Does the NHL hate College Hockey?


With the 2020 NHL Draft wrapped up and the free-agent market well under way, fans across North America are probably looking at their team’s new prospects with optimism and debating organizational moves made over the last few weeks. Under a new regime, the Wild FINALLY made moves and shook up the draft a little bit while addressing a massive need in the organization by snagging two centers: 69” (nice) 183lb Marco Rossi out of the OHL at 9th and 5’11” 176lb Marat Khusnutdinov from Russian Juniors at 37th. Giving up a talented young player in Kunin (1st round pick in 2016) to get Bonino and that 37th pick has half of Minnesota ready to fist-fight their neighbor, but I’m giving Guerin the benefit of the doubt because at least he’s doing SOMETHING.

What you probably WON’T see on the NHL website or any other media source covering the league is a college associated with many of the draft names; unless of course they’re stroking off Hockey-East colleges or the Ivy Leagues because that’s where all the future ESPN journalists go to school. According to their “unbiased” draft recap, of the 217 draft picks announced only 13 colleges had players taken with 10 of those coming from the east coast. I’m no math wiz, but that’s *checks notes* barely more than the 9 High School kids they’ve got listed! Most sources don’t even give any recognition to North Dakota’s Jake Sanderson who was taken at No. 5 overall. The Bulldogs, MSU Mankato, North Dakota, and St. Cloud State are all inexplicably missing from draft recaps across the media despite each being ranked as a top 3 program in the country at some point last year. INSANITY!

*Taken from and sorted to show college hockey programs, high schools, and NTDP players

Now this is a bit convoluted because the list doesn’t count kids like Mason Langenbrunner (Shout out two-time Stanley Cup winning, 2010 Team USA Captain, and Minnesota native Jamie Langenbrunner). He was drafted by the Bruins and is committed to playing at Harvard if they can piece together a season but might stay with Sioux City and could still return to Eden Prairie High School to make another run at a state title after a championship loss last year. There are a ton of talented players who had their rights drafted in this same category, but college hockey administrators should be furious these skaters are not listed as members of their school.

Yeah, it’s awesome to see the High Schools in MN get recognized for the superior talent they put on-ice every year compared to the rest of the country, but holy hell would it be nice to see the college game get some national recognition outside of John Buccigross on twitter ONE TIME. Former college players make up a third of the NHL today and those numbers have been climbing since Y2K, but you’d never guess that based on the coverage you see. The UMD Bulldogs are the two-time, three-year reigning NCAA Champions with a direct pipeline of home-grown talent and they can’t even manage to get their name on the board in their only DI sport!

Don’t come at me with your technicalities, arguments, or logical reasoning behind any of it because I’ll pay less attention than a Starbucks barista listening to your name. There is only one explanation that makes a lick of sense: The NHL was embarrassed by a bunch of college hockey players in the winter of 1980 at a Lake Placid arena and they’re still not over it.

No matter how much the media and the NHL refuse to acknowledge the college game and where it matters most, there will always be talent to watch in Minnesota and other barns across the country. Some people might ask why any of these players would want to play college hockey instead of going overseas or straight to amateur clubs with coverage like this, but the answer is pretty obvious.