics experience you would enjoy. Some student-athletes want to be part of a particular athletics program, even if that means little or no playing time. Other considerations include coaching staff and style. Of course, the ideal is to choose a college or university that will provide you with both the educational and athletics opportunities you want.
How good is the department in my major? How many students are in the department? What credentials do faculty members hold? What are graduates of the program doing after school? What percentage of players on scholarship graduate?
The response will suggest the school's commitment to academics. You might want to ask two follow-up questions:
1. What percentage of incoming students eventually graduate?
2. What is the current team's grade-point average?
What academic support programs are available to student-athletes?
Look for a college that will help you become a better student.
If I have a diagnosed and documented disability, what kind of academic services are available?
Special academic services may help you achieve your academic goals.
How many credit hours should I take in season and out of season?
It is important to determine how many credit hours are required for your degree and what pace you will follow to obtain that degree.
Are there restrictions in scheduling classes around practice?
NCAA rules prevent you from missing class for practice.
Is summer school available? If I need to take summer school, will it be paid for by the college?
You may need to take summer school to meet academic and/or graduation requirements.
What is a typical day for a student-athlete?
The answer will give you a good idea of how much time is spent in class, practice, study and travel. It also will give you a good indication of what coaches expect.
What are the residence halls like?
The response should give you a hint of how comfortable you would be in your room, study areas, community bathrooms and at the laundry facilities. Also ask about the number of students in a room, co-ed dorms and the rules governing life in the residence halls.
How much financial aid is available for both the academic year and summer school? What does your scholarship cover? How long does my scholarship last?
Most people think a "full ride" is good for four years, but athletics financial aid is available on a one-year, renewable basis.
What are my opportunities for employment while I am a student?
Find out if you can be employed in season, out of season or during vacation periods.
Exactly how much will the athletics scholarship be? What will and will not be covered?
It is important to understand what college expenses your family is responsible for so you can arrange to pay those. Educational expenses can be paid with student loans and government grants, but it takes time to apply for them. Find out early so you can get something lined up.
Am I eligible for additional financial aid? Are there any restrictions?
Sometimes a student-athlete cannot accept a certain type of scholarship because of NCAA limitations. If you will be receiving other scholarships, let the coach and financial aid officer know so they can determine if you may accept additional dollars.
Who is financially responsible if I am injured while competing?
You need to understand your financial obligations if you suffer an injury while participating in athletics.
Under what circumstances would my scholarship be reduced or canceled?
Coaches should be able to give you some idea of how players are evaluated from year to year and how these decisions are made. The college or university may have a policy governing renewal of athletics aid. Ask if such a policy exists and read it.
Are there academic criteria tied to maintaining the scholarship?
Some colleges or universities add academic requirements to scholarships (e.g., minimum grade-point average).
What scholarship money is available after eligibility is exhausted to help me complete my degree?
It may take longer than four years to complete a college degree program. Some colleges assist student-athletes financially as they complete their degrees. Ask how such aid is awarded. You may have to work with the team or in the athletics department to qualify for this aid.
What scholarship money is available if I suffer an athletics career-ending injury?
Not every institution continues to provide an athletics scholarship to a student-athlete who can no longer compete because of a career-ending injury.