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The Women’s College Hockey Pipeline…
Your leading online resource for NCAA Women’s College Hockey
Latest From… The Women’s College Hockey Podcast – Episode #3B…
- Episode #3A Part I – Is Now LIVE|The Recap
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Lots of New
There’s a whole lot of new coming into the 22-23 NCAA hockey season. New teams, new coaches, old players on new teams, new rules, new polls, and a new auto-bid to the NCAA tourney. You get the picture – Let’s dive in!
NEW TEAMS DROP THE PUCK
- Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts just outside Boston becomes the NEWHA’s 7th member as they begin play as a first-year NCAA D-I program under first-year Head Coach Tara Watchorn. Thus far, the Skyhawks are 4-3-1 with 4 strait wins in NEWHA play sweeping Post and St. Mike’s after dropping their first two NCAA contests to UCONN 7-1 and 3-2. The Skyhawks have since tied and lost to Brown 2-2 and 3-1 last week.
- At Division III, the Hilbert College Hawks out of Hamburg, NY south of Buffalo, get underway this year as an D-III Independent. Their first NCAA games are set for October 28 & 29 when the travel to face Alvernia and Lebanon Valley. The Milwaukee School of Engineering hit the re-set button on starting their program and will begin lay in ’23-’24. Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT has made its hire in Steve Novodor and will put a team on the ice next season in 23-24.
This was the most active year for coaching/support staff changes in recent memory. 71 changes in total have been made to date. There are a few D-III positions still to be announced, so we’ll eclipse the 70+ mark. That is a lot of turnover.
6 new head coaches get behind the bench this year for D-I programs and 2 more begin the program building process. You have new bench. bosses in Hockey East-Maine, NEWHA-Long Island Univ., Post Univ., and Stonehill College, CHA-Syracuse, WCHA-St. Cloud. 2 more Head Coaches are building programs virtually from the ground up in Robert Morris University (back in the CHA after being cut in 2021) and Assumption College who is making the transition from ACHA Club status to NCAA D-I and the 8th member of the NEWHA.
An astounding 13 new head coaches have been hired in D-III to start the 22-23 season, 10 of which are changes to existing programs.
OLD PLAYERS, NEW TEAMS
In Division I for the 21-22 season, we saw 85 graduate transfers on D-I rosters. Glancing at each schools’ rosters this season in 22-23, we find a total of 95 graduate transfers at the D-I level, an increase of 10 players. That’s right around a third of all players usually taken in a typical recruiting class. We’ll use 6 players as the average number of recruits a program takes per year.
This trend won’t go away until all players who were granted a 5th year due to COVID by the NCAA, exhaust their eligibility. Which, barring any unforeseen circumstances, should be in the Spring of 2025 and means the 25-26 season should have very few if any grad. transfers.
Year 1 = 20-21 (initial COVID year), Year 2 = 21-22, Year 3 = 22-23, Year 4 = 23-24, Year 5 = 24-25
The 22-23 season begins a new 2-year cycle for the NCAA men’s & women’s ice hockey rules committee to introduce new rules and legislation into the game. New changes with significance this year:
- Offsides: A player shall be considered onside if the skate is over the blue line when the puck enters the attacking zone, which is the rule used in the National Hockey League. Previously, the skate was required to be in contact with the blue line.
- Video Review: Coaches Challenges – coaches may challenge a reviewable play. If the play is not reversed, a timeout will be charged for the unsuccessful challenge. Any subsequent unsuccessful challenges would result in a minor penalty for delay of game.
- Overtime/Shootouts – will remain 3v3 with conference rules to determine if a shootout will be used after a 5-min 3v3 OT period is played.
- Major Penalty Option… officials [have] an option of a major (five-minute) penalty without an ejection. An educational video will be developed to illustrate the differences between a major penalty by itself and a major penalty with an ejection.
- High sticking in defensive zone: To be consistent with a hand pass infraction in the defensive zone, when the defensive team high sticks the puck in the defensive zone, the team will not be able to change its players.
- Covering puck in crease: The committee added covering the puck in the crease by a skater as a reviewable play through a coach’s challenge.
The NCAA Ice Hockey Women’s Rules Committee members as well as the body of coaches and school administrators, feel legal body contact has been penalized far too often. So in an attempt to have greater consistency across all NCAA divisions and conferences, the women’s rules committee requested language around the rules of body contact be clarified and a supplemental video produced and distributed.
The end result – 11 minutes and 18 seconds of video clips and voice-over clarifications and explanations of what legal and illegal body contact is as defined by the NCAA Ice Hockey Women’s Rules Committee. Here are the takeaways:
- Legal body contact may consist of:
- Use of Angling
- Use of Size, Strength and Balance to play the puck
- Use of Body Position to control or gain possession of puck
- incidental collision may occur and should not be penalized
- There is no distinct hip, shoulder, arm or stick contact to physically force the opponent off the puck
- Illegal Body Contact–Principles of the continued enforcement standard
- The use of the stick will be limited to only playing the puck
- The stick will not be allowed to in any way impede a players progress
- The use of a free hand/arm will not be allowed to grab or impede a player’s progress
- Players who use their physical skills and/or anticipation and have a positional advantage shall not lose that advantage as a result of illegal acts by the opponent
- Players will be held accountable for acts of an intimidating or dangerous nature
Through the first few weeks of the season, it’s been an adjustment for everyone – officials and players. But the early comments from most coaches seem to indicate they really like the direction. It does seem like less penalties are being called, judging from a quick scan of box scores as compared with memory from early last season. It will be interesting to see the number of body contact/illegal checking penalties called this season vs. last.
NEW NATIONAL POLLS
Good bye top 10, hello top 15. The two leading major media outlets that publicize national polls for D-I and D-III women’s hockey, USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine (just D-I), will now have a weekly Top 15 National Poll to accommodate the increase of teams selected to the NCAA Tournament – which is now at 11 teams. For years, national polls have always listed 10 teams. Below are the weekly polls as of this week.
DCU/USCHO Division I Women’s Poll – October 31, 2022
|Rnk||Team||(First Place Votes)||Record||Points||Last Poll|
Others receiving votes: St. Lawrence 11, Harvard 3, Connecticut 2, Maine 1
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Women’s College Hockey Poll
November 1, 2022
|RNK||Team||Points||(First Place Votes)||Last Poll||Record||Weeks in Poll|
|1||University of Minnesota||283||(17)||2||7-0-1||8|
|2||Ohio State University||264||(1)||1||8-1-1||8|
|3||University of Wisconsin||233||3||10-2-0||8|
|5||University of Minnesota Duluth||204||6||7-3-0||8|
|11||Penn State University||87||12||7-4-1||7|
|14||University of Vermont||45||14||5-4-1||8|
Others receiving votes: St. Lawrence University 5, Harvard University 3, University of Connecticut 2, University of Maine 2.
DCU/USCHO Division III Women’s Poll – October 31, 2022
|Rnk||Team||(First Place Votes)||Record||Points||Last Poll|
Others receiving votes: Hamilton 24, Utica 11, Hamline 10, Williams 7, Lake Forest 6, Oswego 3, St. Norbert 1
Staffs Are Set
It’s been a long Summer and Fall tracking all of the coaching and support staff changes across D-I and D-III. In all, 71 staff changes have taken place to date. And we still have a few more on the D-III side to go before the season gets underway in the next 3 weeks. Why so many changes? Hard to put a finger on one ‘thing’. Professional playing opportunities are paying better and attracting younger female coaches who still want to play. But, that’s a minor trend. Lot’s of head coach turnover, which can mean assistant coach turnover as new head coaches look to bring in their own people. Are coaches throwing in the towel and leaving the profession at the NCAA level, yes to some degree. Based on our data, of the coaches who have been hired as a head or assistant at D-I or D-III, a little less than 40% have no NCAA coaching experience. The coaches who leave programs (let go or otherwise) aren’t necessarily being rehired by other programs, which is a much more common occurrence on the men’s side.
For a complete D-I and D-III list of coaching and professional staff changes to date, click HERE for our google sheet Coaching Changes Tracker.
As October has come and gone, the 2023 D-I recruiting process is on the mind of many players, parents, and coaches alike, D-III as well. Those graduating high school in 2022 or 2023 has been engaged in the process since June 15 of the respective year they were allowed to begin communication. The graduate transfer player pool is usually the last to make their commitments given the timing of when transfers typically make commitments – late Feb/March. So while teams may have ‘space’ or scholarship money left, you can bet many programs are saving it for graduate transfer options.
The first wave of D-I commitments for the class of 2024 usually ends around this time of year. And let’s be honest, making a decision where to spend your college years is not that easy. It takes some time and many factors are involved. For players in grade 11 who have been engaged in the process since June 15 – we’re about the 4.5 month-mark right now. More players will make decisions in the coming weeks and months. Others still will wait to find the right school, hockey program and best fit for them.
On the evaluation side of things… there are still plenty of competitive opportunities between now and when the D-I Women’s Hockey Quiet Period begins, usually in the latter half of April. In December, the USA-Canada Cup in Kitchener always attracts competitive teams from across North America. January 8-15, the IIHF U18 World Championships will be held in Sweden. The Canada Winter Games, which is Canada’s version of the Winter Olympics held every 4 years takes place on Prince Edward Island Feb. 18 to March 5. The USA Hockey National Championships and MN Girls National Development Camp Tryout phase events usually round out the last major events. Bottom line, there are plenty of hockey for coaches to watch and evaluate players.
What’s really interesting to watch will be two things: 1) The changing dynamic of recruiting 5th year grad transfer players and 2) How the new standard of allowable body contact impacts recruiting decisions. Will size and physicality be more of a priority?
- There are two more D-I teams coming online next fall – Robert Morris University (CHA) and Assumption College (NEWHA). Both are basically looking to build their rosters from the ground up. And grad transfers could be a big part of the recruiting equation for both schools. So there could be more grad transfers taken next year than in years passed.
- If the past two seasons are any indication, more than a third of a typical recruiting class is likely to come from graduate transfers. 85 grad transfers were on rosters during 21-22. In 22-23 there are 95. Perhaps more in the next 2 years?
- A typical recruiting class is around 6 players, that equates to 264 spots across D-I. (44 teams x 6 players). next season with RMU and Assumption, that number will increase by 2 full teams’ worth of players – let’s assume 24 players per team–add 48 more players and you’re around the 310 mark. 95 grad transfers would be 30% of the class. That leaves 215 spots to be split up between players graduating high school in ’23 and ’24. That’s at least 215 non-grad transfer players. Roughly 30 U18 national team players from various countries take up spots, and now you’re down to 185 spots left. MN as a state has over 100 varsity High School teams… needless to say, you have to be darn good to get an offer at the D-I level. The environment is as competitive as ever.
- Player height/size is always something coaches consider when recruiting and it could become more of a factor in future recruiting decisions. Why? There is a coordinated effort from conference director of officials to standardize play across each conference with respect to body contact. Gone will be the days of the WCHA being ‘the most physical conference’.
NCAA D-I Quiet Period Next Week… The National Letter of Intent Fall signing period begins next week. Wednesday November 9 is the actual date players can sign their NLI scholarship paperwork. D-I women’s Ice Hockey has a ‘NCAA Quiet Period’ which begins Monday Nov. 7 and ends at midnight Friday 12:01am. During that time, no on or off campus contact or evaluations may take place. Communication may continue to take place.
Everyone In D-I Is Now Playing… It may have taken a little longer than in years prior, but every D-I team has now started their season. The last 2 D-I teams to not play a regular season game, Princeton and Yale, finally played their first two games last wknd. At the other end of the spectrum, 6 D-I programs Clarkson, UCONN, Wisconsin, Bemidji, Penn State, and RIT have played more than a 1/3 of their regular season with 12 games played heading into the weekend.
22-23 NCAA Legislative Items Announced… The NCAA Modernization of Rules Subcommittee has recommended significant changes to coaching limits, official and unofficial visits. Announced Oct. 27th of last week were the following recommendations:
- Changes to Official / Unofficial Visits
- Removal of the 5 official visit limitation. No cap on the total number of officials visits a recruit could take. Only one visit per school would be allowed unless there was a head coaching change after the first official visit. a 2nd visit could be made
- Schools would be allowed to pay for transportation, hotel, food, and reasonable entertainment costs for up to 4 individuals accompanying a prospect’s official visit. Guests could include family members, high school or club coaches or anyone helping in the recruits’ decision making process.
- Schools could provide complimentary admissions to a home athletics event to prospects and up to four guests.
- Coaching Limits
- A proposal would increase the number of permissible countable coaches in baseball, softball and ice hockey to five. It is currently at three.
ICYMI… Post #76
We’re starting a new section to our blog called… In Case You Missed It or ICYMI. If you didn’t get the chance to read out last post, now you can. Will will begin putting out previous Pipeline posts at the bottom of our current one. Check it out below.
Stay informed. Get educated. Become ‘HOCKEY-WISE’!
The Women’s College Hockey Pipeline…
Your leading online resource for NCAA Women’s College Hockey
Do The Math – Part 2
In our last post we talked about families being able to hep themselves by doing a bit of work on the financial end of things as their daughters’ college/recruiting process begins. That help is in the form of doing self guided family financial evaluation. Doing so will allow families to come up with estimated college expenses and… THE ALL IMPORTANT ‘out-of-pocket dollar amount’ that can be used to pay for these various college and hockey related expenses.
In today’s post, we give families an explanation of how to evaluate this process and the tools – a Google Doc set of financial worksheets to do the math, estimate what expenses they need to account for to come up with that out-of-pocket dollar amount so you can evaluate every opportunity that comes along know what your financial situation is.
You won’t get exact amounts of each expense or amounts related to institutional financial aid. These will be different for everybody based on your own financial situation and the schools / hockey programs you deal with.
Media Help On The Way
For a lot of reasons, D3 women’s college hockey (heck, women’s hockey in general) doesn’t get much national media attention. Middlebury’s perfect season last year not withstanding, there just aren’t a lot of journalists or members of the media who cover the sport. But, times are changing. And it’s about time.
Last month it was announced that Chris Sugar, the senior MBA and Political Science major at Oswego State University who is the owner/editor and the man behind D3 Hockey News, will be THE ONLY contributing writer for USCHO.com exclusively covering D3 women’s hockey beginning this season.
Chris certainly has a passion for covering D3 hockey. His twitter account @D3HockeyNews has over 6,100 followers and in March of 2022, he started a podcast where he interviews players and coaches and members of the media.
I recently spoke to Chris about his new gig with USCHO.com and he is excited to get to work. Congrats Chris. We look forward to seeing your work!
In addition to Chris’ post with USCHO, another media announcement in the world of women’s hockey caught our eye last week. Stephanie Wood will become the new voice of the New England Hockey Journal’s ‘RinkWise’ Podcast. Stephanie is currently the Head Girls Coach at Austin Prep and Women’s Director at the Islanders Hockey Club in Massachusetts. Her first episode is now live and you can read more about her podcast appointment HERE.
Congrats Stephanie… would love to have you on The Women’s College Hockey Podcast sometime soon!
In media, it’s about eyeballs. How many views, how many followers, how many paid subscriptions? How many people are consuming a particular type of content. The more people consume, the more media coverage there will be… because there will be the dollars coming in to pay people to do the media work that is SO needed in our sport. In this sense, it’s not such a bad idea to be a follower!
We hope to announce more girls/women’s college hockey media coverage in the future.
IIHF Worlds Is Underway
The 2022 IIHF World Championships began last week. This marks the first time a World Championship was held in the same year after the Olympics. They are being held in Denmark. The Gold Medal game is scheduled for this Sunday Sept. 4 at 1:30 EST.
Lots of connections to NCAA college programs in this event and not just for Team USA or Canada either. Current rostered NCAA players include Sweden with 7, Swiss with 5 players, as well as 1 Canadian uSport player. Czechia with 5, Germany with 5, Finland with 4, Hungary 2, Denmark 2. The US with 9 and Canada has 3.
You can catch up on all the action with the IIHF Video Hub for recaps of each game. Hats off to what I am pretty sure is a Canadian broadcast crew in Denmark providing the production quality.
And speaking of media coverage… thanks to the NHL Network and TSN in Canada for broadcasting all of the US and Canada’s games. You get get a the full tournament schedule HERE.
D1 Season about to begin… We are literally days away from some programs hitting the ice for the first time in 2022-2023. NCAA D-1 rules allow coaches on the ice to practice with their teams a certain number of hours per week prior to the D1 official start date. I know, sounds odd right… allowed to practice before your official start date? It’s true. This years’ official start date for all programs outside of the Ivy League will be September 17. This is when programs can use their ‘regular season’ allotted weekly time limit of athletic activity – 20-hours per week. The first official practice date for Ivy league institutions will be Sept. 23, a full week earlier than normal. NCAA games will begin on Sept. 17 with several exhibition games and the following weekend Sept. 23-24-25, game count for real.
Busy Recruiting Month Ahead… The Dawg Daze Of Summer Showcase hosted by the National Girls Hockey League and the 2023 CPC National Preview Showcase hosted by the Collegiate Prospect Combine got underway last weekend kicking off a busy stretch of recruiting for college coaches. In addition, Manitoba hosted its top 40 U16 & U18 summer development camps in Winnipeg. September alone has something going on pretty much every single weekend. To see where college coaches may be recruiting, click HERE for our 2022-2023 Recruiting Event Calendar. We’ll be provide events for October soon. If you don’t see an event not listed, please send us an email to add it.
New Coaching Hires… It has been the busiest off-season in terms of coaching hires & departures across D-1 and D-3 ever. Here’s a list of new Head Coaches behind the bench at D1 and D3 this year. We’ll preview new assistant coach hires in our next post. The Head Coach turnover rate for D1 coaches was 14.6 %. For D3 it was 15.5%. I’m not sure why I started doing this, but ever since I became a college coach in 2001-2002, I have tracked D1 head coaching changes and there has never been fewer than 3 head coaching changes ever season since ’01-’02.
D-I Head Coaches
- Kelly Nash, Long Island University, NEWHA
- Gretchen Silverman, Post University, NEWHA
- Tara Watchorn, Stonehill College, NEWHA–New Program 22-23
- Molly Engstrom, University of Maine, Hockey East
- Britni Smith, Syracuse University, College Hockey America
- Brian Idalski, St. Cloud State Univ, WCHA
New D-I Head Coach hires who will compete in the 23-24 season
- Jack Sweeney, Assumption College, NEWHA
- Logan Bittle, Robert Morris University, College Hockey America
D-III Head Coaches
- Maddy Santore, Johnson & Wales, NEHC
- Zach Perkins, Anna Maria College, Independent
- Mollie Fitzpatrick, Plymouth State University, NEHC
- Dave LaBaff, Wilkes University, MAC
- Kalie Grant, SUNY-Canton, NEWHL
- Kevin Dessart, Lawrence University, WIAC
- Rachel Grampp, Buffalo State Univ., NEWHL
- Finlandia University, Mike Kurug, NCHA
- Elmira College, UCHC
- Lindsay Macy, St. Benedict College, MIAC
- Cole Klubek, Hilbert College, TBD
New D-III Head Coaches who were hired to start new programs (or new teams starting up)
- Heath Issacson, Mass College of Liberal Arts, 23-24
- TBD, Albertus Magnus College, 23-24
- TBD, Hood College, 23-24
Transformation Committee To Meet… Tomorrow August 31 the NCAA Transformation Committee will meet to discuss adoption of a revised package of transfer rules and changes to the ‘Infractions’ process. In an announcement made August 17, there were some concerns over purposed changes. You can read more on the proposed changes HERE.
Canada Stays With Ryan… Hockey Canada announced this week that it has signed Troy Ryan to continue as its Women’s National Team Head Coach over the next 4-year Olympic cycle. Canada will try to win its 6th Olympic gold medal in 2026 with the winter games being help in Italy. You can read more about Ryan’s announcement HERE.
Be sure to scroll down after the Ryan article as there is an interesting story about the Living Sisu Hockey League out of Montreal.
SAT & ACT National Test Dates, Etc… As the amateur hockey season across the globe begins, so too does ‘ACT and SAT Test Taking Season’. Invariably, these tests are mostly offered on Saturdays. And when does everyone play hockey – on the weekends, so conflicts can arise. But they don’t have too. Some coaches over the years have had issues with their players missing a game/practice to take a test.
Coaches… do the right thing and let your players take a test – when the player wants to.
And we would also suggest if you have not registered for a specific test yet – do it now! Here are links to the National Testing Dates in the USA for the SAT and ACT exams — SAT HERE and ACT HERE (scroll toward the bottom of the page). For international students – click the link for the test you want info on: SAT – Int’l — ACT – Int’l (left side of page).
It looks like there is a digital version of the SAT being offered for International students in 2023.
Find Your ‘Why’… Although this twitter thread is about a men’s hockey player who made it to the NHL, a lot of what he preaches is true for any player wanting to play at the most competitive level. Some GREAT stuff, just click HERE.
Until Next Time… Enjoy and Happy Reading!
-Streams for games in the ECAC can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.
-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. 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.
Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org 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.