I got recruited by several colleges for ice hockey back in the early '80s, so I'm sure things have changed quite a bit since then. But here a few observations/thoughts from the process that I wish I'd known way back when...
Reach out to the coaches at schools even if they don't pursue you at first. Maybe they just overlooked your school or your league or who knows what? Anything you can do to make their jobs easier is worth the effort.
Find out about and play in the tournaments/camps that will get you noticed. Even today, hockey remains a small world...word gets around.
If you're a multiple-sport athlete, make yourself known to the coaches of those other sports at those schools. After I got to college, I wound up (briefly) practicing with the JV soccer team. The coach of the program could have been helpful...even though I was never going to be a varsity soccer prospect, he didn't have enough goalies in the program. Every little bit helps.
All the admonitions to make several lists of schools -- your dream schools, your this'd-be-cool schools, and your fall-back schools -- are spot-on. Some "sure things" turn out not to be so sure. You never can tell. I was assured that I was on the short list at one of my two top choices...and got rejected.
Don't be too bummed out if you don't get the school you want. That top-choice school that rejected me? In hindsight, I cannot begin to tell you how stoked I am that I didn't go there. If I had gotten in, I probably would have gone...and it would have been a horrible mistake. It was definitely not the school for me.
See the bigger picture. The school I ended up attending was my other top choice...and from a hockey perspective, it turned out to be a disaster. The coach that recruited me quit...and the new coach made things miserable for the old coach's recruits. So hockey, what at one time was my supreme joy, became a real drag...but that was still so far and away the school where I belonged. I made friends I still cherish today and I got the education that I wanted -- and I'm glad I didn't pursue initial thoughts about transferring. I rediscovered my love for hockey after college -- when I played professionally in Europe.
Once you've made it to college, realize that it takes a full-time effort to play sports. Recruited or not, there are plenty of people who'd kill for your spot -- and they'll take it if you let down your guard. Watch the partying, hit the books -- and do the off-ice things needed to keep your game sharp. Skills work, strength-and-conditioning work, film work...anything that makes you a better player is worth the effort.
Never -- NEVER -- let anyone else spoil your love of the game. That's one of my great regrets: that I let a jerk of a coach ruin hockey for me for a few years. Whether you play in college or not, whether you make it to the pros or not...there aren't many sports that people continue to play until they're old and gray. Hockey is that rare treat -- it'll be with you your whole life -- and hockey players are part of a wonderful tribe. Cherish your membership...and cherish the joy of ice hockey.
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