16 teams have advanced to the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Tournament that will eventually culminate into the Frozen Four in Tampa, FL at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning. 242 USHL alumni make up 56% of players across the 16 teams. USHL alumni have won the Frozen Four MVP in 7 of the last 9 years, in addition to the last five consecutive Hober Baker Awards. 88% of 1st round NHL Draft picks playing in the NCAA this season previously played in the USHL. All 16 NCAA rosters have at least seven USHL alumni playing in the tournament.
- This year’s tournament features a bevy of USHL alumni, as 56% of the players in the tournament played in the league. 71 of those players have already been selected in the NHL Draft.
- Seven players in the tournament are both USHL alumni and finalists for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award: three Michigan Wolverines – Connor, J.T Compher (Team USA), and Tyler Motte (Team USA), a pair of goaltenders - Boston College’s Thatcher Demko (Team USA) and Yale goaltender Alex Lyon (Omaha Lancers), and St. Cloud State defenseman Ethan Prow (Des Moines Buccaneers).
- Four of the five Mike Richter award finalists are also USHL alumni and are playing in this year’s tournament – Demko, Lyon, North Dakota’s Cam Johnson (Waterloo Black Hawks), and St. Cloud’s Charlie Lindgren (Sioux Falls Stampede).
- The top three teams with the most USHL alumni are all featured in the Midwest region, as North Dakota, Notre Dame, and Michigan will all play their first round games in Cincinnati over the weekend, including former Youngstown Phantom and the year’s NCAA scoring champion Kyle Connor. Connor and fellow 2015 1st round NHL Draft pick Brock Boeser (Waterloo Black Hawks) will potentially play against one another within the region. Boeser is expected to play on a line with 2014 1st round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks Nick Schmaltz (Green Bay Gamblers). The Michigan Wolverines take on the Fighting Irish Friday night at US Bank Arena. North Dakota, the team with the most USHL alumni on the roster, will faceoff with the Northeastern Huskies of Hockey East, the conference that boasts the most USHL alumni of any conference in college hockey (91), as well as the conference who features the most teams in the tournament with six. Northeastern forward and Anaheim Ducks prospect Kevin Roy (Lincoln Stars) remains the only USHL player to score 50 goals and 100 points in USHL Tier 1 history (2001-present).
- Two other Massachusetts rivals will square off in the Northeast regional as the Boston College Eagles will take on the Harvard Crimson. 60 percent of the players in that game are USHL alumni, including 19 for BC and 14 for Harvard. The third Hockey East team in the Northeast regional is Providence, as the Friars, whose roster features 14 USHL alums, take on the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs out of the NCHC, a conference who sports 51 USHL alumni in the tournament. The NCHC was only behind the Big Ten this season with 63% of the players in the league coming from the USHL. 70% of the Big Ten’s players are USHL alumni.
- Hockey East and the NCHC are also featured prominently in the West regional, as Boston University takes on the Denver Pioneers in an inter-conference battle, and the final NCHC team in the field, the St. Cloud State Huskies, take on the WCHA champion Ferris State Bulldogs, a team with 13 alumni on the roster.
- The East regional features two ECAC teams - one facing the Atlantic Hockey champion, and the other facing the final Hockey East team in the field. The Qunnipiac Bobcats will take on RIT in an intra-conference tilt, and the Yale Bulldogs will battle the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Between the four teams, 47 USHL alumni will take the ice in Albany, NY this weekend.
- Team USA leads all USHL teams in alumni with 51, followed by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (29), Omaha Lancers (25), Green Bay Gamblers and Sioux City Musketeers (24), and the Dubuque Fighting Saints (22). All teams have at least one alumnus in the tournament, and 15 of 17 teams have at least 10 alumni. Despite only being in the league for one previous season, both the Madison Capitols and Bloomington Thunder have a representative at this year’s NCAA Championship tournament.
- Three NCAA coaches have ties to USHL teams: Jim Montgomery (Denver University) coached the Dubuque Fighting Saints from 2010-2013, including two Clark Cup Championships in three years; Bob Motzko (St. Cloud State University) coached the North Iowa Huskies from 1986-1991, and the Sioux Falls Stampede from 1999-2001; Jeff Jackson (University of Notre Dame) coached Team USA from 1997-2000, splitting time between the NAHL and USHL from 1998-2000.