Hockey fans love nothing more than getting together to watch their favorite teams battle it out on the ice. But how many Division 1 hockey teams are there in the United States? As a fan, you want to know who you’re up against and which teams your favorite has to beat to make it to the top of the rankings.
College hockey is one of the most exciting sports around, particularly at the Division 1 level where talented athletes from across North America come to compete for glory. Whether you’re following a national championship game or supporting your local team, understanding the world of college hockey is key for anyone looking to fully appreciate what this high-speed, action-packed sport really has to offer.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the essential information you need to know about NCAA Division 1 hockey teams. From how they’re ranked to the rules that govern them, we’ll explore everything you need to know to stay on top of the latest developments and support your favorites all the way to the finals.
Discover the Comprehensive List of Division 1 Hockey Teams
Hockey is one of the most popular sports played in North America, and it is now gaining popularity worldwide. In the United States alone, there are over 60 teams playing Division 1 college hockey. If you’re a fan looking to learn more about these teams and follow them throughout the season, read on for our comprehensive list of Division 1 hockey teams.
East Coast Teams
The Eastern part of the US boasts a large number of Division 1 hockey teams, with many prestigious institutions included amongst their ranks.
- Boston College Eagles: Based in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, Boston College Eagles have won NCAA championship five times, including four titles in six years from 2008-2012.
- Boston University Terriers: Also based in Boston, Massachusetts, BU has won five National Championships and 22 Beanpot championships, which take place against Northeastern, Harvard and Boston College every year.
- Harvard Crimson: One of the oldest and most respected colleges in the country, the Ivy League school’s men’s team has played in 12 Frozen Four national semifinals, but never won the tournament.
- University of Maine Black Bears: With championships wins in 1993 and 1999, the Orono-based institution plays regularly at nearly-full Alfond Arena.
- Northeastern Huskies: Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern has risen through the hockey ranks in recent years after hiring head coach Jim Madigan in 2011 who coached three seasons under Jerry York at BC where he earned his undergraduate degree.
- Providence Friars: The Friars compete in the Hockey East conference and have taken home two national championships, most recently in 2015.
- Yale Bulldogs: Another Ivy League team that has produced several NHL players and famously defeated Quinnipiac University to win their first National Championship in 2013
West Coast Teams
The West Coast region may not be as storied in its hockey history as the East, but it still boasts some strong Division 1 teams.
- University of Denver Pioneers: The Pioneers are one of two teams from Colorado on this list, having won seven NCAA Championships over the years.
- University of Minnesota Golden Gophers: This Big Ten school is perennially among the top college hockey programs in the country, with five national titles to its name – more than any other Western team after Michigan.
- University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks: Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, UND was known for many years as the Fighting Sioux but changed nicknames post-2012. They have participated in the NCAA tournament a record 32 times and claimed eight championship wins, tied with Denver for the third-most all-time.
- University of Wisconsin Badgers: Another Big Ten institution that joined the league during the 2013-14 season, Wisconsin has a long history of success, winning six NCAA titles since the 1970s.
“Hockey grows more by people watching games, talking about the game,” Jack Parker.
This comprehensive list includes a range of prestigious institutions from across the US, helping fans of Division 1 hockey stay up-to-date with scores and rankings throughout the year. Whether you’re located near the East Coast or West, be sure to keep up with these teams as they continue to compete at the highest level.
Get to Know the History and Evolution of Division 1 Hockey
Origins of Division 1 Hockey
The origins of NCAA men’s ice hockey can be traced back to the year 1896 when six teams from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Penn, and Columbia formed the Intercollegiate Hockey League (IHL).
Over the following decades, this league would evolve into different forms, with new universities joining in and some departing. The name IHL changed several times until it became known as the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) in 1961.
“In a sense, Boston is better suited for international status than any other city in North America because its climate is similar to the strongholds of hockey.” – Herb Gardiner
In the same vein, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognized ice hockey as an official sport in 1948, but it was only then that inter-regional tournaments began taking place and creating opportunities for college athletes to compete on a national level.
Changes and Innovations in Division 1 Hockey
In the last decade or so, there has been an increase in the number of college hockey programs in the US, leading to a more diverse and competitive pool of teams that participate in the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship tournament every year.
As of the 2020-21 season, there are 60 universities across four conferences who field division 1 hockey teams. These conferences are the ECAC Hockey, Atlantic Hockey, Big Ten conference, and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
One notable innovation in college hockey has been the introduction of video replay technology, which allows referees to review disputed calls on the ice and validate their rulings. This technology was first implemented at the Frozen Four tournament in 2012, and its impact has been significant in ensuring fair play and accuracy in officiating.
“The use of replay to make sure that our officials get it right is crucial. I think we should always be looking for ways to enhance how we manage our games and video review is definitely a huge part of that.” – Jim Scherr
Another development that has brought changes to college hockey is the ongoing shift towards greater emphasis on analytics-driven player evaluation, which involves tracking stats and metrics like shot attempts, puck possession, and zone entries/exits to paint an objective picture of individual performance on the ice.
NCAA men’s ice hockey has come a long way since the formation of the IHL in 1896. From its humble beginnings with only six teams from Ivy League institutions participating, the sport has gained national recognition and popularity over the years, leading to more teams joining the fray and technological advancements enhancing gameplay and officiating. With 60 universities fielding division 1 hockey teams across four conferences in the present day, there is no doubt that college hockey continues to evolve, adapt, and grow as a competitive and exciting spectator sport in the US.
Find Out the Top-Ranked Division 1 Hockey Teams in the Nation
Hockey has a long history of being one of the most exciting sports, and Division 1 hockey is no exception. The top teams battle it out every year for the national championship, with each team fighting their hardest to come out on top. But how many Division 1 hockey teams are there?
There are currently 60 Division 1 college hockey teams competing in the NCAA. These teams are divided into six conferences: Atlantic Hockey, Big Ten, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East, NCHC, and WCHA.
Current Rankings and Standings in Division 1 Hockey
The current rankings in Division 1 hockey change constantly as games are played and new statistics are recorded. However, the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) releases weekly rankings based on votes from coaches across the nation.
As of February 15, 2021, the top-ranked team in Division 1 hockey according to the AHCA is Boston College with a record of 10-2-1. Following closely behind at number two is University of Massachusetts Amherst with a record of 7-3-1.
- Boston College
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Minnesota State University
- North Dakota University
- St. Cloud State University
- Duluth University
- University of Minnesota Twin Cities
- Quinnipiac University
- University of Michigan
- Clarkson University
Analysis of the Top Teams and Players in Division 1 Hockey
With Boston College leading the rankings, it’s clear that they have some impressive players on their roster. Sophomore forward Alex Newhook has been tearing up the ice this season with a total of 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in just seven games.
Meanwhile, University of Massachusetts Amherst is close behind thanks to standout performances from senior goaltender Filip Lindberg. So far, he boasts an impressive.948 save percentage and only 1.44 goals against average in nine games played.
“There are so many great players in college hockey every year, but right now Newhook and Lindberg are definitely making a case for being at the top.” – John Buccigross, ESPN
Minnesota State University has also been performing well, coming in at number three in the rankings. Junior forwards Julian Napravnik and Nathan Smith have both been key contributors to their success this season, with 20 and 17 points respectively.
North Dakota University is no stranger to dominance in Division 1 hockey, having won the national championship eight times throughout the school’s history. This year, they’re currently sitting at number four in the rankings and looking to add another championship to their record.
St. Cloud State University and Duluth University round out the top five teams according to AHCA rankings. These two schools have had strong showings in recent years as well, with St. Cloud State reaching the Frozen Four in 2018 and Duluth winning back-to-back national championships in 2018 and 2019.
“It’s always exciting to see new talent emerge in the collegiate hockey world, but these top teams have proven themselves time and time again with remarkable athletes and coaching staff.” – Bob McKenzie, TSN
While the rankings will likely continue to change as the season progresses, there’s no denying that these top teams have what it takes to make a deep playoff run. With talented players and experienced coaching staff behind them, anything is possible in Division 1 hockey.
Explore the Best Division 1 Hockey Conferences and Championships
Overview of Division 1 Hockey Conferences and Tournaments
If you’re a hockey fan, then it’s likely you know that NCAA Division 1 Men’s Ice Hockey is one of the most highly-regarded college sports in the United States. Currently, there are 60 teams from across the country competing in men’s hockey at the Division 1 level. These teams are split up among six conferences, each with its unique strengths and weaknesses.
The Division 1 Men’s Ice Hockey Championship also known as the Frozen Four, is held annually in April, with the top four teams from the NCAA tournament advancing to compete for the championship title. With so many talented teams vying for their chance to win it all every year, the Frozen Four never disappoints in showcasing some of the best young talent on the ice across the nation.
Breakdown of the Most Competitive Conference and Championship Games
Each conference offers an exciting brand of play, but if we had to single out the most competitive conference of them all, it would have to be Hockey East. This conference includes powerhouses like Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, Providence, and UMass Amherst- all consistently ranked in the top 20 throughout the season. Additionally, the Hockey East has produced the last three national champions: Providence (2015), Boston University (2016), and Denver (2017).
In regards to the best championship games in recent history, Boston University earned its sixth national title in 2015 with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Hockey East rival, Providence. Perhaps even more legendary was the 2009 final game which saw Boston University beat Miami University 4-3 in overtime. While this matchup might not have had the same championship pedigree as some of the others, it’s remembered for its electric atmosphere and sudden-death finish.
“It really was a great progression through the year. That BU team that won in 2009 was fun to watch… they went on to claim their national championship against a Miami team that many thought were the best – who were undefeated up until that point.” -Brian Engblom
Finally, we would be remiss not to mention Minnesota-Duluth, one of the most successful programs in recent years. The Bulldogs have been to four consecutive Frozen Fours, winning two championships along the way (2018, 2021). As one of the top teams in Division 1 hockey, fans can look forward to watching Minnesota-Duluth continue to dominate on the ice in the coming seasons.
The Future of Division 1 Hockey Conferences and Tournaments
College sports are frequently subject to conference realignment, and men’s ice hockey is no exception. In Fall 2022, St. Thomas will move from Division III to Division I and join the non-football-playing Pioneer League with 10 other schools near or within a few-hours drive of Minneapolis-St. Paul. This addition expands the variety of conference matchups in the Midwest region.
In terms of tournament changes, perhaps nothing has been more transformative than recent efforts to boost attendance at games. Host arenas now market fan-centric experiences including VIP sections, pre/post-game parties, and tailgating. The NCAA has also made accessibility easier by providing an online platform where tickets and packages may be ordered ahead of time. With such initiatives designed to draw even more fans, it’s clear that the future of Division 1 men’s ice hockey is bright.
No matter which conference you follow, or which championship game you love best, one thing is for certain: NCAA Division 1 Men’s Ice Hockey promises excitement and fast-paced action every step of the way. From the Frozen Four to regular season matchups, this sport has it all.
Learn About the Scholarships and Opportunities for Division 1 Hockey Players
Scholarship Programs for Division 1 Hockey Players
If you are a talented hockey player, pursuing your passion at the college level can be an expensive endeavor. Thankfully, NCAA Division I colleges and universities offer generous scholarship programs to offset some of these costs.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allows Division I schools to provide athletic scholarships that cover tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses related to attending school. These scholarships can be partial or full rides, depending on the athlete’s talent and needs.
To receive a scholarship as a hockey player, you need to be noticed by college recruiters. You can either reach out to them yourself or use online recruiting services to help you get noticed. Regardless, you must maintain good grades and meet academic eligibility requirements set forth by the NCAA to be considered.
Career Opportunities and Advancements in Division 1 Hockey
While some student-athletes use their college experience to sharpen their skills before turning pro, others prefer to pursue careers outside of playing the sport.
A degree from a Division I college provides opportunities beyond professional hockey. Many graduates go on to work in sports management, coaching, sports journalism, broadcasting, and more. What’s more, many NHL players have pursued these careers after hanging up their skates.
Division I college hockey is also a hotbed for attracting attention from professional scouts and team managers. Developing solid relationships with coaches and peers while showcasing your competitive abilities can lead to various career options beyond graduation.
“Playing collegiate hockey gives players an opportunity to develop not only in the game but in life as well,” said USA Hockey Executive Director Pat Kelleher. “The NCAA not only prepares them for life after hockey with a quality education but it’s also one of the best development paths to pro hockey.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the total number of Division 1 hockey teams in the United States?
There are 60 Division 1 hockey teams in the United States. These teams are spread across 6 different conferences, providing a wide variety of competition for fans to enjoy. Some of the most popular teams include Boston College, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
How many conferences are there in Division 1 hockey?
There are 6 conferences in Division 1 hockey. These conferences are the Atlantic Hockey Association, Big Ten Conference, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East Association, National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Each conference has its own set of teams, and teams within each conference play each other multiple times throughout the season.
Which states have the most Division 1 hockey teams?
Minnesota and Massachusetts have the most Division 1 hockey teams, with 5 teams each. Other states with multiple Division 1 hockey teams include Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. These states all have a rich hockey tradition and are home to some of the best college hockey programs in the country.
What is the minimum number of games a Division 1 hockey team must play in a season?
The minimum number of games a Division 1 hockey team must play in a season is 28. This includes conference games as well as non-conference games. However, most teams play more than 28 games each season in order to give themselves a better chance of making the NCAA tournament.
How many Division 1 hockey teams make it to the NCAA tournament each year?
A total of 16 Division 1 hockey teams make it to the NCAA tournament each year. These teams are selected based on their performance throughout the season, with preference given to conference champions and teams with the best overall records. The NCAA tournament is a single-elimination event, with the winner being crowned the national champion.