by Brent Mutis
February 20, 2014, CALGARY, Alberta (ISN) – The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) is proud to announce that over 2,030 CJHL alumni are pursuing their academic and hockey careers at colleges and universities across North America in the 2013-2014 season.
Number of CJHL alumni competing at universities and colleges in Canada and the US (% of rosters):
- 578 in NCAA Division I (37%)
- 595 in NCAA Division III (27%)
- 857 in Canadian universities and colleges (61%)
“Year after year the Canadian Junior Hockey League graduates hundreds of elite hockey players and outstanding students who go on to hockey and academic careers at universities and colleges all over North America,” said CJHL President and Chairman Kirk Lamb. “Junior A provides the opportunity to develop as a player, as a student and as an individual. It allows players and their families time to make a fully-informed and confident decision without ever sacrificing athletic development or exposure. It’s clear that the Junior A experience is working for our student-athletes and their families.”
Over 850 former CJHL players spent the 2013-2014 season competing in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC) and BC Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL). This represents 61% of players on Canadian university and college team rosters.
University of Prince Edward Island veteran Dana Fraser is excelling in the CIS and attributes his success to the development he experienced in the Maritime Hockey League (MHL), one of ten Junior A leagues in the CJHL. “Junior A hockey prepared me for playing in the CIS and I owe a lot to Junior A for helping me become the player I am today, ” said Fraser. “I took the systems and training I received with me to the CIS and it helped me develop into a much better and complete player.”
CJHL alumni helped lead Canada’s best university and college programs to success in 2012-2013. In March 2013, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds captured the 2013 University Cup with the aid of 11 CJHL alumni. The NAIT Ooks men’s hockey team won the 2013 ACAC Championship with a roster that included 24 CJHL alumni. The ACAC final was dominated with CJHL talent as 48 alumni filled the rosters of the two teams competing in the championship final.
CJHL alumni are not just making their mark north of the border. In the US, a total of 578 CJHL alumni competed on NCAA Division I rosters in the 2013-2014 season. These CJHL alumni account for 37% of all Division I hockey players. Another 595 CJHL alumni can be found at the NCAA Division III level, representing 27% of all Division III players. In 2013, 19 CJHL alumni competed in the NCAA Championship Game, four of which became National Champions as members of the Yale Bulldogs. In total, 32 alumni of the Canadian Junior Hockey League were on the rosters of the four NCAA teams that competed at the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four.
Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) alumnus and 2014 Hobey Baker nominee, Ben Hutton, describes his NCAA experience with the University of Maine and journey to this point as ‘incredible’. “The CJHL was a great experience for me and was instrumental in my development,” said Hutton. “It allowed me to keep my options open while still playing very high level hockey.” Hutton was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
“Maine was the right fit for me in many aspects. I was able to get quality minutes as a freshman and got the opportunity to play in front of the best fans in college hockey. It’s a program full of rich history and development.”
Goaltender Sam Brittain graduated from the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) to the University of Denver and believed the CJHL was the ultimate path to his goal of education and hockey in the NCAA. “The biggest thing for me was that I wanted to play in the NCAA and I knew the best route was through Junior A,” said Brittain.
“I grew up and learned a lot of important lessons when I started in the CJHL. It was my first time away from home, and the first time that there was a real pressure to perform, which forced me to develop as a player and a person. Everything went very well for me and it was a great beginning.”