I got an interesting Ask Jason question and I figured I’d sneak in my reply so that there would be some NEW content up for the weekend.
Melanie had this to say:
“Jason, We really are appreciating your articles on the hockey advocate. The latest edition which was NCAA Part 2 of 2, can you please tell me who is the top 30 ranking schools that you refer to in #5. We would really like to know where you got those rankings from and which schools are included and listed in the top 30 and how they were ranked?”
Well, the answer isn’t straight forward. I think I have established a pattern of complicated answers already….Why stop now?!
This excellent NCAA website posts their yearly Coach Poll rankings of the teams, but of course their pre-season rankings are not posted yet. But it is worth looking at once the season is underway.
Of course even if you had the TOP 20+ teams listed, this only tells you a small part of the story.
The fact is there is no definitive list from #1-58.
Obviously, things change from year to year depending on each new recruiting class and the development or regression of returning players. Also, when each elite player leaves for the NHL or the WHL to presumably maximize their exposure or earning potential, this has a HUGE effect on each team and their prospects for that season.
To come up with a reasonable general ranking you need to consider things such as: academic background, tuition price, coaching, overall performance level of that team historically, scholarships provided & level of PRO play their players achieve post ncaa.
I guess after 7 years of going from NCAA rink to rink and seeing the level of play in each different conference I’ve been able to come up with a general outline of what I believe reflects a reasonably accurate ranking framework that of course must allow for yearly aberrations and alterations. Take the RIT Tigers this past season, they made it to the final four with a magical run, but it was the culmination of a successful 4 year plan and with the loss of a lot of their key players, they will drop back into the mid to low 40-50’s most likely until they rebuild.
FYI, This year, I am producing a ranking and scouting package on all graduating NCAA Seniors through my scouting service, Hockey Scouting International. It will provide a report on each graduating Senior and their most likely level of pro play for 2011-12. This is a package that will be utilized by the AHL/ECHL and many EU leagues. So, I’ve given you my NCAA credentials, here’s my 2009 framework from last season. It still lists the CHA conference, which folded this past summer but should give you a point of reference.
I think this PDF attached chart should be helpful. Please Click Below
The top conferences are listed with 2 levels in each. The top level are typically the big budget, higher ranked teams. And obviously the 2nd level are the lower end.
If you take ALL the TOP Level 1 teams from the Hockey East / WCHA / CCHA you get roughly speaking, your top #1-20 teams.
#21-45 would be the 2nd Level Hockey East / WCHA / CCHA Clubs PLUS the ECAC
#45-58 would be the Atlantic Conference & the non-nonexistent CHA.
So I hope that gives you all something to work from. Remember teams can and do move up and down this chart, but the framework is more or less stable.