Rising from the Ice: The Canisius College Hockey Program’s Unique Approach to Recruiting Success

Canisius College

Canisius College, located in Buffalo, New York, may not be the first school that comes to mind when it comes to college hockey powerhouses. But in recent years, the Canisius Golden Griffins have been making a name for themselves not only in the Atlantic Hockey Conference but also in the competitive world of college hockey recruiting. Through a strong emphasis on player development and a dedicated coaching staff, Canisius has established itself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to attracting top high school talent. Canisius college hockey Program

Canisius College’s men’s ice hockey team was founded in 1973 and currently competes in the Atlantic Hockey Conference, one of six conferences within Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Atlantic Hockey Conference comprises 11 teams from the Northeast, with Canisius being the only New York-based team in the conference. Under head coach Trevor Large, who took over in 2018, Canisius has steadily risen in the ranks of the conference, earning a total of four conference titles and five appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Canisius‘ recruiting strategy

So how does a smaller school like Canisius attract top high school talent in a highly competitive college hockey market? The answer lies in their unique approach to player development and recruitment. Canisius’ coaching staff understands that the recruiting process is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and they actively seek out players who fit their specific program philosophy and culture.

The Canisius coaching staff starts by identifying players who possess the right combination of skill, character, and academic excellence. They look for players who have a strong work ethic, a team-first mentality, and a passion for the game. Canisius also places a high value on recruiting local players, as they believe in the importance of building a strong connection with the community. As a result, the majority of Canisius’ roster is made up of players from New York, with a few players from neighboring states.

Player development

One of the major factors that sets Canisius’ recruiting strategy apart from other programs is their focus on player development. The coaching staff believes that once they have identified the right players for their program, it is their responsibility to help them reach their full potential both on and off the ice. They achieve this by providing players with top-notch coaching, state-of-the-art facilities, and resources to help them succeed academically.

Canisius also places a strong emphasis on developing their players’ leadership skills. As a smaller program, they rely heavily on the leadership of their players to create a positive team culture and set an example for their teammates. This focus on developing well-rounded players has led to many of Canisius’ alumni playing professionally in the NHL, AHL, and overseas.

Building a family

Another crucial aspect of Canisius’ recruiting strategy is their focus on creating a family-like atmosphere within the team. The coaching staff recognizes that for players to reach their full potential, they need to feel comfortable and supported both on and off the ice. This family culture is fostered through team-building activities, community service events, and creating a supportive environment where players can turn to one another for advice and guidance.

In addition, the coaching staff makes a conscious effort to involve players’ families in the recruiting process. They understand how important it is for families to feel connected and invested in their child’s college experience, and they make an effort to build strong relationships with the parents and siblings of their players. As a result, many parents become active supporters of the program by attending games and even traveling to support the team on road trips.

The impact of Canisius’ recruiting success

Canisius’ success in recruiting top high school talent has not only led to impressive performance on the ice but also had a positive impact on the overall athletic program. Since their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2013, the men’s ice hockey program has increased in popularity on campus, resulting in higher attendance at games and increased interest from prospective student-athletes. This success has also translated into increased funding for the program, providing them with the resources necessary to continue to attract top talent.


While Canisius College may not be as well-known as some other college hockey programs, their success in recruiting top high school talent has put them on the map. Through their unique approach to player development, a strong focus on building a family culture, and an emphasis on recruiting local players, Canisius has established itself as a powerhouse in college hockey recruiting. Their success has not only elevated the program but has also had a positive impact on the overall athletic program. As they continue to attract top players, it is clear that Canisius is well on its way to becoming a dominant force in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.


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