Post #95 – 6/14/23 – D-I Recruiting Kicks Into High Gear For 2025 Class

D-I Coaches Begin Communication with Players Entering Grade 11 This Fall Starting Thursday

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June 15 Arrives Thursday, What to Know

Well, so much for my shorter post idea 😂.

Longer post… but worth the read.

Tomorrow Thursday, June 15 will be a very busy day for the 44 D-I hockey programs as the recruiting cycle begins for the 2025 class. It will also be a busy and exciting day for hundreds of players across the globe as they begin their quest to play NCAA D-I hockey.

NCAA recruiting rules state D-I coaches my initiate contact with recruits for the first time via phone, email, text, direct social media message, etc. Coaches are now able to have recruiting conversations with recruits and family members as well as make official verbal scholarship or non-scholarship offers to join their program.

As exciting as this time of year can be for players and families, it can also bring a lot of stress and anxiety – both for those who are engaged in the process and for those who are not – but want to be. So with, June 15 less than 24-hours away, here a few things to keep in mind so you don’t drive yourself bonkers.

  • All Is Not Lost
  • It’s A Numbers Game
  • Do Prepare
  • Your Situation Is Not Anyone Else’s
  • January or February Could be More Important

All is not lost if you don’t get a phone call

Just because you didn’t get a call on June 15, does not – in any way – mean your D-I dream is dead.

Far from it in fact. Players make it to the NHL undrafted every season–Last night’s Con Smythe Stanley Cup winner as an example! There are many players in every recruiting class, who wind up playing at a D-I school that never got a call on June 15.

So while they may not have gotten a call on that day, they stayed patient, focussed on the process, and worked on their game. The only thing not getting a call means, is you have a bit more work and developing to do. So keep the process in perspective as well as your own development. Sometimes the process takes time.

Every D-I spot doesn’t get committed on June 15, or even Feb. 15 for that matter. Recruiting is one of those living, breathing entities that can change in a heartbeat. Coaches get a ‘NO’ from a recruit and it can change the whole trajectory of their process. It’s also not uncommon for coaches to hold spots free so they can see how players develop over the season. You may not have gotten a call, but you may be on some coaches list and are being talked about as a player to keep watching.

Coaches usually have a pecking order to their recruiting lists and will spend time talking with their priority recruits first. There are only so many coaches who are allowed to make phone calls due to NCAA rules, and there is only so much time in the day. It may take a day or two or three for a coaching staff to plow through all of the calls they need to make.

It’s a bit of a numbers game

More players could get calls this year. Why?

The 5th year COVID grad transfer player goes away in 2025. That means an extra 90-100-ish roster spots will open up and have the opportunity to be filled by graduating High School seniors or PG’s.

When you run the numbers, an average recruiting class is 6 recruits per team. So, the 2025 recruiting class could potentially be at about 264 incoming first year players give or take, 44 teams x 6 players per team = 264. An influx of over 35% more first-year NCAA players.

There are only so many D-I prospects and most schools overlap in calling the same ones. So, how many recruits does a school need call in order to commit its class of 6 players? Great question. I’ve worked at a variety of institutions and I can tell you some years our program has had to call 40 and in others it’s been over 100. But keep in mind there is quite a bit of overlap with schools calling the same player.

There are a lot more players than there are available D-I spots. It’s competitive and you really do need to be in the upper echelon of the talent pyramid to play at the highest level.

If you expect to get some calls, do prepare

There is nothing worse for a coach when talking to a recruit, and it’s a one-sided conversation with the coach doing all the talking. If you anticipate getting some calls, do prepare to talk-back and engage! Have some questions prepared to ask. Have some answers prepared you can speak to if you get questions like, what are you looking for in a school? Do you know what you want to study? When do you see yourself making a decision?

Do return calls, emails, and texts if you get them – even if you aren’t interested in the school. How you handle your hockey affairs says a lot about who you are. So, do take the time to reply. And it’s okay to say you aren’t interested. Sometime a ‘No’ in the recruiting world to a coach, is as good as a ‘yes’ because it allows some focus to come into play. And really – thats a lot of what coaches and players/families are looking for, right? Info so you can know where to focus.

The important piece here, is to do some homework and be prepared.

Don’t compare your process to anyone else but you

Your teammates are getting calls, going on visits, and making decisions. You on the other hand, aren’t doing any of those things… the only thing you’re getting, is bitter at your teammates.

As a player, you start to question things, over-analyze situations, and can talk yourself into a mental tizzy. The reality is, the more you try to dissect why someone is getting the love, and you aren’t, the worse you’ll make yourself feel. And you’ll never know the answers you’re wondering about.

So don’t compare your teammates’ situation to yours. There is a lot that goes into why a coaching staff may want to recruit a certain player. It could be the way the shoot, their position, skill, size, how good of a student they are, financial reasons–you name it. What you can do, is compare yourself to the day before. How did you make your situation or you as a student or as a player – better today than yesterday.

Change Your Mindset

Don’t worry about June 15. Worry about January or February 15 of your grade 11 year instead. Here’s why.

You don’t get a call on June 15 – big WOOP.

If February 15 has come and gone with no calls in your grade 11 year, may be its time to reassess your college hockey goals and start returning those emails, texts, and voicemails from D-III schools.

The amount of growth a player can have between June and February is huge. That’s 7 months! As I said earlier, programs always seem to have some space (and some $$) on the their rosters so they can catch that later bloomer.

So, think about changing your mindset. Get rid of June 15 as the be-all end-all date of dates… focus on the growth you can have during your grade 11 year instead.

Bottom Line

June 15 is the start of something… but certainly not the end.

In most cases, it’s just the beginning of a 2 year time window from when a player could potentially arrive on campus.

Thats a long time for growth and development.

Keep the focus on you and your growth process while keeping all options open that come your way. Your mental health will thank you!

Until Next Time Everyone… Be Well and take Care,

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-Streams in the WCHA can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams in Hockey East this year can be found HERE. Hockey East once again is streaming all game live and for FREE.

-Streams for CHA games with the exception of Penn St. can be found HERE. Paid subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.

-Streams for NEWHA games can be found at each teams’ website. Subscriptions may be necessary to watch games.

NCAA Coaching Changes… Keep up with all the coaching changes across D-I and D-III HERE.

Recruiting Events/League Online Directory… Find all the recruiting events on right HERE. Want to add your event? Click HERE to fill out our event form.

Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College and beginning his 4th season as an Assistant Coach with the Yale University women’s hockey program. Grant has developed an experienced perspective in the world of women’s ice hockey, having coached and recruited players from across the globe during his 25+ year amateur and NCAA coaching career. He has coached at 6 NCAA DIII and DI programs in the NCHA (D3), the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, ECAC, and the Ivy League (DI). Beyond coaching, Grant served as a site representative for the 2019 NCAA quarterfinal of the D-I NCAA Tournament. He also currently serves as an Officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association as Vice President of Membership and sits on the AHCA’s Women’s Hockey Executive Committee.

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