The only “C” valued by most college hockey coaches is the captain’s patch on a player’s jersey. So if you’re not cutting it in the classroom, you probably won’t be seeing much ice time.
“We try to find student-athletes who work extremely hard in the classroom,” says Boston College hockey associate coach Mike Cavanaugh. “We seem to be more successful with [an athlete] who works really hard to get a B-minus than [one] who does no work to get a B.”
The college hockey landscape is dominated by teams like Boston College, which not only leads on the ice, but consistently ranks among the top academic institutions in the country.
“We’ve formed a culture in which we’ve graduated a lot of players and have been very successful at winning championships,” Cavanaugh says.
The Eagles have made three consecutive NCAA championship appearances, most recently, in 2008, beating one of the nation’s premier academic institutions, the University of Notre Dame.
Working hard in the classroom and earning solid grades translate onto the ice. “We look for kids who are good team players and have high hockey IQs … having a great understanding of the game,” Cavanaugh says. “We feel that if you don’t understand how to play—even if you are the fastest skater or have the hardest shot—you’ll have a hard time playing for us.”
So hit the books just as hard as you play the game. Says Cavanaugh, “Take care of your academics…and put yourself in a position where you have a lot of options for school.”