Critics may argue that, although the Crimson can boast of a rich and storied hockey history dating back to the last decade, Harvard has declined somewhat from the national scene. But despite the Crimson's dearth of NCAA tournament appearances--Harvard has not been there since 1994--these and other recent hindrances to national recognition have not adversely affected the Crimson's draft performance, or advancement to the NHL.
Many of Harvard's recent graduates are laboring in semi-professional leagues or NHL farm teams, and are doggedly working their way through the ranks. Former captain Craig Adams '99 tops the list, with a recent promotion to the roster of the Carolina Hurricanes, and former captains Jeremiah McCarthy '98 and Trevor Allman '00 are currently in the Carolina farm system.
Defensive linemates Ben Storey '99 and Matt Scorsune '00 are with the Colorado Avalanche's farm team. Mark Moore '00 and J.R. Prestifilippo, one of the most formidable goaltenders in Crimson history, have recently teamed up in the Pittsburgh system.
While other teams can boast having astonishing individual talent--B.U.'s Ricky DiPietro made college hockey history as the first ever goaltender to be picked No. 1 in the draft--the Crimson can boast its depth of NHL potential. Compared to other Division I programs, Harvard touts one of the lengthiest NHL draft lists in the country.
"We have the most in college hockey," sophomore center Dominic Moore said. "Boston is a large city, and scouts get to see us here more often than other schools that are in the middle of nowhere, like Clarkson and Cornell."
Given that there are a limited number of scouts, it makes sense that college towns in metropolitan areas are going to get a majority of the viewing time. But that still does not explain how Harvard remains on par with national powerhouses and cross-town rivals Boston University and Boston College.
"Year in, and year out, we have two, three, or four guys picked, and I don't know why that is," Bala said. "It's an honor and it says a lot about our program. Harvard has always recruited talented kids, and it attracts the attention of the NHL, even though it's not intended to be an NHL theater."
Many smaller, academically rigorous colleges are unable to field hockey programs that are competitive at the Division I level. Therefore, many incoming players jump at the opportunity to play college hockey at one of the most academically challenging institutions in the nation. Harvard's dual commitment to academic and athletic excellence is a huge incentive for many recruits in making their final decisions.
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