When it comes to college sports, one of the most crucial factors in a team’s success is recruiting top talent. This rings especially true in the competitive world of hockey, where universities are constantly vying for the best players to join their teams. Mercyhurst University has emerged as a powerhouse in recruiting high school hockey talent.
Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, Mercyhurst University may not be a household name in the world of college sports, but it has become a force to be reckoned with in hockey recruiting. Founded in 1926, Mercyhurst has a history of producing successful athletes, but it was the hiring of Head Coach Rick Gotkin in 1988 that truly transformed their hockey program. Under Gotkin’s leadership, Mercyhurst has had 18 winning seasons, 7 conference championships, and 9 NCAA tournament appearances. A key component of this success is the university’s ability to attract top high school talent.
So, what exactly makes Mercyhurst such a hot spot for high school hockey players? Let’s take a closer look at the factors that contribute to their recruiting success.
Strategic Recruiting Plan
One of the main reasons behind Mercyhurst’s success in recruiting top high school talent is their strategic recruiting plan. The university’s coaching staff spends a significant amount of time scouting potential recruits and building relationships with their families and coaches. This allows them to identify not only talented players but also those who are the right fit for the university’s culture and values.
Additionally, Mercyhurst focuses on recruiting players who have a strong academic record as well as exceptional hockey skills. This ensures that the athletes not only excel on the ice but also in the classroom, reflecting the university’s commitment to the holistic development of its students.
NCAA Division I Status
Another crucial factor in Mercyhurst’s recruiting success is its status as a Division I NCAA school. The university made the move to Division I in 1999, a decision that has had a huge impact on their hockey program.
Being a Division I school allows Mercyhurst to offer athletic scholarships, making it an attractive option for top high school players looking to pursue their dreams of playing at the highest level. This, coupled with the opportunity to play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference, a competitive Division I ice hockey conference, gives young players the platform to showcase their skills and compete against some of the best teams in the country.
Another significant factor that plays a role in Mercyhurst’s ability to recruit top high school talent is their state-of-the-art facilities. The Mercyhurst Ice Center, home to the university’s hockey teams, boasts an NHL-sized rink with seating for over 2,000 spectators.
In addition to the main arena, the facility also includes a practice rink, weight room, coaches’ offices, and player lounges. These top-notch facilities not only help attract top recruits but also provide players with everything they need to train and develop their skills, setting them up for success at the college and professional levels.
Strong Coaching Staff
Behind every successful team is a strong coaching staff, and Mercyhurst is no exception. Head Coach Rick Gotkin, who has been at the helm for over 30 years, is widely recognized as one of the top coaches in college hockey. In fact, in 2010, he became the winningest coach in Mercyhurst history.
Gotkin’s experience and leadership skills have played a crucial role in building a strong team and creating a winning culture at Mercyhurst. His coaching staff, which includes former Mercyhurst players, also brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, ensuring that players receive top-notch coaching and mentoring.
In today’s world of college sports, recruiting top talent is key to a team’s success. Mercyhurst University has established itself as a recruiting powerhouse, constantly attracting top high school talent to their hockey program. With a strategic recruiting plan, Division I status, state-of-the-art facilities, and a strong coaching staff, Mercyhurst has become a sought-after destination for talented young hockey players looking to take their skills to the next level.