“But, the statistics show that they will also play some combination of 18U, high school and/or prep school hockey before that.”
The path can be different depending on a player’s location. For example, in Minnesota, it’s likely to include high school hockey, in the New England states, prep schools and in the Mid-Atlantic, 18U.
Regardless, Snee said it is important to let those steps play out naturally.
“In most cases, if someone attempts to speed up the process, the outcome is usually not what they were hoping for,” he said. “And, so many coaches say it’s better to dominate a level before moving up and leaving that level.”
The pace of recruiting has slowed somewhat during the coronavirus with changing timetables and new restrictions.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association declared a temporary recruiting dead period on March 13, putting it in place at that time until April 15. The dead period was later extended. On April 1, it was pushed back through the end of May, then again on May 13 it was stretched through the end of June.
While on-campus visits and in-person recruiting are currently on hold, players can continue setting themselves up for the future.
Craig Barnett, the North American Hockey League’s director of NCAA compliance and education, said it is a great time for players to make certain everything is in order to not hit unnecessary obstacles later.
“On the top layer, this is the prime time for them to be engaged in their eligibility requirements,” Barnett said. “We want to make sure that they are up to speed, that they check their status through the eligibility center portal, see what documents, if any, are missing, such as their high school transcripts, their board scores, for our players that have graduated through high school, that they have the proof of graduation form signed off on.
“It’s a real important time right now where they can be engaged and make sure of their eligibility status.”
Barnett said it is important to help players understand the rules. They cannot be on campus or have face-to-face contact with coaches, but there are other things they can be doing to put their additional free time to good use.
“They can be engaged and doing research if they have not made a college decision yet,” Barnett said. “… They can be making sure they are doing their homework about schools they are interested in and getting some answers from afar.
“They can be reaching out and connecting with coaches and letting them know they are interested in their school and their hockey program.”
The NAHL is helping players by providing a “virtual combine,” in which they can load game film and get assistance in making video accessible to college coaches.