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|U.S. Colleges||U.S. Juniors||U.S. High Schools|
There are three elite systems for hockey development in the United States: USA Hockey, the high school and collegiate leagues (NCAA) and regional junior leagues.
Hockey in the United States is based primarily on the National Team Development Program, which has been committed to the regional development of the sport and gaining a higher profile in international competition.
USA Hockey is the official representative to the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) and the USOC (United States Olympic Committee). It is responsible for the selection and training of the U.S. National Teams and the U.S. Olympic Teams.
National Team Development Program
In 1996, USA Hockey launched the National Team Development Program (NTDP) designed to create a new standard for player development in the United States. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the NTDP provides a concentrated on and off-ice training environment for some of the premier ice hockey players under 18-years of age in the U.S.
The NTDP is split into two squads, an Under-18 and an Under-17 team. Together, teh teams take part in more than 120 games against international competition and teams from the United States Hockey League (USHL) and the North American Hockey League (NAHL). A team made up of players from from both the U-18 and U-17 programs plays a full schedule of games in the NAHL.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the primary route for a hockey prospect in the United States and is the governing body of U.S. college athletics.
NCAA Division I hockey is divided into the following six leagues:
|Atlantic Hockey (A.H.)|
|Bentley||Holy Cross||Sacred Heart|
|Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA)|
|Bowling Green||Michigan||Notre Dame|
|Ferris State||Michigan State||Ohio State|
|Lake Superior State||Nebraska-Omaha||Western Michigan|
|College Hockey America (CHA)|
|Air Force||Bemidji State||Robert Morris|
|Eastern Conference Athletic Association (ECAC)|
|Hockey East (HE)|
|Boston College||Massachusetts||New Hampshire|
|Boston University||U Mass-Lowell||Northeastern|
|Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)|
|Alaska-Anchorage||Michigan Tech||Minnesota State|
|Colorado College||Minnesota||North Dakota|
|Denver||Minnesota-Duluth||St. Cloud State|
U.S. College Hockey Notes:
1967 - First U.S. College Player to be Drafted
Michigan Tech center Al Karlander became the first U.S. college player to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft. Selected by the Detroit Red Wings, Karlander was the second last player taken in the Draft (17th overall). The native of British Columbia played 212 games with the Red Wings (36-56-92).
1979 - First U.S. College Player Picked in First Round
Minnesota-born defenseman Mike Ramsey was selected 11th overall by the Buffalo Sabres, becoming the first U.S. college player to be drafted in the first round. Ramsey (Minnesota-Duluth) appeared in 1,070 NHL games (79-266-345).
1986 - First U.S. College Player Picked First Overall
Detroit made right winger Joe Murphy (Michigan State) the first U.S. college player to be selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft.
2000 - U.S. College Players Taken 1st and 2nd
The 2000 Entry Draft saw U.S. college players taken in the top two picks as the NY Islanders selected Boston University goaltender Rick DiPietro 1st overall and the Atlanta Thrashers picked Wisconsin forward Dany Heatley 2nd overall.
2003 - Most U.S. College Players Selected in First Round
The 2003 Draft saw seven U.S. college players selected in the first round, the most in Entry Draft history. (Ryan Suter, 7th; Hugh Jessiman, 12th; Zach Parise, 17th; Mark Stuart, 21st; Ryan Kesler, 23rd; Jeff Tambellini, 27th; Patrick Eaves, 29th). Six collegians were selected in teh first round in 2000, five in 2002, four in 2001 and three in each of teh 2004, 1999 and 1986 Entry Drafts.
|Highest drafted U.S. college players|
|Joe Murphy*||Michigan State||1st||Detroit||1986|
|Rick DiPietro||Boston U||1st||NY Islanders||2000|
|Craig Simpson*||Michigan State||2nd||Pittsburgh||1985|
|Dany Heatley*||U of Wisconsin||2nd||Atlanta||2000|
|Scott Lachance||Boston U||4th||NY Islanders||1991|
|Paul Kariya*||U of Maine||4th||Anaheim||1993|
|Aaron Ward*||U of Michigan||5th||Winnipeg||1991|
|Ryan Whitney||Boston U||5th||Pittsburgh||2002|
|Thomas Vanek||U of Minnesota||5th||Buffalo||2003|
|Craig Redmond*||U of Denver||6th||Los Angeles||1984|
|Al Montoya||U of Michigan||6th||NY Rangers||2004|
|Erik Rasmussen||U of Minnesota||7th||Buffalo||1996|
|Mike Komisarek||U of Michigan||7th||Montreal||2001|
|* denotes Canadian-born NCAA player|
|United States Colleges|
|Year||College Drafted||Total Drafted||College%|
U.S. Junior Hockey
There are nine U.S.-based junior leagues comprising approximately 100 teams registered by USA Hockey. These leagues allow players 20 years of age or younger to retain their NCAA eligibility while increasing the opportunity for college scholarships.
USA Hockey supports the Central States Hockey Leagues (CSHL), Empire Junior Hockey League, Interstate Junior Hockey League (IJHL), Metro Junior Hockey League, Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MinJHL), North American Hockey League (NAHL), North Pacific Junior Hockey League (NPJHL), the United States Hockey League (USHL) and the Western States Hockey League (WSHL). The USHL is recognized as a Tier One Junior A league. The NAHL is ranked as Tier Two Junior A; the balance are Junior B. Five other leagues, comprising some 60 more teams, are ranked as Junior C.
|United States Hockey League (Tier One, Junior A)|
The league originally formed as the Midwest Junior Hockey League in 1972, before merging with the semi-pro USHL in 1977, becoming an all-junior league in 1979. The United States Hockey League is governed by USA Hockey and offers an extensive practice and game schedule that provides players with an opportunity to develop their skills at an accelerated pace. The main purpose of the USHL is to help players, coaches, and officials advance in their careers to the college and professional level. Each team plays a 56-game schedule starting in late September and finishing in late March.
The league attracts players from all over the United States as well as Canada and Europe.
|North American Hockey League (Tier Two Junior A)|
The North American Hockey League was founded in 1975 when the Michigan Junior and Wolverine Junior League formed the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League. In 1984 the name was changed to the North American Junior Hockey League, and has since been modified to the current North American Hockey League. The 2004-05 campaign was teh 29th season of North American Hockey League competition.
Each team plays a 56-game regular-season schedule, with exhibition games and league playoff games providing additional contests. In addition, league-wide tournaments attract numerous scouts and coaches.
The NAHL's primary goal is to enhance the development of its players in conjunction with a commitment to academic support. The league's schedule and playoff schedule is designed to minimize school conflicts. NAHL competition helps players make the transition from midget and high school hockey to college and major junior hockey by creating an environment that is highly competitive, encourages skill development and provides time for physical growth and maturity.
U.S. High Schools, Prep Schools
The popularity of high school and prep school hockey in the U.S. has regularly attracted NHL scouts. Some of the leading high school programs include those at Phillips-Exeter, St. Sebastian's, Hotchkiss, Cushing Academy, Culver Academy and Catholic Memorial.
U.S. High School Hockey Notes:
1980 - First U.S. High School Player to be Drafted
The first U.S. high school prospect to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft was center Jay North of Bloomington-Jefferson HS. North was taken by the Buffalo Sabres, 62nd overall.
1981 - First U.S. High School Player Picked in First Round
Center Bob Carpenter of St. John's prep school became the first U.S. high school player to be selected in the first round, third overall by Washington.
1983 - First U.S. High School Player Picked First Overall
Minnesota North Stars drafted left winger Brian Lawton from Mount St. Charles HS, making him the first and only U.S. high school player to be taken first overall.
1987 - Most U.S. High School Players Selected in an Entry Draft
There were 69 players drafted from U.S. high schools in 1987, accounting for 27.4% of the draft. Although this marks the largest group of high school prospects to be selected in a single Entry Draft, none were taken in the first round.
|Highest drafted U.S. high school players|
|Brian Lawton||Mount St. Charles||1st||Minnesota||1983|
|Bob Carpenter||St. John's Prep||3rd||Washington||1981|
|Phil Housley||South St. Paul||6th||Buffalo||1982|
|Doug Zmolek||John Marshall||7th||Minnesota||1989|
|Jeremy Roenick||Thayer Academy||8th||Chicago||1988|
|Brian Leetch||Avon Old Farms||9th||NY Rangers||1986|
|United States High Schools|
|Year||U.S. HS Drafted||Total Drafted||U.S. HS %|
|Prior to 1980||0||1780||0|
Other U.S. Hockey Notes: