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Post #18 – Monday 12/7

In This Post…

  • Weekend Scores
  • Video Highlights
  • Program Update
  • New Blog Page Coming Soon – Recruiting

Weekend Scores

COVID strikes again… Not all games on the schedule posted Friday were played. COVID protocol caused the postponements of three series: Minnesota/Wisconsin, MSU-Mankato/Bemidji, and RIT/Mercyhurst.

How The Top 10 fared… Teams in the top 10 went 8-2-1 this weekend, the two losses going to Clarkson and Boston University at the hands of Colgate and New Hampshire respectively.

Overtime Play… There was one 3-on-3 overtime period played on Sunday between Syracuse and Penn State with multiple point-blank chances both ways. Hard to argue 3-on-3 isn’t entertaining hockey to watch. Be sure to watch the highlights!

Thursday Scores & Highlights – 12/3

CLARKSON 2ATCOLGATE 3BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
LINDENWOOD 2ATROBERT MORRIS 4BOXNO VIDEO

Friday Scores & Highlights – 12/4

LINDENWOOD 0ATROBERT MORRIS 4BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 
BOSTON COLLEGE 5ATUCONN 3BOXNO VIDEO 
BOSTON UNIV. 2ATNEW  HAMPSHIRE 1BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTSPOSTGAME
HOLY CROSS 0ATPROVIDENCE 2BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 
ST. CLOUD STATE 0ATMN-DULUTH 4BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTSPOSTGAME
MSU-MANKATOATBEMIDJIPPD  
WISCONSINATMINNESOTAPPD  
PPD = COVID Postponement

Saturday Scores & Highlights – 12/5

SYRACUSE 1ATPENN STATE 2BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 
UCONN 1ATBOSTON COLLEGE 2BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTSPOSTGAME
PROVIDENCE 4ATHOLY CROSS 1BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 
COLGATE 2ATCLARKSON 2BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 
ST. CLOUD STATE 0ATMN-DULUTH 5BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTSPOSTGAME
BOSTON UNIV. 3ATNEW HAMPSHIRE 4BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTSPOSTGAME
RITATMERCYHURSTPPD  
MSU-MANKATOATBEMIDJIPPD  
WISCONSINATMINNESOTAPPD  
PPD = COVID Postponement

Sunday Scores & Highlights – 12/6

SYRACUSE 2ATPENN STATE 2BOXVIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
RITATMERCYHURSTPPD 
PPD = COVID Postponement

Program Update…

With everyone gone from campus and at home, there is not a whole lot going on. Our players continue to train, get ice-time when the can and are allowed. The admissions process for our class of 2021 commits has been under way and should be finishing up soon. Once all players have been accepted and confirmed, Mark will announce the class. While NCAA rules prohibit us from naming names, let’s just say we’re very excited about this ’21 group. We’ll also be adding 5 new players from the class of ’20 who chose to defer their enrollment due to COVID this year.

Recruiting Blog Page Coming Soon…

To date, we’ve posted quite a bit about recruiting covering several different areas. We’ve also received quite a bit of feedback on those posts–all positive I’m happy to say. But there have been a lot of questions from coaches and parents alike, ‘where can I find xyz’ type questions. So to help, we’re putting together a ‘Recruiting Resource’ page together. Think one-stop-shop for the nitty-gritty on all things related to the topic of recruiting–NCAA Rules, documents, and other links to helpful resources to help guide anyone through the process. Once it out, we’ll let you know, so be on the lookout!

Until Next Time…

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Post #10

***Breaking NCAA News: Recruiting Dead Period Extended Until April 15, 2021***

DI and DIII Women’s Coaches Have Monthly Zoom w/ NCAA and Conference Commissioners, No New Women’s Cancellations or Postponements

At 6:20pm tonight the NCAA’s DI Council announced it is extending the recruiting dead period until April 15, 2021. It was set to expire January 1. You can read the NCAA’s announcement HERE. Interestingly the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania Athletic Director, M. Grace Calhoun, is the NCAA DI Council chair. The dead period means no off-campus evaluation or face-to-face contacts for DI coaches and no official or unofficial visits to campus for recruits and their families. DI coaches were hoping for a April 1 or earlier date leaving the all of April when many high-level events take place.

We are coming up on more than 24-hours without a NCAA DI women’s hockey related COVID postponement or season cancellation. Needless to say it’s been a tough week for positive news. Women’s coaches across DIII and DI, the five D-I conference commissioners, along with members of the NCAA all met today for their monthly Zoom to discuss national tournament and recruiting issues. 10 games is the minimum needed to be played to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Conferences that start the year with at least 4 teams will retain its automatic bid. The ECAC stands at four, Hockey East at ten, WCHA at seven, CHA at five, and NEWHA at five as well. One piece of good news did come out as Hockey East commissioner Steve Metcalf announced all Hockey East women’s games would be streamed live FOR FREE this season. We’ll get the details and pass them along.

Men’s DI hockey took a bit of a COVID hit in the last 24-hours. Colorado College is pausing all hockey activity after a player tested positive. CC is scheduled to be a part of the NCHC bubble Dec. 1 in Omaha. Sacred Heart has postponed its games with AIC and Quinnipiac this weekend as well as games with Army slated for Nov. 27-28, after a few a small number of cases and contact tracing came back on the team.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our regularly scheduled post with an update on the program as we wind down the Fall semester and part-II of our Understanding the Process series on how academics play into our recruiting process.

Stay safe and be well everyone.

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Post #9

Union College Cancels 20-21 Season, RIT Reconsiders, 2021 Women’s & Men’s Beanpot Tourney Cancelled

Another ECAC Hockey member school has cancelled its 20-21 season. Union College becomes the 10th DI program to put hockey on pause for the 20-21 season. Athletic Director Jim McLaughlin made the announcement just before noon today. You can read it HERE. The ECAC is now down to 4 teams on both the women’s and men’s side–Clarkson, Colgate, Quinnipiac, and St. Lawrence.

RIT which announced it was cancelling its women’s and men’s 20-21 hockey seasons on Nov. 9, is now reconsidering its decision. RIT president David Munson states as long as the state of New York accepts Atlantic Hockey and College Hockey America’s return-to-play plans, hockey for the 20-21 season will continue at RIT. Details can be found on USCHO.com HERE.

Another hockey casualty of the pandemic is not a hockey program, but an in-season tournament, The Beanpot. The 2021 four-school annual event in February between BC, BU, Harvard, and Northeastern has been cancelled. The Boston Globe has the story HERE.

Stay tuned later this week for our regularly scheduled post with an update on the program and part-II of our Understanding the Process series on how academics play into our recruiting process.

Stay safe and be well everyone.

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Post #8

Another COVID Casualty, RPI Cancels 20-21 Season

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) becomes the 9th women’s and men’s hockey program to cancel it’s 20-21 season due to COVID concerns. RPI, a member of the ECAC, made the announcement Monday afternoon. You can read the official announcement HERE.

This leaves the ECAC with five remaining schools planning, at least for now, to play—Clarkson, Colgate, Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence, and Union. The ECAC lost six schools when the Ivy League announced it would cancel all winter sports last week.

One has to wonder if more schools will follow the six Ivy programs, RIT, RPI, and Post University with cancelling their seasons. If you include St. Cloud and Vermont who have recently postponed upcoming games between Bemidji St., UCONN, BC, and BU respectively, that’s 15 programs affected already. 41% of DI teams impacted.

We’ll keep you updated on more COVID related developments.

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Post #7

Nov. 16 UPDATE as of 8:30am…

  • COVID Already Impacting NCAA Games and Programs

Games have been postponed this Friday between St. Cloud and Bemidji in St. Cloud, MN as at least 8 St. Cloud players tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. Players who tested positive and meet the criteria for mandatory quarantine must remain in quarantine for up to 14-days. St. Cloud is scheduled to play its next series Nov. 27-28 vs. Mankato in St. Cloud. You can read more on this developing story HERE.

The University of Vermont Athletic Department announced late Sunday evening it will not compete in any winter sports until Dec. 18. An article in the Burlington Free-Press [Read Here] links the decision not to any outbreak of cases with any one team, but more out of a “…most responsible course of action”. Vermont has seen a spike in cases statewide which has prompted a change in restaurant dining and travel restrictions, all recreational sports has been paused until Dec. 15t as well. High school winter sports, which usually begin in late November, have now been pushed to begin Jan. 11. As one of the largest employers in the state, you can bet UVM has been in close communication with VT state health officials in how to not make matters worse. I suspect teams traveling to UVM was a major concern as states in the new england region have cases surging.

Hockey East had just announced on Nov. 11 its 20-21 women’s and men’s return to play protocol and schedule. Looks like that will be getting a major adjustment. No word on if missed games will be made up.

As we stated in our previous post, we figured hockey would have the same game postponement issues as football. Looks like hockey is in for a bumpy ride.

We will continue to update and monitor any other related COVID college hockey developments.

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Post #6

IN THIS POST…

  • NCAA/COVID Update
  • President-Elect Biden Taps 3 With Yale Ties

NCAA/COVID Update

It looks like NCAA DI and DIII teams are going to give it ‘the ‘old college try’ and start playing games. Some already have. DI women’s and men’s conferences have been announcing schedules over the last few weeks, and the puck finally dropped Friday night in South Bend on the men’s side as Wisconsin traveled and took on Notre Dame. I have to imagine a charter flight was involved for Wisco.

As it stands now (Sunday, Nov. 15) there are 8 DI women’s teams and 2 DI men’s programs who will not be playing hockey this year. Here is what we know.

Women

  • Ivy League–Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale
  • College Hockey America (CHA)–Rochester Institute of Technology
  • New England Women’s Hockey Alliance (NEWHA)–Post University

The WCHA and Hockey East have announced their intended schedules. Hockey East came out with a full season schedule while the WCHA announced a schedule through December. You can click the links below to find them. The ECAC and CHA have yet to announce anything official. The NEWHA hasn’t appeared to announce anything official but their official website does list games for Sacred Heart.

WCHA-Announcement Schedule | Hockey East-Announcement Schedule | NEWHA

Men

  • Ivy League–Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale
  • Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC)–Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)–Alaska Anchorage

The Ivy League announced Thursday evening it would cancel all winter sports. I doubt there were many who thought the Ivy League would have decided anything different. It was only a matter of time before they pulled the trigger. On both the women’s and men’s side the ECAC now drops to 6 teams from 12. Additionally on the women’s side, Post University made its announcement to cancel Winter and Spring sports back in October sighting safety concerns due to the pandemic. With Posts’ women’s team out, the NEWHA drops to 5 teams from 6. Post also decided to move to all-virtual classes and a hope to return to competition in 2021. You can read Posts’ official announcement HERE. The leadership at RIT made a similar announcement just a week ago on Nov. 9. to cancel all winter sports for the 2020-2021 season. You can read that HERE. The CHA now drops from 6 teams to 5. On the men’s side, Atlantic Hockey where the RIT men play will drop to 10 from 11. The University at Alaska-Anchorage in the WCHA cancelled its indoor winter sports season, details can be found HERE. And in doing so, likely cancelled the men’s hockey program altogether. 20-21 was supposed to be the men’s hockey teams’ last season. UAA announced an athletic restructuring in August that would cancel four sport programs, men’s hockey being one of them.

As we’ve seen with the college football season, I think college hockey can expect some of the same with game cancellations/postponements, etc. There are already a few games on the men’s side involving Army that were/will be postponed. Unlike football, hockey is an indoor sport and thus the chance for infection rises. But don’t expect any fans at any games this year, I haven’t heard of a conference allowing them. Interestingly, men’s teams in the NCHC will try an NHL-like bubble with all 8 teams heading to the University of Nebraska-Omaha to play games until late December. You can read more about that HERE.

The first games on the DI women’s side will happen Friday Nov. 20 as UNH hosts Boston College at 4:30PM. If you need your college hockey viewing fix, you can catch the game live on NESN – the New England Sports Network. And speaking of TV, with the NHL not having games until who knows when, I wonder if sports networks will add more women’s hockey to it’s scheduling line-up to fill the hockey void. Let’s hope so.

President-Elect Biden Taps 3 With Yale Ties

Yale University has long been a name synonymous with cutting-edge research in the field of public health. As one the foremost medical research universities in the world, The Yale School of Medicine stepped up to help fight the the COVID–19 pandemic in ways that are helping save lives. And now three people with close ties to Yale Medicine have been named to President-Elect Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, and given a chance to help quell surges in infections, ensure approval of safe vaccines, and protect at-risk populations.

Joining the President-Elect’s advisory board: Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate professor of internal medicine, public health, and management — will co-chair the COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board with Dr. Vivek Murthy ’03 M.B.A. ’03 M.D., a former U.S. surgeon general, and Dr. David Kessler, a former dean of Yale School of Medicine and past commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You can read Yale’s announcement HERE.

This is just one example of many that illustrate the type of path one can have in attending Yale. And it’s not just in Medicine, it’s in business, law, science, and the many the other excellent disciplines and experiences Yale offers.

Until next time… stay safe and be well.

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Post #5

IN THIS POST…

  • The Residential College Experience at Yale
  • Implications of NCAA’s Extra Year

The Residential College Experience at Yale

At the heart of the ‘Yale Experience’ is the residential college housing system. Dating back more than 75 years, the first seven of Yale’s fourteen residential colleges were built. Yes, we did say colleges. But don’t think school when you hear the term ‘colleges’, think dormitory housing where all Yale undergrads live. Each residential college has anywhere from four to five hundred undergrads living in them and look like small castles than your average college dorm. Grassy courtyards, sculptured stone archways, and outdoor seating to lounge and study are just some of the features most residential colleges have. Finished in 2017, the last two residential colleges allowed Yale to increase its undergrad enrollment from 5,700 to 6,200. With the exception of taking classes, your residential college is your home away from home.

Benjamin Franklin College – 2017
Movie Room in Benjamin Franklin College

Freshman are assigned at random to one of fourteen residential colleges and most freshman will live on ‘Old Campus’ before moving into their official residential college. Freshman do not get the chance to select their roommates, thus there is no preferential athletic housing. This gives our players a chance to forge relationships with non-athletes outside the team and within their small residential housing community. Once in your official college residence, students share a ‘suite style’ space with four to six other students. You and your suitemates share a common living area, bathroom facilities, and everyone has their own bedroom. In addition to your living spaces, all residential colleges have their own dining hall, gym, library, study spaces, computer lounge, activity spaces, laundry facilities and much, much more. So, yes that means there are FOURTEEN DINING HALLS on campus and students may eat at any one they want.

Berkeley College Dining Hall

In addition to where you sleep, eat, and study, your residential college is where you really become part of a communiy and connected to Yale. Each residential college has a Head of College (HOC) and a Dean who’s family’s live in and are a part of the residential college community. The HOC is the chief administrative officer, a member of the Yale faculty, and responsible for the physical and mental well-being of the colleges’s students as well as fostering the social, cultural, and academic character. Deans serve as the cheif academic and personal advisor to each student where he or she can help consult on course selection, academic track, as well as connecting each student to areas of acdemic support.

The coveted Tyng Cup gets the competitive athletic residential college juices flowing. Intramurral sports are a big deal at Yale, as are varisty NCAA sports. Since 1933, the Tyng Cup as its called, is awarded to the most athletic college. Colleges compete in sports such as soccer, baskettball, cross-country, tabletennis, pickleball, and many others. Schedules are made, teams selected, and standings are kept. Needless to say, the colleges take ‘The Tyng’ very seriously. Click HERE for more info about each of Yale’s residential colleges.

Implications of NCAA’s Extra Year…

The NCAA’s decision to give hockey players an extra year of eligibility has created quite the conundrum for coaches as they try manage their rosters over the next four years. Most programs expected the extra year given the NCAA did the same for last year’s Spring and this years Fall athletes. One thing we can assume is the sport is going to get a little bit messy. We dive-in below and break down what this decision really means, who it’s going to impact, the potential implications, and the impact our program at Yale.

What Did The NCAA Do? They gave every Freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior who is playing this season an additional year of eligibility. For players who plan to graduate this Spring, they could return to their current institution for a 5th year, except for the Ivy’s and one or two other schools–we’ll get into why later. Or, they could enter the transfer portal and go elsewhere as a ‘graduate transfer’ student. What the NCAA did not do was change the number of scholarships allowed. That number will stay at 18 full scholarships. Thus creating a financial issue for coaches who want to bring back seniors but already gave scholarship money out.

Who Does This Impact? For starters, coaching staffs are now put in the awkward position of deciding whether or not they want to return any of their seniors. They’ll also have to decide how big of a roster they want. Add some returning seniors with your incoming freshman class and you have a whole extra line and pair of D or more. Thats a lot of extra bodies in the stands to manage. Seniors are now faced with deciding if they want to come back, or transfer elsewhere. Returning players have to grapple with perhaps waiting a bit longer to get that extra ice-time they were counting on once the seniors moved on. Incoming freshmen could be seriously impacted as well. In order to keep roster numbers manageable they could be asked to take a gap year. This type of situation leaves coaches like yourselves impacted. How many players were you expecting to move on to college and now looking for a place to play next year? It’s a trickle-down effect, one senior comes back and it can change a lot. Three or four come back, and you see how it can have a big impact.

What are the implications? The NCAA’s decision really created a four year roster-management and financial juggling act. DI programs will have to manage appropriate roster sizes by deciding how many seniors and incoming freshman they may or may not want to show up in the Fall. Financially, coaches will need to figure out how much scholarship $ (if any) they can afford to give a returning senior. That may mean possibly a change in scholarship $ amounts of incoming freshmen or returner to make it work. Incoming freshman could get asked to take a post grad/gap year and delay their enrollment. Not the ideal situation for a freshman who was planning to come to campus and start their collegiate hockey careers. Some of these kids have been committed to their respective programs for years. Overall, it puts a real strain on the coaches and the relationships with their players. And this isn’t something that is a one year thing… this will need to be dealt with each year for the next four years.

What does this decision mean for the Ivy’s & others? The NCAA’s decision doesn’t really impact the Ivy’s in terms of players getting an extra year. What did impact the Ivy’s is a rule which states all athletes are required to complete their undergraduate degree in 8 semesters, or 4 years. Graduate student-athletes are not allowed by Ivy League rules, so if an Ivy athlete is on-track to graduate in the Spring ’21, is enrolled and taking classes, they wouldn’t be allowed to return to their current institution and finish their playing eligibility. Now that the Ivy League has cancelled winter sports, all Ivy graduating seniors could transfer to another school. There are however, very few Ivy women’s hockey seniors in that situation. Most Ivy players chose to take the year off. Cornell did not. Their entire team is back on campus, enrolled and taking classes. You can bet those graduating seniors will want to find a home. Any school that doesn’t have a graduate program for its seniors to come back to or decided not to compete this year is in a similar situation. Colgate comes to mind as it doesn’t have a graduate school for its athletes and Post University and RIT are other DI schools not having seasons.

Most of our players at Yale decided to take a year-long ‘leave of absence’ (LOA) which means not being enrolled or taking classes; it’s like a pause for the entire academic year. Players on an LOA still maintain their athletic eligibility. We did have 4 freshmen who chose to defer their enrollment until 2021. Freshmen were allowed to live on campus in the Fall but aren’t allowed to do so in the Spring. They feeling amongst a lot of athletes was they wanted the full ‘Yale experience’. They wanted to live on campus, go to class in-person with world-class professors, play as normal a hockey season as possible, and be with their teammates/friends.

Needless to say it’s going to be a very interesting year.

Until next time everyone, enjoy your weekend.

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Post #4

IN THIS POST…

  • The Passing of Wayne Dean and Rick Schwartz
  • Ivy League Officially Cancels Winter Sports

The Passing of Wayne Dean and Rick Schwartz

The Yale women’s hockey program was rocked with the sudden passing of two of the programs’ biggest supporters this week. Word came Monday that long-time former Deputy Athletic Director Wayne Dean, who oversaw the women’s and men’s hockey programs, passed away last weekend from a heart attack. He had just retired from Yale in July. He was affectionately known as ‘Deaner’ and synonymous with the Yale hockey programs for over 30 years. Although our staff only had a short time with Wayne as our administrator, his passion for Yale hockey and willingness to help our players in any way possible will be sorely missed. You can read Yale’s official statement HERE.

The news on Tuesday didn’t get any better as we learned that Rick Schwartz, father of former Yale women’s hockey alum Mandi Schwartz, also passed away of a heart attack earlier this week while at home. Rick loved the game and seeing his kids thrive in the sport. Mandi played parts of three seasons for the Bulldogs from 2008-2011 and eventually passed away due to acute myeloid leukemia in April of 2011. After Mandi’s death, Rick and his wife Carol became heavily involved with cancer research and the Mandi Schwartz Foundation helping find bone marrow matches through drives held on campus each Spring at Yale and in Canada. I last had the chance to see Rick in December at the Mandi Schwartz Memorial Tournament at Notre Dame in Wilcox, SK where Mandi attended. He was so proud to show me old photos of Mandi up on the walls of the rink. Also proud to show off his newly received Stanley Cup ring from the St. Louis Blues. His youngest son Jaden plays for the Blues. You can read more about Rick and the Schwartz family HERE.

Our sympathies go out to the Dean and Schwartz family’s during this difficult time.

Ivy League Officially Cancels Winter Sports…

Thursday evening the Ivy League Council of Presidents announced:

  • The cancelation of the winter sports season
  • Fall sports will not compete in the ’21 Spring semester
  • Spring sport competition will be postponed until at least the end of February 2021

Yale Athletic Director Vicky Chun and Yale University President Peter Salovey broke the news to all winter athletes and coaches in a Zoom call. Sighting its commitment to the health and safety for all student-athletes as well as the greater campus and local community, the Ivy League Council of Presidents needed to take this action.

Teams will still be able to practice and train in accordance with each institutions health and safety protocols as well as local authority guidelines. This decision does not change much for our program as most of our players were not enrolled this season. No timetable has been given for a decision on a return for Fall or Winter sports for the 21-22 season.

You can read the Ivy League’s official announcement HERE.

Until next time….

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Post #3

IN THIS POST…

  • Who Likes to Shop?
  • Player Identification/Evaluation – Understanding The Process
  • NCAA/Team COVID Update

Who Likes to Shop…

Most colleges and universities have strict core-course requirements that students must fulfill in order to graduate. Little flexibility is left for the student to choose and explore classes they may want to take within their academic areas of interest. The core of Yale’s academic philosophy is the complete opposite. Yale encourages students to explore their intellectual curiosity and discover new and exciting interests. One of the ways Yale motivates students to accomplish this is through the unique experience called ‘Shopping Period’. For the first 10-days or so of each semester, students of Yale College are provided an opportunity take any class they want. And there is no shortage of classes to shop as there are some 2,000 offered each semester. Undergrads get a great feel for the professors’ teaching style and what the workload is like, etc. This environment of choice is where the students foster a sense of control for their academic priorities and direction. A normal course load is 4 to 5 classes per semester and it’s not uncommon for students to ‘shop’ 5-7 classes before finalizing their schedule. Now, there are some academic requirements; Yale calls these distribution requirements. But again, Yale allows students to choose the requirements they want as long as the requirement is met.

Here is a link to learn more. Just click HERE.

Player Identification/Evaluation – Understanding The Process…

In this first installment of our 4-part ‘Understanding The Process’ series we tackle player evaluation and identification. In our last issue we said these two pieces were the most important in our recruitment process. The reason… It’s tough to have success when you don’t recruit the right players. Identify the wrong players or do a poor job in our evaluating and the next few years can be very difficult to recover from. Understanding our approach will help you be better judges of who will be a great fit for Yale.

Let’s start with a point of clarification about the term ‘recruiting’. I’m sure you hear the term recruiting a lot… ‘…going recruiting’, ‘you guys done recruiting? ‘How’s recruiting going?’. Most people associate recruiting with evaluating and just watching players, which is partly true. For us, we don’t think of recruiting as solely evaluating players. Recruiting is more about ALL of the things that happen after we have identified a player and know we’ll have a strong interest in her. Quite honestly, it’s the more ‘salesy’ side of the process. Ultimately recruiting is everything that helps get someone we want to Yale. So, think about a multi-step process with a ton of communication between our staff, the player, her family, and anyone else important helping in her decision – like you all.

OK—On to player evaluation.

We’re often asked by parents and youth coaches, ‘What do you guys look for in a player?’ The short answer is a lot of things. Our approach always starts with a few questions: 1) How many players at each position do we need to recruit in a given year and 2) What type of player do we want at those positions. Players we wind up having an interest in do have to have a minimum fundamental skill set we feel has the potential to translate well to our style of play. Here are a few fundamental skills we evaluate.

Skating ability… Probably the #1 fundamental skill we look at. Having above average speed, quickness, and agility is a must for our style of play. We want to play an aggressive, attacking style. With the puck our forwards need to evade defenders and move up ice with pace and attack the net/slot area. Without, forwards need to jump on loose pucks and close off time and space forechecking. Our defensemen need to skate backwards almost as fast or faster than they can forwards while having great lateral mobility and smooth transitions backward to forward and vice versa. They have to move their feet in the defensive zone to close gaps and lanes to the net while defending. With the puck we want our defensemen to begin the breakout moving their feet to start our attack up the ice.

Passing/Puck management/control/protection… Especially as a wing, we want to be able to skate at top speed with the puck and make a play. Can you keep possession while being defended against and find an open player to have your pass connect? Do you give the puck away and panic? Can you catch a bad pass? Does the play always end with you or can you keep the play going? Our defensemen have to be able to break the puck out, they can get beat to pucks in our end and they can’t present the puck to a forechecker and have it stripped. Offensively, Defensemen need to catch passes and be ready to distribute the puck while moving like D to D along the blueline.

Shooting… Both forwards and defensemen need accuracy. Do you have proper shot mechanics? A quick release? Can you score? As a Defensemen, can your shot get to the net with some velocity or are you always hitting shin pads?  

Play away from the puck… Can defend in all 3 zones? Are you disciplined or running around the ice? Do you take good angles when attacking the puck carrier?

COMPETE level… This is probably #2 for us. If you don’t consistently compete, you won’t be a good fit. What does it mean to compete? It means how hard are you working to accomplish the task at hand. How hard do you work to get the puck back? How hard do you work to keep the puck and keep the play going? Do you work hard every shift or do you take shifts or entire games off? Do you get beat easily and give up on a play or on 1 on 1? How tough are you to play against?

Last one… can you play within a structure? This is a skill but it takes a bit more to uncover than just watching a few games. It’s vitally important we answer this question before making someone a part of the program. Can a player learn a system and be disciplined enough to execute it? If you just play by what ‘feels’ right and drift to wherever on the ice because you ‘felt’ you should be there or if you are positionally undisciplined you won’t be a good fit. We teach a structured game, we have systems for all three zones with and without the puck, and we need players who are willing to be disciplined and buy into the learning process of ‘the why behind the what’ and be able to execute it.

As we watch players, we try and answer these questions and in evaluating them begin to put players into categories or groups. Groups like the offensive minded skilled forward who creates offense or is a pure goal scorer and responsible defensively enough to play in your top-9 somewhere. Then there are the ‘grinders’ who are more like a 3rd, 4th, or 5th line type player who are more defensive in nature or great forecheckers, can kill penalties but not a real threat to score. Defensemen we have those who we see in our top two pairs who can play a regular shift, match up vs. your opponent’s top line, manage a power play, kill penalties – the type who can do it all. We also find those who are purely defensive minded, can move the puck well, make good decisions, can kill penalties, but ay lack some offensive ability

Now through our evaluations, we’ll identify the players who make our list.

Player Identification

Girls/women’s hockey is kind of like NASCAR. You know certain events take place every year at the same time and place with generally the same teams. Unless its 2020 and there’s a world-wide pandemic. Then things change. More on that in a future post.

Our player identification philosophy is fairly simple. Let’s identify players we think can fit certain team needs and develop a really good comfort level through our evaluations. In our approach, we wind up working a bit of a backwards process.

First, like mentioned above, we ask a few questions. We assess our program from a 30,000-foot view, a state-of-the-program-look if you will. We ask questions like, based on our competitive goals, did we take a step(s) forward or backward this season? Second, we define what our positional numbers and intangible needs are. How many G, D, and F’s do we want to bring in and what types of intangibles or ‘X’ factors do we want—2 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goalie with leadership potential, who have high character and are absolute hockey junkies. Answering these types of questions tells us who we need to IDENTIFY.

As a staff, we have certain goals for specific events/games we attend and always have a plan for what we want to get out of an event. Some tournaments and showcases are great because we’ll get a to see a handful of players we’re really interested in play against excellent competition. Others, we’ll see a large number of players in a particular age group for the very first time. No matter what our goal is we always have an eye out for who plays well and impacts the game.

So, how does someone get identified?

The easiest way to get identified and on our list—find a way to positively impact the game somehow. That doesn’t mean be a puck-hog and do everything on your own. That will get you identified alright… as a player we have no interest in. Honestly, just keep it simple. Make a play when you should make one. Pass and shoot when you should, defend well without the puck. Play the game the way it should be played. It sounds easy but, playing well at your position and showcasing the fundamental skill areas mentioned above in the player evaluation section goes a long way. Do that consistently over time, and you just went from being ‘identified’ to a player of ‘interest’.

NCAA/Team COVID Update…

-The NCAA’s Division I Council announced last week student-athletes who compete in a 20-21 Winter sport will receive both an extra year of competition and an additional year in which to complete it. You can read the announcement HERE. Essenttially winter sport athletes are getting a free year in 20-21 to compete and not have it count against their NCAA eligibility. How that will exactly impact Ivy League Winter Sport athletes is unknown at this time.

-Division I and III coaches had their monthly Town Hall Zoom meeting earlier last week. There was a lot of talk about the recruiting dead period and looming January 1 expiry date. Sounds like the NCAA is eager to hear from coaches’ associations about what they want recruiting to look like after Jan. 1. Go back to normal or create a modified model. Each women’s DI hockey conference was asked to make recommendations which will be forwarded to the NCAA. Interestingly, DII and DIII schools have been allowed to recruit this whole time since the pandemic began.

Last week the Division III New England Small School Athletic Conference announced it was cancelling the winter sport season. You can read the announcement HERE. With the rise in positive cases and hospitalizations rising over the past few weeks, it will be interesting to see how DI schools and conferences handle start dates. As as a staff we have been watching a lot of video lately. There are some hockey events coming up with the MN NIT this past weekend and US/Canada Cup in Detroit the next weekend. The rumor out of Minnesota is the high school season will begin Nov. 30th.

Until next time everyone, enjoy your weekend…

Featured

Post #2

IN THIS POST…

  • ‘Spark’ Some Interest
  • Numbers Don’t Lie
  • Understanding The Process
  • NCAA COVID Update

‘Spark’ Some Interest…

Coaches, one area of recruiting we feel strongly about is helping educate you about Yale University, how our recruiting process works, and what our hockey program is all about.

So to help, we created the Yale Women’s Hockey ‘Spark’ document—a visually stunning informational web-based tool to explore and share with families you think might be a great fit for Yale. Designed by asst. coach Danielle Blanchard, you’ll swipe up-and-down on everything from how housing works with our 14 residential colleges, to what it’s like to be a member of the program, as well as how the academic, admissions and financial aid process works. This is jammed-packed with videos, testimonials, and additional links. So click the link below and ‘Spark’ someone’s interest!

Yale Women’s Hockey ‘Spark’ Document.

Numbers Don’t Lie…

To give you a sense of just how much improvement there was a season ago, here is a comparison between last year vs. the 18-19 season as well as some individual player stats. The numbers tell quite a story.

Understanding The Process…

Getting to an Ivy League school such as Yale isn’t easy. Great grades, awesome teacher recommendations, and high ACT or SAT scores are just a few of the things players will need to even be considered for admission. But there is so much more to the process as a hockey player and since recruiting is not an exact science, it can be confusing. So, to help shed some light and understand how our ‘process’ works, we’ve identified a few ‘key’ pieces, in somewhat of an order, we think you should pay attention to. We’ll expand on each one in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. You won’t want to miss this 4-part series.
     1) Player Identification/Evaluation–I put ‘Player Identification/Evaluation’ number one because honestly, it’s what happens first and is the most important because we want to win.
     2) Academics–Is the second thing we look at. Who’s a great fit hockey-wise… that’s the easiest to answer. Can she get admitted to Yale? That is quite a bit harder.
     3) Affordability–Know this, a Yale education can be affordable and you don’t have to be a millionaire. We want to educate and answer the ‘affordability’ question early. 
     4) Do You Want Yale?–We want players who want to be at Yale. Because they truly want a world class education and help establish a tradition of excellence for our hockey program within the Ivy League, in the ECAC, and nationally in the NCAA.

We’ll tackle Player Identification/Evaluation next week… stay tuned!

NCAA COVID Update…

-Yale University will have a direct impact on NCAA sports, such as Basketball and Hockey, potentially having their respective seasons.
-Hockey conference commissioners are watching as the NCAA announced an update to its ‘Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Basketball document — read it HERE

The Yale University Medical School teamed up with the NBA earlier this summer and developed a low-cost, quick turnaround time, saliva based COVID test called SalivaDirect. Each test cost are somewhere between $5-$30 and results are known in a matter of hours. In its resocialization updated document, the NCAA recommended SalivaDirect was one of the tests sport programs could use as they develop safe and effective testing protocols.

Hockey people are paying close attention to what happens with Basketball. We’re similar sports in that we play indoors, have indoor locker rooms, and have close personal contact with many groups of individuals–coaches, players, officials, school administrators, medical people, etc. The NCAA has recommended Basketball tests ‘Tier I’ individuals–players, coaches, trainers, and essential staff etc., 3 times per week once the season begins. Figure each DI Basketball program between players, coaches, and essential staff could be around 20-25 personnel. The math gets pretty pricey without a SalivaDirect option. Other tests on the market could be used but cost as much as $150. Put into hockey terms… teams with an average group of 28 players coaches, staff etc. and testing three times per week within a shortened 10 week season… could cost programs anywhere from $4,200 to $25,000 for SalivaDirect tests.

Until next time everyone… Enjoy your weekend and be well!