It has long been the norm that top tier Canadian hockey prospects play Major Junior hockey in their pursuit of an NHL career. However, an alternate path is becoming increasingly popular for talented Canadians. This route involves playing Junior A hockey; translating that into a scholarship offer from an NCAA school; and then (hopefully) moving into the NHL from there.
As a recent article in the Globe and Mail highlights, Collegiate alumni playing in the NHL has risen 50% since the early 2000s. Despite this growth, collegiate hockey still pales in comparison as a pipeline to the NHL.
Nevertheless, Tyson Jost, drafted 10th overall last year, and currently playing at the University of North Dakota, says college hockey offers many benefits:
“I have nothing against major junior. But a lot more kids should take a harder look at the NCAA. I’ve been blown away. You’ve got to make some lifetime decisions when you’re young.”