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With Honors, Too

23 March 2017

I spent a fair bit of time breaking down some stats about the WCHA’s All-Academic Team when it was announced, and decided to do the same for the NCHC’s. I didn’t realize that it had been released over a month ago, since I expected it to be announced with the rest of the awards. Stupid me. Here’s the full list of players.

I’ll say it again, schools don’t do enough to emphasize the student in student-athlete. When I look up a senior on DU and find out his major is “undecided,” I think one of two things: 1. He declared a major but DU doesn’t care about updating a player’s bio once he declares (but have no problem whipping out a thesaurus to write a ridiculous blurb about the player’s accomplishments over the previous seasion), or 2. He is still undeclared and DU doesn’t care whether or not their players are on track to graduate. Neither is a good look, Monty/Peg.

The average number of All-Academic team athletes per school was 15.38. UNO leads the way with 19, so I guess Gappy McTooth is doing something right there. The average roster size for the NCHC is 27.38 (CC has 31 guys!), and the demographics of the team will affect how many players are eligible. Like, Miami looks like a bunch of chumps, but they have 14 freshmen out of 26 guys. That means all but two of their eligible players (idk, maybe someone is a red shirt freshman, but I don’t care) is on the team. I say all but 2 because they actually have a non-rostered player, Johnny Wingels, on the team. Because he is a non-rostered player, he is included in the chart below, but not in any of the future charts (as the pertinent data is not readily available). Congratulations to all 123 of these men!

Sorry about the formatting on these charts. Google Sheets isn’t as nice as Excel. I don’t want all this freaking white space!!! Look how stupid the chart below looks, with all that space in the bottom right. Gah.

By position, of course there are more forwards than defencemen than goaltenders, since that’s how a normal roster is made up. What’s interesting is the proportional makeup of the All-Academic Team is almost identical to the proportional makeup of the population of players as a whole. This happened on the women’s side as well. No position outperformed their proportion.

I considered comparing the men’s and women’s results, but ultimately decided against it. First, while there are 8 women’s teams in the WCHA and 8 men’s teams in the NCHC, there’s not significant overlap in the member schools. There are also more rostered men than rostered women, so the comparisons would all have to be proportional, and I didn’t feel like pulling all that stuff together. Finally, I don’t think it really says much, other than maybe looking at the majors, which we will.

Here’s how the majors break down by category. Applied sciences are things like exercise science or public health (I see you, Brendan Kotyk). 51% of the players are majoring in a business-type subject (there could be more, as you see 26% were either undecided/undeclared or their bio did not list their major), which is not super surprising. There are way more business majors than on the women’s side (18% over there). As a person with a business-type major (finance and accounting), that is not surprising, as my classes always seemed to have more men than women. And we all know anecdotal evidence is proof, right?

There are 4 engineering majors, and 3 are goalies. Will Massey, Matt Hrynkiw, and Nick Deery are the goalies, and Ben Storm is… idk, a Fooper who really, really didn’t want to go to Tech? There were 3 women in the WCHA majoring in engineering (again, possibly more, as 36% of players did not have a major provided!), which is interesting – as a person with an engineering degree (mechanical), my classes were teeming with men and I was frequently the only woman. I’m not surprised engineering and sciences are uncommon majors among hockey players, due to the workload from the majors (especially engineering), the time commitment from the sport, and the schedule complications due to labs and senior design. When looking at all the STEM categories (applied science, science, and engineering), a higher proportion of women (22.7%) than men (8.2%) are enrolled in those majors. Now that’s something interesting.

I looked at where the players were from geographically: 75% of NCHC players are American. This is higher than I thought! Canadians underperformed vs. the general population of rostered Canadians, and Americans and Europeans slightly overperformed. I didn’t look at the population of eligible players (it’s too hard to tell due to transfers/red shirts), so it could be that there’s a lot of freshmen Canadians and they didn’t truly underperform, but, c’mon. The map just shows the states/provinces where the All-Academic team guys are from, it doesn’t really say stuff, it’s just there for Biddy because he likes maps.

Congrats again to all 123 players! Thanks for setting an example for young hockey players that education is important, and for making the most out of this great opportunity before moving on to your pro careers, whether you go pro in hockey or you don’t.

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