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Makar Headlines NCAA’s Impressive CJHL Grad Class

By Sam Laskaris on September 29, 2017

Cale Makar is entering his first year in NCAA Division 1 hockey after being selected fourth overall by the Colorado Avalanche at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. (Emily Duncan / Em Rose Photography)

NCAA Division 1 rosters once again stacked with CJHL graduate talent.

Representatives from Canadian Junior Hockey League franchises have plenty of proof that they are doing an excellent job on player development.

Heading into the 2017-18 NCAA season, there were a total of 501 Canadians listed on the rosters of all of the Division 1 men’s hockey teams.

The vast majority of those Canucks would have been groomed in one of the 10 Junior A leagues across the country that make up the CJHL.

The NCAA is not the only level that those in the CJHL aspire to move up to. Many go on to compete for Major Junior franchises or for college or university clubs in Canada.

For those, however, looking to further their academic and hockey pursuits at the collegiate level south of the border, suiting up for a CJHL squad is perhaps the most logical choice.

“As a group of 10 leagues we've embraced the opportunity to be that vehicle for student-athletes who advance their hockey careers while pursuing academic opportunities in the NCAA,” said Kevin Abrams, who was recently appointed as the CJHL’s Chairman of the Board.

Of the slightly more than 500 Canadians on Division 1 clubs for the coming season, about one-quarter of this figure (125 players) would have toiled in the CJHL this past year.

These freshmen included five of the seven players from CJHL squads that were selected in the National Hockey League’s Entry Draft this past June.

This list features defenceman Cale Makar, who starred for the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). Makar, who was scooped up fourth overall in the draft by the Colorado Avalanche, has taken his talents to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Makar’s teammate in Brooks, forward Parker Foo, will suit up for New York’s Union College this season. Foo was a Chicago Blackhawks’ fifth-round pick in June.

Other NHL draftees who spent the past season in the CJHL and will compete in the NCAA this season are defencemen Ian Mitchell and Cameron Crotty and forward Bryce Misley.

Mitchell, who shone with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints the last two years and was a Blackhawks’ second-round pick, is at the University of Denver.

Crotty has moved on to Boston University after patrolling the blueline for the Central Canada Hockey League’s Brockville Braves over the last two years. Crotty was an Arizona Coyotes’ third-round pick.

And Misley, a fourth-round selection of the Minnesota Wild, will represent the University of Vermont this season. He spent the last two seasons with the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Oakville Blades.

The two other players from the CJHL that were drafted in June – Kale Howarth (Trail Smoke Eaters of the British Columbia Hockey League) and Nick Campoli (OJHL’s North York Rangers) – have returned to their junior squads before embarking on their NCAA careers next year.

Howarth, a Columbus Blue Jackets draftee, has committed to the University of Connecticut, while Campoli, a Vegas Golden Knights pick, will attend New York’s Clarkson University.

While statistics can sometimes be deceiving, they are definitely not when it comes to proof those who have some success in the CJHL can be offered scholarships to continue their careers in the NCAA.

“For nearly 500 Canadians currently playing Division 1 hockey each year, the CJHL provided that platform for exposure and development,” Abrams said.

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By Sam Laskaris| September 29, 2017
Categories:  College
Keywords:  NCAA

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