NESCAC recruiting trends

Junior hockey has established a definite edge as the favorite training ground for NESCAC players. In recent years, it has opened up a steady but consistent lead over prep hockey as the last stop before the NESCAC. Junior hockey produced 42 of this year’s NESCAC entrants or almost 50% (49.4%) of the total, with prep hockey producing 34 new NESCAC players or 40% of the total. On the transfer front, we have identified at least 5 transfers or almost 6% of the total, with most of the transfers coming from D1 hockey programs.



On the junior hockey front, the USPHL produces almost half of the junior hockey products who joined NESCAC programs this year. For this season, 19 of the 42 junior hockey products (about  45% of the total) spent at least one year in the USPHL. A distant second is the EHL with 7 players, followed closely by the CCHL and the NAHL, with each sending 5 players to the NESCAC. Contributing very few NESCAC hockey players is the OJHL, which sent just one product to the NESCAC this year and once sent many more players to the NESCAC in a typical year.

Especially popular with NESCAC coaches were the USPHL’s Islanders Hockey Club (5 new NESCAC players), Springfield Pics (4), and the Boston Jr. Bruins, South Shore Kings, and Connecticut Jr. Rangers (with 3 each). Other junior hockey clubs sending multiple players to the NESCAC included the EHL’s Walpole Express and Philadelphia Little flyers (with 2 each), the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers (2), and the NAHL’s Wilkes Barre-/Scranton Knights (2)


On the prep front, the three main New England leagues were close in terms of numbers of new NESCAC players, with the NEPSAC at 13, followed closely by the ISL at 12 and then the Founders League at 9.

prep leagues-2009-17

This year’s prep school leader in producing NESCAC players was Choate at 5, followed by Andover, Berkshire, Milton, Rivers, and St. Sebastian’s, with 3 each. In several cases, these prep school products also played junior hockey and did not enter the NESCAC directly from prep school.

Overall, the leader in the prep world in producing NESCAC players over the 2009-17 time span is Exeter with 26 NESCAC players, followed closely by Andover at 24. Other major prep producers of NESCAC players over the 2009-17 time period include: Belmont Hill and Berkshire (22); Deerfield and Taft (21); Westminster (19); Choate (18); Milton and St Paul’s (17); St Sebastian’s (16); Hotchkiss and Northfield Mount Hermon (13); and Canterbury, Kent, Noble and Greenough, and Northwood (12).

On the transfer front, the NESCAC is receiving a steady stream of transfers from other college hockey programs, with many of them coming from D1 programs where the transfers were unable to crack the regular rotation on a consistent basis. There are 5 college transfers this year just as there were last year and the year before.

As always, there are a small number of players making the jump straight from high school hockey or midget hockey to the NESCAC.


We have just started to chart the age of new NESCAC players, with several programs favoring younger and less experienced players, most notably Middlebury, Bowdoin, and Williams (averaging 19.73, 19.86, ad 19.98 respectively over the past 3 seasons of recruits). (We calculated age based on the player’s age on the first day of the NESCAC season (Nov. 17).) In the case of Middlebury and Bowdoin, this large coterie of young and inexperienced players may provide a partial explanation for their struggles in recent years where they are at a disadvantage vis-a-vis their peers in terms of their new players’ experience and maturity. Conversely, perennial powerhouse, Trinity, has the oldest and most experienced new players, with new players averaging 20.99 over the past 3 years, followed by Conn College (20.7), Hamilton (20.58), and Amherst (20.50). In part, the disparity in age of new players reflects a greater institutional willingness to accept transfers, especially on the part of Trinity and Amherst.

NESCAC ages-2015-17


two D1 transfers and one D3 transfer to NESCAC schools at the semester break

Updated on Jan. 6, 2017, to add a Conn College transfer

Two goalies transferred to NESCAC schools at the semester break from other college programs, with former Quinnipiac goalie Sean Lawrence transferring to Colby and former Endicott goalie Connor Rodericks transferring to Conn College. Former Bentley d-man Andy Chugg transferred to Trinity at the semester break and has already seen action in Trinity’s 2-1 win over Adrian.

Lawrence has gaudy junior credentials from the USPHL (league MVP, for example, in 2014 for the Boston Jr Bruins) but saw little action at Quinnipiac (7 games over 2 seasons with weak stats). Rodericks had solid stats during two years with the Walpole Express in the EHL and got the start and the win in his first game since joining the Camels (a 5-2 win over Manhattanville on Jan. 5) although he did not see action for Endicott. Chugg played in 12 games for Bentley in his one year with the Falcons. All three should play significant roles for their new teams, with each player providing needed depth at key positions (Andrew Tucci has been spectacular in net for the Mules but, before the Lawrence transfer, Colby did not have an experienced goalie as an alternative to Tucci; Conn College has relied on a threesome of inexperienced goalies). Go here for more detail on their backgrounds.

NESCAC recruits for the class of 2021

We are at or near the end of assembling the names of NESCAC recruits for the class of 2021, with 88 names in the database. The list contains several impressive names, with  Tufts and Trinity’s incoming classes looking the strongest. Early decisions were released between Dec. 3 and 16 (round 1) and Feb. 2 and 12 (round 2); regular admission decisions were released between March 17 and 30. Transfer admissions decisions were made in late April and early May. You can submit additional names or corrections by clicking this link and using this form.

Last updated on:

Nov 16 with a Middlebury recruit
Nov 13 with a Wesleyan recruit
Nov 8 with a Tufts recruit
Nov 6 with a Colby recruit
Oct 28 with a Middlebury recruit
Oct 26 with a Williams recruit
Aug 30 with a Colby recruit

Rating the NESCAC recruits

The top 5 finishers in this year’s rankings of incoming recruits—Amherst, Bowdoin, Tufts, Middlebury, and Trinity—are close together, with only small differences separating each of them.

Two of the bottom-five schools (Hamilton and Colby at 9th and 10th) have deep rosters of experienced returning players, with very few openings in the regular rotation, and should not suffer from having relatively small incoming classes. Conversely, 2 of the teams in the top 5 (Amherst and Middlebury) suffered heavy graduation losses so taking it easy on the recruiting front was not an option for either school.

The team likely to suffer the most serious consequences from below-average recruiting is Conn College and its 7th ranked class of recruits. The Camels suffered great losses to graduation, losing players who scored 59% of its goals and its no. 1 goalie to graduation, and will likely continue to struggle to qualify for post-season play. Continue reading

Recruits — class of 2020

We have likely collected most of the names of recruits for the class of 2020, with 78 names in our database (last updated on Sept. 1, 2016, with 1 Amherst deletion and 1 Amherst addition). You can go here to submit the names and other information about incoming recruits. We have reached the end in terms of data collection for incoming recruits (there may be an additional name or two when the rosters are posted), with the biggest surprise being the strong representation of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) products in the class of 2020 (6 incoming players played in the BHCL). Several NESCACs  look to have strong incoming classes. As always, we are most grateful for the cooperation and assistance we receive from so many, whether it is parents, other relatives, teammates, coaches, or others, in compiling this list.



The top 4 finishers in this year’s rankings of the incoming classes—Amherst, Trinity, Wesleyan, and Bowdoin—are bunched very close together, with little difference among the 4 and several outstanding new players for each school that are likely to sparkle over the next 4 seasons.

Two of the schools with subpar recruiting years have rosters of experienced returning players (Colby and Middlebury), with very few openings in the regular rotation, so likely their performance this year will not be adversely by slightly below-par recruiting for the class of 2019. Two of the top four (Trinity and Bowdoin) have big holes to fill in their line-ups due to graduation (Trinity on the blue line and Bowdoin in goal and on the front line) so no surprise that they brought in impressive new talent. The biggest surprise is Wesleyan, which had an excellent recruiting year although in the past it has tended not to win the recruiting battles. This may speak to Wesleyan’s recent decision to upgrade its sports program in general, which has manifested itself in resurgent football, baseball, and basketball programs. Continue reading

NESCAC recruiting trends at glance

Junior hockey and prep school hockey made almost equal contributions to the class of 2019, with junior hockey sending 39 new candidates to NESCAC schools while prep hockey contributed 37 prospects.  The remaining 4 prospects come from the college ranks (2 D1 transfers), midget hockey (1), and high school hockey (1). The close relationship between the junior hockey and prep school numbers indicates that perhaps last year’s spike in favor of junior hockey (46 junior hockey versus 34 prep products) was aberrational and not necessarily indicative of a new trend.

In the 7 years covered by our data collection (starting with the class that entered in the fall of 2009), the high for prep hockey was 54 in 2010 and the low was 34 in 2014. For junior hockey, the low was registered in 2011 (an anemic 23) before doubling to a high of 46 in 2014 (class of 2018) and then settling back to 39 this year (the class of 2019). It is important to keep in mind that a substantial majority of junior hockey products are also prep school products, opting for another year or two of junior hockey after finishing their prep careers.  For purposes of our data collection, a prep school product refers to a player who went from prep school to college without spending time in junior hockey.  Here is a chart which shows the relationship between junior hockey and prep school hockey in incoming NESCAC classes for the past seven years (2009-15) and the general trend in favor of junior hockey:

NESCAC recruit trends-source-2015-09-18

Turning to the prep leagues, the Independent School League (ISL) provides a steady stream of players for the NESCAC, sending between 10 and 16 players to the NESCAC every year for the past 7 years. The Founders League is a similarly reliable source of new talent for the NESCAC but sends slightly fewer players (9 to 14 every year for the past 7 years). The rest of the New England prep league (what we refer to as the NEPSAC) has been more erratic, sending as few as 6 players (2014) and as many as 23 (2010). For this fall, the 3 prep sources produced roughly equal numbers, with the ISL leading the way at 14, followed by the Founders with 11 and the NEPSAC with 10. Here is a chart which shows the relative contributions of the main prep leagues to NESCAC rosters over the past 7 years (we cleaned up our data for past seasons so it only includes players who ended up on a NESCAC roster):

NESCAC recruit trends-prep school leagues-2015-09-18

Among the prep schools, St. Paul’s (ISL) is sending 5 new players (3 who graduated in 2015 and 2 others who graduated earlier and have been playing junior hockey). Next in line was Berkshire (NEPSAC), with 4 recruits, followed by Exeter (NEPSAC) and Andover (NEPSAC), each of which is sending 3 new players to NESCAC schools. Another 11 schools contributed 2 players each, giving  sense of the number and range of prep schools that make up the NESCAC pipeline.  Last year’s leading producer of NESCAC players, Belmont Hill (ISL), which sent 6 new players to various NESCAC schools in the fall of 2014, took the year off entirely.

Over the past 7 seasons, the top producers of NESCAC players in the prep world have been Exeter and Belmont Hill (21 each), followed by Taft and Andover (19 each), then Deerfield (17), Westminster (16),  St Paul’s (15), Berkshire (14), St Sebastian’s, Milton, and Canterbury (12 each), Lawrence (11), Northwood and Northfield Mount Hermon (10 each), and Hotchkiss, Noble and Greenough, and Millbrook (9 each). The list of prep and high schools where NESCAC players have played hockey in the past 7 years now totals an impressive 122 schools.