As most of you (okay, all of you) know by now, I like to write about the college club hockey scene. Well I had the opportunity to speak with the Executive Director of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Mike Walley. Mike's a 30 year Veteran of the Navy and former hockey player and was more than happy to speak with me and give some insight into the biggest Collegiate sport association Next to the NCAA.
Speaking a little bit about the history of the ACHA, Mike explained that it started out with 20 teams in 1990 all the way to over 300 as of this past season with a average growth rate of 20-30%. Mike explained to me that the main reason for the growth is the fact that hockey is a growing sport and most schools in the U.S. don't have the ability to make hockey a varsity sport causing a shortage of competition at the varsity level in the NCAA. That being said, the benefits of playing in the ACHA as compared to the NCAA are:
- The league is in both the USA and Canada
- You have 5 years of eligibility compared to the 4 of the NCAA
- The playing level at DI is comparative to a D3 NCAA team
- And Major Junior players are ACHA eligible.
Another Impressive fact of the ACHA is that the majority of teams who play in the ACHA have a 90-100% graduation rate. This is because the ACHA is focused on having all their players succeed at the academic level first and foremost and then be college hockey players second.
While all this sounds good, it has not come without sacrifice. I'm sure that most of you know that hockey is expensive and the ACHA is not excluded for the exorbitant costs that come with playing hockey. at most universities, the teams receive a set amount of money for the year from the school instead of from the athletic department. While there is fundraising options available, It does keep the players grounded and thankful that they get the opportunity to represent their school as both a student and as a hockey player.
All that being said, I think the thing that stuck out most to me was a story that Mike had told me. It was about two California boys who got offered to play out at a DIII college in New York. However, both wanted to go to a prestigious California university for Pre-med. Being that this college had a DI ACHA team that played at the same level, Mike explained to them that they could still play the same level of hockey while going to the school that they desired. After telling them that they Enrolled at the California university and played for their hockey team.
Overall I'd say that the ACHA has made great strides in the 26 years of its existence and it's constantly looking to grow in teams, sponsors, and fans. I wish Mike and the ACHA the best of luck for the future and please, come to Pittsburgh for nationals next year!
Don't forget guys that we have the COTW voting so get on that.
COTW March 10-16 vote (ends Friday @ noon Eastern)
Hat Competition (entries due Friday @ noon Eastern)
Onto the Concepts, or should I call it the Anthony show be cause all the concepts are by Anthony C. today!
Negatives: The simple "M" with the primary logo nowhere to be found is a problem for me. Also, you could recolor the logo to represent their current colors. Finally, get rid of that floating number on the sleeves.
Negatives: Get rid of the phantom yoke or keep a black yoke on both jersey. make that hem stripe wider on the bottom of the jersey or get rid of it and keep the bottom of the jersey a different color. Finally, those floating numbers again.
Negatives: The half stripes on the two colored yoke doesn't really look as nice as the dark jersey but still it works ok. Also, this is the last time I'm going to tell you about those floating numbers. Just assume that for the rest of the jerseys.
University of Ottawa
Negatives: When it comes to the Nike template, you need to take into consideration that: the stripes on the sleeves are more angled, the numbers on the sleeves are bigger, the captains patch is never in between the yoke in jersey, and the numbers on the back never cover the tie down.
University of Toronto
Negatives: My only issue is the floating numbers and the main logo looks a little big on the chest.
Overall: 8.5/10 COTW NOMINEE!
U of Ontario Institute of Technology 1
Negatives: Those darn Adidas stripes just look awkward on this template.
U of Ontario Institute of Technology 2
Negatives: Those Adidas stripes again.
Anthony, I get that you have all these ideas and you want to share them with us, but quality of quantity. take the time to not just put the TV numbers there with the one floating above the jersey. Try different designs of a concept before you send it in. It's ok to spend a few weeks on a design instead if it means making it better. You have a good thought process going on here and a good idea of design but you need to focus more on the execution of it.
Thanks again to Mike at the ACHA for speaking with me and letting me write a story on the ACHA. I really enjoyed speaking with him and I think that the ACHA picked the right guy to help improve the association. Have a good week everybody and I'll see you this time next week.