When it comes to college hockey, Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York is a top contender. Under the guidance of head coach Casey Jones, the Golden Knights have become a recruiting powerhouse, consistently attracting top high school talent from across North America and around the world.
Recruiting is a crucial aspect of building a successful program. Coaches must not only identify talented players, but also convince them to choose their school over others. Clarkson has been able to do just that, and their recruiting success can be attributed to several key factors.
One major advantage for Clarkson is their location. Potsdam, New York may be a small town, but it is a hockey hotbed. The town is home to two other colleges with strong hockey programs, St. Lawrence University and SUNY Potsdam. In addition, the local community is highly supportive of hockey, with a strong youth hockey program and a passionate fan base. For young players looking for a hockey-centric environment, Potsdam is an ideal destination.
Clarkson also benefits from having a long-standing tradition of success. The Golden Knights have a rich history, with 23 NCAA tournament appearances and six national championships. This reputation for excellence not only attracts top recruits, but also helps to develop a winning mindset among the current players. As the saying goes, winning breeds winning, and Clarkson’s success on the ice is a major draw for potential recruits.
Another key aspect of Clarkson’s recruiting strategy is their commitment to player development. Under Jones, the coaching staff works closely with each player to help them improve their skills and reach their full potential. This individualized approach has paid off, with several players going on to play in the NHL, including current New York Rangers star Chris Kreider.
Clarkson’s facilities also play a significant role in attracting top recruits. The Golden Knights’ home rink, the Cheel Arena, underwent a $13 million renovation in 2007 and now boasts state-of-the-art amenities. In addition, the team has access to a high-tech strength and conditioning center and a video analysis room. These top-notch facilities not only impress recruits, but also allow the players to train and develop at the highest level.
Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of Clarkson’s recruiting success is the team’s ability to attract top international talent. Despite being located in a small town in upstate New York, the Golden Knights have been able to lure players from countries such as Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Canada. In fact, almost half of Clarkson’s roster is made up of international players. This is a testament to the world-class reputation of Clarkson’s hockey program and the university as a whole.
To showcase their program to potential recruits, Clarkson hosts several recruiting events throughout the year. These events allow high school players to visit the campus, meet the coaching staff, and get a feel for the university. One such event is the Golden Knights’ annual summer hockey school, where players have the opportunity to train with the Clarkson coaching staff and get a taste of what it’s like to be a Golden Knight. These events not only help the coaching staff identify talent, but also give players a chance to see what makes Clarkson such a special place to play hockey.
In today’s world, recruiting is not just about finding talented players, but also about building relationships. Clarkson recognizes the importance of this and makes a concerted effort to get to know potential recruits and their families on a personal level. The coaching staff takes the time to make calls, host home visits, and get to know the players as more than just hockey players. This personal touch helps recruit families feel like part of the Clarkson community even before the player has committed to the program.
With the right combination of location, tradition, player development, facilities, and a personal touch, it’s no wonder that Clarkson has established itself as a recruiting powerhouse in college hockey. Their success on the recruiting trail has translated to success on the ice, and the Golden Knights show no signs of slowing down. For young hockey players dreaming of playing at the collegiate level, Clarkson is undoubtedly a top destination.