Ice hockey is not just any sport. America is the haven for everything related to ice hockey. Even at the college level, it’s a super exciting and chilling sport. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about college ice hockey.


Many legendary ice hockey players have become professionals thanks to the college system. Multiple Stanley Cup winners such as Chris Chelios, Jonathan Toews, and Joe Mullen began their careers at universities. Additionally, many ice hockey players who represent Team USA at the Olympic Games have played college ice hockey in the past.

Difference with the Netherlands

Of course, there are a few significant differences between the Dutch and American leagues. The biggest difference is that the level of college competitions in America is generally regarded as higher than ice hockey competitions in the Netherlands.

As a talented ice hockey player, you qualify for an athletic scholarship in America, allowing you to combine your studies at a high level with ice hockey. Annually, around $30 million in scholarships circulate within the college ice hockey world.

In general, the rules in Europe and America are the same. For instance, an American ice hockey team typically consists of eighteen players. However, the playing style can differ. In Europe, players are generally more focused on the technical and tactical aspects of the game, whereas in America, the play is often more physical and intense. Strength is thus a much more important component.


The American sports association organizes college ice hockey competitions for universities, where you can compete in three different divisions. The main goal? Winning the conference and earning a spot in the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship with your university. The top four teams from this tournament ultimately qualify for the ultimate tournament: the Frozen Four.

Additionally, universities also participate in other tournaments. These are special tournaments where college ice hockey teams compete against each other in NHL stadiums (National Hockey League). Moreover, about 33% of professional ice hockey players in the NHL have played college hockey at some point.

Living like a pro

One of the greatest benefits for a college athlete is the opportunity to combine sports and studies optimally, as well as the top-level sports environment you become a part of. There’s a staff that takes care of everything for you, including a head coach, assistant coach, physiotherapist, nutritionist, and more. Moreover, thanks to ice hockey, you get to travel extensively and practice your sport in many beautiful locations.


The biggest difference compared to the Netherlands is the atmosphere during the games. Teammates and fans make a lot of noise, encourage each other, and often shout encouraging phrases. So, don’t be surprised if there’s suddenly shouting across the rink during the game and thousands of fans and students are watching: College ice hockey thrives in America!

At various universities, many fellow students regularly attend games. The average number of spectators at a North Dakota game is 11,399. But one of the largest college hockey stadiums can accommodate nearly 20,000 spectators.

As you can see, college ice hockey has a lot to offer. Many legendary players have come before you! Do you want to follow in their footsteps and learn more about ice hockey? Fill out this form! We would love to explore your options together with you!