What Colleges Have Field Hockey? [Expert Review!]

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According to NCAA.com, college field hockey is one of the fastest-growing sports, adding 18 teams in the 2014–15 season alone. What’s more is the number of men’s teams is projected to double by the 2018–19 season. Why is hockey such a popular sport among students? We took a look at the top-ranked colleges in the country that play hockey.

1. Michigan

The hockey-loving populace of Wolverine country will be able to boast about their college program with the most victories in the country. With an undefeated season in 2015 and the program ranked No. 1 in the nation, it’s fair to say that Michigan has established a tradition of excellence in the world of hockey. The team’s impressive record of 24–0 represents a feat that has never been accomplished before. The winning streak continues through the 2018–19 season and includes an undefeated conference record.

Hockey was first offered as a college sport in Michigan in the 1918–19 season. The team started off with a bang, going 8–0 (the first of what would be 24 undefeated seasons), and has been a presence on the national stage ever since. The team has made the NCAA tournament every season since it began, most recently in 2018, when it made the Final Four.

2. Minnesota

One of the most historic sports venues in the country is the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Minneapolis Arena sports complex has been the site of some incredible matches, including a hockey game in which Gordie Howe beat the Russians 4–3 in front of 19,000 spectators. Since the arena opened in 1924, it has seen some of the greatest moments in hockey history. Perhaps the most memorable one was when Howe’s son, Gordie Jr., scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against the University of Notre Dame

The Gophers have been a force to be reckoned with on the ice for a long time, but they’ve also been a force off the ice as well, establishing a law school and a baseball program that was later adopted by the NBA. With over 100 years of hockey tradition, it’s not hard to see why the Gophers are one of the most popular teams in college hockey. Since 1924, Minnesota has made the NCAA tournament every season and finished first or second in its division nine times. The Gophers also have the proud distinction of being the only team in the nation to win championships in all four major sporting events: hockey, ice dancing, baseball, and football. The baseball team won the school’s first national championship in 1938.

3. North Dakota

Located in the middle of the United States, North Dakota is another school that has established itself as a force to be reckoned with, playing a rugged brand of hockey that is similar to the kind that its home state is famous for. Since North Dakota athletic director Jerry Wardell put the wheels in motion by allowing hockey to be offered as a sport in the first place, the school has been successful, making the tournament each season and winning 16 out of 20 possible games in the process. The longest winning streak in the history of the school began in the 1996–97 season and continued for ten years.

Like many other schools on this list, the hockey tradition in North Dakota runs deep, with the school’s varsity team winning the national title in 1930, 1933, and 1934. Since 1924, North Dakota has been a consistent hockey force, making the tournament as a top-eight team every year and winning at least 16 games every season. The team was also twice named the nation’s top-rated team in the country.

4. Wisconsin

Another Big Ten school makes our list of the top-ranked colleges that play hockey. The Badgers have been a force to be reckoned with for years, making the tournament every season and winning it twice. Wisconsin also has one of the most storied hockey programs in the nation, with the team winning three national titles: in 1938, 1942, and 1943. The most recent one came in 1938, making the Badgers the second team in history to win back-to-back titles.

The program experienced something of a drought for a while after World War II, winning just one national title in 1946, but it has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. Wisconsin has made the tournament every season, except for two years, since 1946, and has finished in the top eight of the Big Ten Conference every year. Since 1998, the Badgers have won at least 16 games every year, and they’ve even won 20 or more games a few times.

5. Colorado

Finally, we come to one of the newest members of the Southeastern Conference, the University of Colorado. The Buffaloes play a physical brand of hockey that is similar to the kind that they’re known for in the Rockies. The team played its first game in the 1957–58 season, making it one of the youngest teams in the country. The Buffaloes have been a top-eight school in every season since then, making the tournament as a top-four team each year. The team has also made it to the Frozen Four seven times, winning it in 1967, and reaching the Final Four four times. Additionally, they have finished first in the Pac-12 Conference twice, in 2010 and 2014.

With an enrollment of just over 20,000, the University of Colorado hockey program is one of the smaller ones in the country. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t pack a punch. The team has been a top-eight program throughout its entire history, most recently placing third in the nation in 2015.

6. Yale

Yale is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. It wasn’t originally incorporated until 1701, making it the nation’s second-oldest university. The Elis have excelled in just about every sport and academic endeavor, making them a force to be reckoned with on the ice and in the classroom. For many years, Yale was the lone member of the Ivy League that didn’t offer hockey as a sport. However, that all changed in the 1919–20 season, when the team was offered a hockey program and became the first Ivy League school to have a field hockey team. The team won back-to-back titles in the 1920s and has been a top-three program ever since.

Yale was a founding charter member of the Big Five and has made the tournament each season, with a best-ever finish of second in 1929 and 1930. Since 1924, the Elis have made the tournament as a top-two team each year and have won at least 15 games each season. The hockey program also boasts arguably the greatest coach in the history of the sport, as New York City native George Cummings won 713 games, five National Collegiate Championships, and four NCAA Tournament cups. His teams only lost 22 games, all in the regular season, in the 70 years that he coached the sport.

7. Harvard

Harvard doesn’t mess around when it comes to hockey, having won the national title twice, in 1935 and 1939, and reaching the Final Four six times. Since 1919, the Crimson have been one of the premier teams in the country. It played its first official game in the 19th century, with Princeton its first opponent in the sport. After both schools had established themselves as hockey powers, they met for the first time in the 1915–16 season. In that game, the teams played for an hour before a crowd of 2,000 spectators. That game would eventually lead to the creation of the Ivy League, of which Harvard was the first member. Today, the Crimson make the tournament each year and have finished in the top three of the Ivy League each season. The team also has one of the most storied coaches in the history of the game, with Jack Kent Cooke once saying about him, “If there’s a better man to put into a hockey rink, I don’t know who it is.”

8. Portland

Located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest region of the United States, the University of Portland knows how to take advantage of the area’s breathtaking scenery. With over 50,000 students, the U of P also knows how to fill its hockey rink with spectators. The Tigers also made the tournament each year from its inception in 1924 until 1938, with their best season coming in 1924–25, when they went 14–4–1. Since then, it’s been a force to be reckoned with on the ice, making the tournament as a top-five program each season and winning it in 1989. The team also reached the Final Four in 1985, 1987, and 1991. In 2015, the Tigers finished No. 3 in the country.

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