New Hampshire hockey
When it comes to minor hockey, there are certain regions in North America that consistently produce top talent. Places like Ontario, Quebec, and Minnesota are known for churning out elite players who go on to make their mark in the NHL. But in recent years, a new contender has emerged in the world of minor hockey: New Hampshire.
The small New England state may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hockey hotbeds, but a closer look at their recent success reveals that a dynasty in the making may be underway.
In the past few years, New Hampshire has been making headlines in the hockey world, with multiple teams and players making their mark on the national and international stage. From high school championships to NCAA success, here’s a closer look at the factors that have contributed to New Hampshire’s rise in the hockey world.
High School Hockey Dominance
New Hampshire’s high school hockey scene has long been competitive, but in recent years, it has reached new heights. The state’s Division I championship has been dominated by the same two teams – the Bishop Guertin High School and the Bedford High School – for the past decade. Between the two schools, they have won the title every year since 2010, with Bedford coming out on top in seven of those years.
This consistent success has not only solidified New Hampshire’s role as a major player in high school hockey, but it has also led to increased competition and a higher level of play among the state’s teams. The intense rivalry between Bishop Guertin and Bedford has pushed both schools and their players to reach new levels of excellence.
Furthermore, the high school hockey culture in New Hampshire is thriving. With passionate fans, dedicated coaches, and highly skilled players, it’s no surprise that the state has become a breeding ground for future hockey stars.
College Hockey Success
New Hampshire’s success on the college level has also been on the rise. In 2021, the University of New Hampshire’s men’s hockey team won their first Hockey East championship since 2013, further solidifying their status as a top college hockey program.
In addition, several other New Hampshire colleges have also made their mark in recent years. Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, has a long history of producing NHL players, including Ben Lovejoy and Lee Stempniak. Southern New Hampshire University, a smaller school in Manchester, has also seen success in their hockey program, winning the Northeast-10 Conference championship in 2019.
All of these programs, along with the state’s strong high school hockey scene, have made New Hampshire an attractive destination for top recruits and a force to be reckoned with in the college hockey world.
New Hampshire’s success in high school and college hockey has also translated to the NHL. In 2021, the state had a record-breaking 19 players selected in the NHL draft, including Bedford native Matt Boldy, who was drafted 12th overall by the Minnesota Wild.
This recent influx of top NHL prospects from New Hampshire is a testament to the talent and development happening at the lower levels of the game in the state. With the rise of hockey-specific training programs and facilities, as well as increased opportunities for exposure and development, the future looks bright for New Hampshire’s hockey prospects.
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
It’s worth noting that New Hampshire’s success in recent years has taken place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic shut down many minor hockey leagues and tournaments across North America, New Hampshire was able to navigate the challenges and continue to provide opportunities for players to develop and showcase their skills.
With many players seeking alternative options due to pandemic restrictions, New Hampshire became a desirable destination for high school and college players, further boosting the state’s already strong hockey programs.
In the highly competitive world of minor hockey, success can often come down to a combination of factors – from talented players and dedicated coaches to a strong hockey culture and supportive community. As we’ve seen in recent years, New Hampshire has all of these elements in place, making it a prime location for top hockey talent to thrive.
With continued success at the high school and college level and a growing number of NHL prospects, it’s safe to say that New Hampshire is a dynasty in the making. And as the state continues to gain recognition and produce top talent, it’s clear that New Hampshire is a force to be reckoned with in the world of minor hockey.