Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quinnipiac breaking new recruiting ground in Nova Scotia

For many years Quinnipiac's bread and butter recruiting area was British Columbia with the many players coming from the province's British Columbia Hockey League in Canada. When initially building his program from a Division 2 program into a full fledged Division 1 program, head coach Rand Pecknold had to look to western Canada to find talent for his hockey program. He was one of the early pioneers of recruiting in the BCHL leading to other programs to follow suit. The league produces many college commitments only behind the United States Hockey League in terms of the number of commitments.

Quinnipiac was able to score some of its bests players out of the BCHL with 5 scorers in the programs top 10 playing there, prior to coming to Hamden. Brian Herbert, Bryan Leitch, Brandon Wong, Ben Nelson and Ryan Olson all scored well over 100 points in there career for Quinnipiac and all were recruited out of the BCHL.

With British Columbia being recruited by all sixty Division 1 programs, winning recruiting battles for top prospects there has become even more difficult. However, the Quinnipiac hockey name has grown considerably over the past four seasons with four consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament along with two trips to the Frozen Four (2013, 2016) and playing for the national championship twice.

With hockey growing in the states like Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey, Quinnipiac has been able to get future commitments from players closer to the school. However they are still going into Canada except this time they are started to unlock potential talent in eastern Canada most notably Nova Scotia.

When people think of hockey provinces in Canada the first that come to mind is always Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec as these three provinces have stocked college and professional hockey with some the games greatest talents. Nova Scotia is a place where many people link to the fishing industry but recently they are putting some great talents in professional hockey headlined by Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand.

Quinnipiac has started to break ground on this talent bed in securing verbal commitments from defenseman Peter Diliberatore (2000), who is now playing the 2016-2017 season at Salisbury School in CT. Ethan Phillips (2001) a forward gave a verbal last November and is now playing at Selects Academy (South Kent School, CT) U-15 program. This past weekend the Bobcats got another verbal commitment from forward Jacob Quillan (2002) who is playing for the Steele Subaru Major Midget program with mostly 2000's and 2001's on the roster.

Peter Diliberatore (photo courtesy of The Chronicle Herald)
Recruiting players this young can have its positives and negatives. The positives are that the player's development continues and you have a really good player down the road in 3-4 years and they eventually sign a national letter of intent with the program.

The negatives are the player does not continue his development as they get older and play in better leagues. With this being only a verbal nothing is set in stone until these players sign letters of intent. Other negatives are these players are possible major junior flight risks or they improve so well that they re-open their recruitment for other schools.

Diliberatore was already selected by a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team in Halifax Mooseheads (2016, 4th round). Diliberatore grew up in the Halifax area so this has the possibly of a commitment lost to major juniors. He was however selected in the USHL draft as well by the Sioux Falls Stampede (2016, 10th round). The fact he decided to play a prep season at Salisbury might be a plus in Quinnipiac's favor.
Jacob Quillan (photo courtesy of the Scouting News)

Phillips a 2001 is someone who I would expect to be taken in the 2017 QMJHL draft. He is another player playing in CT at the South Kent School. A season ago he put up 56 points in 33 games playing major bantam as 14 year old. If he has a really good year at Selects Academy I'd expect he would also be drafted in the 2017 USHL phase I draft.

Quillan became Quinnipiac's second 2002 to verbally commit after Victor Czerneckianair, Mid Fairfield U14 verbally committed two weeks ago. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native is playing up a level this season in major midget for Steele Subaru. In 8 games he has posted 4 assists.

With the talent increasing in eastern Canada I would expect that Quinnipiac will increase its scouting there along with the northeast and mid-atlantic states to secure high end talent in order to reach the pinnacle of college hockey.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathan_singer


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