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09-20-2010, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ean View Post
You can't really give 1 rating to the ACHA as a league. It all depends on the division, the team, the player, etc. Some schools take club hockey seriously, others don't. Some teams have players who have never played before. On occasion there are players who have played at fairly high levels but ultimately put academics first. It really ranges. The stories about guys from the ACHA moving onto AHL are probably just a few out of thousands of players.

For the most part, the ACHA is just a league for guys who want to continue playing ice hockey through school. If you had a legit future in ice hockey as a career you wouldn't be going through the ACHA to do it.
That's pretty much a good summary. just to elaborate on some.

Most of the schools that play in ACHA DI take club hockey seriously, esp. the NAIA schools like Davenport, Michigan-Dearborn, Lindenwood. The NAIA doesn't sponsor hockey (since the 1980s) teams in NAIA schools are generally part of the athletic department and there's usually some scholarship opportunities in the form of academic and community service basis. (There's probably some other non-NAIA schools that do that too.)

Other ACHA DI programs are also highly organized, recruit, and attract players that don't have much of a hockey future beyond college, besides maybe a few years in the low minors. ACHA DI schools tend to be bigger and more well known. If you have a chance to play on the 2nd-4th line of NCAA DIII team at "St. John Doe College" in a small town with only 1,500 students with not much else going on. Or going to "Big Blank State University" with 35,000 students in a cool college town with lots of things to do and be on the top 2 lines of an ACHA DI team.

ACHA DII and DIII is a real mix, the top programs in those divisions are well organized and often compete/hold their own with ACHA DI teams, some like FGCU, Missouri State, and Grand Valley are good candidates to move up to the ACHA DI. Other bottom level DIIs and lots of the DIII teams are more unorganized, simple club sports/student activities and don't even require players to have previous hockey experience.

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