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College Hockey:
Frozen Four no small achievement for non-scholarship Union

The school is one of four non-Ivy League institutions playing Division I hockey that don't offer athletics aid.

Have you heard? A small school made it to the Frozen Four again this year. Just two years after Rochester Institute of Technology crashed the Big Boys’ Party in Detroit, little Union of Schenectady, N.Y. — with all of its 2,133 undergraduates — found a way to sneak into the dance.

What other small schools have come within two wins of the national title? Well, there’s Capital District enemy Rensselaer, with fewer than 5,300 undergraduates. Denver has barely 5,000 undergrads, and Rocky Mountain rival Colorado College is even smaller than Union, with 2,040 students. Lake Superior State has 2,644. Even perennial powerhouse Boston College qualifies as modestly meager with under 10,000 undergraduate students — fewer than Miami, Bowling Green, Minnesota-Duluth, and even … wait a minute … RIT?

2012ff 250 white Frozen Four no small achievement for non scholarship Union

For complete Frozen Four coverage, visit USCHO's Frozen Four Central.

Yep. Little Rochester Institute of Technology, with its paltry 14,225 undergraduates.

Union’s underdog tale isn’t borne of the school’s size, because it has been established that undergraduate enrollment has diddly squat to do with athletic success: The “small schools” aforementioned have accounted for 18 of the 64 NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championships.

The actual angle-of-interest here is that Union is one of only 10 D-I hockey programs to not offer athletic scholarships. The others? RIT, service academies Army and Air Force, and the six Ivy League programs: Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

The number of national titles between them? Three. One from Harvard (ECAC Hockey’s last crown, in 1989) and two from Cornell (1967 and 1970). Suffice to say, non-scholarship programs have been fighting an uphill battle.

Union has fought that fight well in recent years, thanks in large part to non-stop and exhaustive recruiting efforts by its coaches.

“Jason Tapp, Joe Dumais, before that Ben Barr, Bill Riga and [former head coach] Nate Leaman,” said first-year Dutchmen head coach Rick Bennett, who himself had been an assistant at Union for six years prior to Leaman’s departure. “Recruiting is a huge part of it, and … sometimes we get players, and sometimes we don’t. We don’t worry about the players that we don’t get; we’re just happy with the ones that we do get here.

“We kind of go everywhere. Good players will travel has kind of been our motto, so we rely a lot on the phone and then getting on the road, because it’s one thing to be on the phone, and it’s another to be on the road, kind of being in the now as far as knowing where these players are,” Bennett said. “It’s nice that we’ve got a good rapport with a lot of coaches throughout junior hockey and prep school hockey. We always try to be professional about it, and I think that’s kind of helped us here in the past.”

If an excellent staff is one major value in a recruit’s decision-making process, Union seems to have it. The program’s other primary selling point is a top-notch education. The institution placed in the top 30 nationally in Forbes‘ 2011 rankings, and 40th among liberal arts schools in the vaunted U.S. News & World Report assessment.

“For me, I tried to treat the recruiting process like I was picking any other school,” said sophomore goaltender and Hobey Baker Award candidate Troy Grosenick. “My mom told me that when she picked her college, she visited and she just knew: That’s where she belonged. That’s kind of how I approached it.

“The coaching staff, seeing a program on the rise, and being at the school — it’s a great academic school and the campus is absolutely unbelievable — it was just a combination of all of those things, and it didn’t matter that I wasn’t getting a scholarship for hockey. It was just the culture of Union Hockey … and what the school gives you academically, it was a combination of all those factors, and I think that’s what a lot of guys would say on the team.”

The program isn’t hurt by its ECAC Hockey associations or the school’s longstanding ties to the Ivy League, either.

“It’s the best academic league in the country, and I don’t think anybody can dispute that,” Bennett said. “That goes a long way to being a student-athlete. That’s why you go to college. That’s why it says student first and athlete second.”

The Dutchmen hope to become the first non-Ivy, non-scholarship squad to hoist the trophy, and ultimately it’s a perfect combination of hard work, chemistry and determination by both staff and skaters alike that has allowed Union to come this far.

“We recruit character,” Bennett said of his program, and that’s more than just lip service. The Dutchmen must have character on the ice and in the dressing room, of course, but in the classroom and around campus as well. If they only cared about hockey, they wouldn’t have committed to Union in the first place.

“What it really came down to is that I felt absolutely comfortable here, and I really felt like the hard-working culture that has been built here … really spoke to me,” said Grosenick.

Simply by playing for Union, these players have said it all.


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  • Fatty Mcgee the Union Alum

    Union = best team in Frozen 4 and best academics in Frozen 4. 

    An awesome combination!

    • Irish Spectre

      BC’s acceptance rate is considerably lower than Union’s.

      • NeedMoreDetails

        As much as US News would like you to believe it, acceptance rate tells you nothing about the quality of the academics.  How do I know thousands of morons aren’t applying to BC only to be rejected?  Or that the school isn’t gaming the US News system by admitting more Early Decision kids?  Disclosure: I did not go to either BC or Union.

      • ibanezist00

        Using acceptance rate statistics to compare the academic calibre is like comparing fraternities based purely on the size of each pledge class every semester: it is an absolutely useless statistic in the context you’re using it

    • Guest

      Your conference is awful and you had the easiest Regional to get in ..

      You are about the 7th best team in hockey.

      • ibanezist00

        Yawn, another “fan” who believes that any team who has made it to the Frozen Four had it handed to them on a silver platter. If Minnesota or BC drop the championship title this season, I will be waiting to hear the drove of excuses along the lines of “well they had the hardest bracket/regional/didn’t do their magic raindance ritual before the game, so they were beat up/tired…”

        Admit it, if the brackets were completely different you’d still be saying the same thing, and you have no idea what would have happened otherwise.

        • GoldyTheGreat

          If Minnesota loses to BC or Union/Ferris St. then that’s because they deserve to lose and aren’t the best team. That being said, I like my team’s chances.

        • Guest

          Talk when you actually win something!!

          • GetLost

            Is that all you have?  Boring.

          • ibanezist00

            WHOOSH

            Check it out, there’s my point going over your head. I knew I shouldn’t have tried to argue with sports fans. I’m a rabid RPI fan and root for my team, but I know when to admit they’re struggling, or give credit where credit is due, like I’m doing here. In case you couldn’t grasp the real point of what I have said above, I’ll spell it out a little more clearly: No matter what happens, even if Union takes the national title, there will be conference elitists who will not give them any credit or try to write it off as “my team was tired/Union had it super easy”.

            The best part is, you referred to the whole scheme as “you”, assuming 1) I’m a Union fan, or 2) That I somehow participated in wins or losses on the ice.

          • Internet Tough Guy

            After we win, you’ll disappear just like the rest of the ECAC haters. 

            No one gave the team any respect on the ECAC blog after Union took home the Cleary Cup..  It got quieter after the Whitelaw Cup..  Almost still after Michigan State got smoked…  After UML got steamrolled, you could hear a pin drop – I though the ECAC blog comments were disabled….

          • Guest

            You beat a team who should have never been in the NCAA tourny in Mighigan State..  It was 2-1 and then an empty net goal.

            WOW that is smoking them….lol

          • ibanezist00

            So by your sound logic, BC should never have been in the NCAA tourney because they were 1-0 against Air Force until the very end of the game when BC finally scored. Good call, genius

          • Guest

            Are you that dumb?  Michigan State was awfull in their own conference, didn’t even make the Semi-finals of their own Tournament.

            Michigan State didn’t deserve to be in the tournament on the merit of their entire season!

          • JustSayin

            Somebodyhas to be the 15th seed.

          • Ccctomkins

            so…that’s 3-1 and the 1 came on a fluke…and Union also beat UMichigan this season.  They’ve really come along nicely as Davy in a world of Goliaths.  Can’t we all give some props to the little guy?

          • GoAway

            You must be from the WCHA.  Whenever one of your teams beat an ECAC by one goal and/or in OT all we ever hear about is how you “skated circles around” us.

      • WeAppreciateTheLove

        7th?  Wow, that’s the nicest thing anyone has said about an ECAC team this year!  Thanks!

      • ibanezist00

        Also, I’d consider them at minimum the fourth best… because, well, they’re in the Frozen Four, not the Frozen Seven.

      • Dlippiello

        You are quite ignorant and bitter my friend!

        • Guest

          All talk from a fans of a team who has won nothing….

          How many championships you have?  Frozen Four berths?  Talk when you actually win a championship!

          • ButNiceTry

            At one time everybody had zero titles and zero Frozen Four appearances.  And past success has no influence on the present.

          • Leggs2

            Obviously a bitter Sioux—eeeeeee fan.

          • ibanezist00

            You came to a comment forum attached to an article that very clearly spelled in the title which school it was actually about. What kind of comments did you expect?

      • Internet Tough Guy

        When you have beaten two top 16/at-large teams to earn a birth into the frozen FOUR… AND you’ve been ranked by the PAIRWISE, USA TODAY, USCHO COACHES POLL as #3 and INCH POWER RANKINGS as #2  in the country.. 
        Anyone left that still thinks Union is the #7 team in college hockey has taken too many pucks to the head…

        • Guest

          Darn, here it was some of us non-Union fans/alum were trying to stand up for Union as a school with high academic standards, and you go and call a “berth” a “birth”… I would forgive it if the majority of Union students weren’t liberal arts majors and probably had to take some english classes in college.

  • Guest

    You do realize that BC is also in the Frozen Four, right?

    • Irish Spectre

      This is a good story that Union should be proud of, but I’m kind of assuming that their financial aid is more generous for recruits than for the average student.

      As far as academics go, BC is far more ECAC than Hockey East!  …just sayin’.

      • Uhockey

        dude just give up boasting BC’s academics, Union has better academics doesn’t matter some people that have good ACT and SAT scores dont go to the best school, they will go to a school that is right for them, they feel at home. 

        • Seank2676

          Dude BC is a larger university and Union is a smaller college. They are both quite good academic institutions and also starkly different in makeup, composition and character. To claim one is clearly “better” in such a blanket statement makes you look foolish.

          Cripes, act like you’ve been here before.

    • http://twitter.com/SullivanHockey Brian Sullivan

       And you realize that this is about a non-scholarship school, right? The other three programs are on the docket for a feature, one at a time.

    • ibanezist00

      Translation: “I am angry that every feature doesn’t have some blurb about the school I care about”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/N7H4FOPRFUI6K7PSZ53MGWUFR4 D

    I haven’t heard too much recently from the chap who claimed Union was ‘the most over-ranked team in the nation’ before the tournament began.  Choking on words I’ll presume.  Let’s go U! 12303 Schenectady Upstate NY

  • 2cents

    It cost roughly $170,000 for 4 years at Union and I know some Hockey Players were paying around $2k to 5k per year.  It kind of is scholarship.  I also know that most of the hockey players are get jobs out of Union making well over a 100K a year, right out of school.  Pretty good trade off.  I know people from Union and they look after their own, that is for sure.

  • Dlippiello

    To me, there is no question B.C. is a great academic institution, the best in HE. However, I honestly don’t think that anyone in their right mind can claim it is a superior academic institution to Union College. Union very much parallels the NESCAC schools regarding it’s academic make-up,size, and prioritization. Tough to get much better than that. Yet, to me, what makes Union’s accomplishments thus far so special is the lack of scholarships. I have never heard of a player coming to play at the school only paying 2,000-5,000$ a year. As a matter of fact I have never heard anything relatively close to that low number. Good luck to all four teams, they are all excellent programs and institutions!

    • Irish Spectre

      You might want to check out my reply to Edmenke above.

  • Guest

    It’s a bit naive to think that because Union is a “non-scholarship” school that these kids are paying the going rate for tuition, fees, books, room and board.  They are not.  Just like at most other schools.  If that was the case, the 12 scholarship per team Atlantic Hockey league would quickly overtake the non-scholly ECAC schools.  Especially since most of these kids actually are interested in getting a useful education.  As for the Army and Air Force (and Navy as well), none of the students there, NCAA athlete or not, pay a cent to go to school.  They pay it back with by trading 4 years of undergraduate study with 5 years of service to the nation. 

    • Dlippiello

      I don’t think anyone is saying Union players pay the “going rate.” They obviously get help in as many areas as possible. I know for a fact that the hockey players receive more financial help than any other student athletes on campus. Yet they still must pay certain costs and tuition. That stipulation alone makes it a no brainer for many recruits who are being offered partial scholarships from other schools. Union also does not have the ivy label to throw at recruits. Bottom line, it makes it much more difficult to recruit period. I also disagree with the Atlantic hockey comment. Union and hockey recruits mostly come from economically affluent parents who also want their child to attend a school that plays top notch hockey. If a recruits parent has money, that recruit would, in 8 out of 10 cases, choose to play at an ECAC school over any Atlantic school regardless of scholarship offers. We know that most scholarship offers are partial anyway.

      • Union Tampa

        Fact:  60% of students at Union don’t pay the “going rate”..  

        My experience:  My middle class folks had to shell out about 1/3rd ($10k of the $30k at the time) and I didn’t play hockey. Shout out to Mom and Pops – thanks again!

        BTW – The “going rate” is now an absurd $54,273 per year at Union (tuition, room/board, fees).  We wouldn’t have any students, let alone a hockey team if everyone had to pay the “going rate”…

        • EuroTrash

          We wouldn’t have any students, let alone a hockey team if everyone had to pay the “going rate”

          You could be like BU and troll the Middle East for rich kids paying full tuition.  Just try not to get killed by some tool in an M3 doing 90 on Comm. Ave on their way to and from M-80.  Note: I’m still scarred from the 1990s and I didn’t even go to BU.

  • Edmenke

    FACTS: Full sticker at Union College = $56K/yr.  Up 4% every year. So, $.25mill to attend 4 years.  33% pay full sticker.  66% get assistance.  Avg. assistance is roughly $10-12K.  Good endowment, but not anywhere near the Ivies.  Team started in 1976 with Ned Harkness, NCAA champion coach from RPI & Cornell, also Red Wings.  Kids came out of woodwork to play for him.  Union (NESCAC at time) not ready for prime-time D1, made Ned’s life miserable. He quit, so did team. Hockey went D3 for a decade. D1 again in early 90s.  ECAC cellar dweller for two decades.

    Union a hidden gem, on a par with Williams, Amherst, Bowdoin.  Boasts 2 US presidents, 1 Sec’y of State, countless CEOs, tight connections to GE/IBM/F500 firms. Rigorous academics.  Liberal Arts/Sciences/Engineering  President Ainley left Holy Cross to lead Union College.

    Our nation suffers from jock worship. Too many institutions are prey to TV advertising money, get caught up in making athletics an industry, prostituting their campuses and their athletes.  Here’s a small school where student/athlete means something.

    Root for them now.  Hire them later.

    • Irish Spectre

      I’ve got some more fun facts for you, Edmenke.

      Based on the latest entering undergraduate classes, Union’s acceptance rate, average overall SAT score and average ACT score are 42%, 1,940 and 29, respectively, as compared with BC’s, which are 31%, 2,014 and 30.

      It’s the BC grads who are doing the hiring here, once they conclude their pro hockey careers, that is.

      • ibanezist00

        The ACT score average is one point higher, and the SAT score is approximately 70 points higher? Well, that certainly changes everything.

        As for your acceptance rate statistics, how many total overall applications were received by both schools? I’m betting BC’s was just “slightly” higher. Harvard’s acceptance rate is extremely low, but that is most likely a result of everyone under the sun applying because they think they may have a shot or for doing it as a joke.

        Statistics only go so far to prove someone’s point, especially if you only look at them from one angle. The sick part is, I’m an RPI alum and fan, and I’m sticking up for Union here. It’s a good school probably within the same tier as a BC, so there is no need for e-peen waving. I agree with Edmenke’s second to last paragraph about jock worship.

        • JustSayin

          I was going to say the exact same thing about Harvard’s acceptance rate as well!!

          I bet lots of kids apply to BC because they watched BC sports on television as kids.  And plenty more whose parents want them to go to a Catholic school. Maybe it’s their safety school in case they don’t get into Notre Dame. :)  More applications means more rejections means lower acceptance rate.

          • Irish Spectre

            Yes, of course, acceptance rates aren’t apples to apples; but they very definitely are a meaningful data point, and it’s inarguable that a)  as a general rule, the better the school academically, the lower the acceptance rate and b)  there’s a material difference between 31% and 42%.  Standardized test results, on the other hand, ARE apples to apples; the differences there are admittedly slight, but it’s noteworthy that BC comes out ahead in both cases.

            The point is that there’s no way to objectively defend the suggestion, as some have made (though not Edmenke), that Union is academically superior to BC.  The other point is that BC inarguably occupies the rarified air of institutions which BOTH compete often at a high (Div. 1 ranked) level in multiple revenue producing sports, AND maintain exellent academics.  In this vein, Notre Dame, Stanford, and a select few other state and private schools come to mind; there are not many.

          • Lakes15

            This is a hockey site.. Not a forum on academic rates and cost.  Thank you

          • JustSayin

            I don’t think you have proven there is a material difference between 31 and 42 percent, especially since you haven’t even mentioned “yield” which is the percentage of admitted students that enroll.  and you haven’t addressed why it even matters.

          • ibanezist00

            I was writing a post that echoed this one as you posted it… thank you. Percentages are meaningless anyway without actual statistics, which I’ll be honest when I say I don’t care enough to look them up :)

          • Irish Spectre

            Um, materiality isn’t “provable”; did you think otherwise?  That said, allow me to put it as follows:  Union selected for admission 35% more of the applicants to its current Freshmen class than did BC.  It’s a great country we live in, and you are perfectly at liberty to believe that this difference is immaterial; I would suggest, however, that the vast majority of Union students and alumni would disagree, as would you if the subject was something to which you were less emotionally wed (and if not, then I’d REALLY be tempted to question a Union education.)  It matters because it speaks to the question of selectivity, and sure, you can postulate that all of the Union applicants had a Mensa level intelligence, and the BC applicants didn’t, but neither of us actually believe that.

            Oh, and, not to further frustrate your argument, but Union-76 himself below cites the Forbes ’11 list of top colleges, w/ BC and Union at nos. 26 and 29, respectively.

            That we’re not arguing the manifest superiority of BC hockey over Union hockey at least hints that you do have some sense.     

          • JustSayin

            My argument was never about who had the better academics.  Your attempt at the insult in the second to last paragraph falls short.  I simply said acceptance rates don’t prove much of anything. And I didn’t say “materiality isn’t provable”.  I said YOU haven’t proven this particular data point (31 vs. 42 percent) is actually material.  Learn to read.  Also, you rearranged the data (31 vs 42) to make it sound more impressive (35% more!) i.e. you used the same data to make a point you didn’t prove before.    The fact the Union and BC are so close in the Forbes rankings actually makes my point which was never about which school was better. It’s that acceptance rates don’t mean a whole lot.

          • ibanezist00

             Just let it go at this point; inferiority complexes and not knowing the meaning of “statistical insignificance” seems to be running rampant in these threads, and there seems to be no desire to change either one.

          • Irish Spectre

            Your suggestion that I learn to read is supremely ironic.  …where to begin?

            Firstly, my previous was in response to your assertion, “I don’t think you have proven there is a material difference between 31 and 42 percent…”  NOW you’re saying that what you actually said was I “…haven’t proven this particular data point (31 vs. 42) is actually material.”  Is that  a tacit admission of defeat as to your original assertion??

            Secondly, yes, I know you didn’t say “materiality isn’t provable,” nor did I suggest that you did.  In fact, you implied, wrongly, exactly the opposite, and you’ve done so twice now.  It is I who stated that materiality isn’t provable; go back and reread it (maybe this time with the on-site aid of a BC grad!)

            For materiality to be “provable,” there would need to be a universally accepted definition of the term, which there isn’t, and so the argument turns on subjective judgment, and therefore depends on at least a modicum of good faith on the part of the contestants, which seems to be absent on your side (see my first para. above.)

            Thirdly, you talk about me “rearranging” the data.  Um, recall that it’s I who cited the data in the first place; I’ve “rearranged” nothing, I’ve “arranged” it as I saw fit to bolster my point, but, indulging your sorry worldview for a moment, I’ll admit that BC selected for admission 26% fewer of the applicants to its current Freshmen class than did Union.  While this (or any) delta would not be material to you, even it, I’ll wager, would remain a material difference to the average bear (not to mention the average Dutchman, of whom I presume good faith.)

            Finally, yes, I’ve admitted more than once that raw admissions rates and selectivity generally are imperfect bellwethers of a school’s academic prowess, but you have to be simply stupid or disingenuous to deny the correlation that exists between the former and the latter.  (Too, I’ve noticed your studious avoidance of the standardized test results comparison, quite understandably.)   

            Besides admissions rates, standardized test results and rankings, this very repartee yet further advances my thesis about BC academically in comparison to Union; perhaps you should quit now.

    • Fatty Mcgee the Union Alum

      You the Man!

  • Union Tampa

    Another FYI that wasn’t touched on is…

    Out of the 10 non-athletic scholarship schools, only two schools (Union and RIT) are D-III-level for all other men’s sports.  As was covered, RIT is still 7 times the size of Union – a school of 14,000+…

    Approximately 1% of our student body is COMPETING in the Frozen Four…

  • Nyquist77

    All this academic talk  is great but this is still a hockey tournament not mathletics.

    I think it is great to have a smaller school in the Frozen Four

    Ultimately Union & BC will win or lose this tourney on the ice not the classroom.

    • ibanezist00

      If you don’t like the talk about academics as related to college athletics, don’t click on an article with the words “non-scholarship Union” in the title. What did you think this writeup was going to be about otherwise? These guys are still students, these are not professional sports clubs, so I think the academic talk is at least somewhat relevant.

      • Nyquist77

         Sounds like someone forgot to take their meds today?

        Using your sound logic, if you don’t like my post then don’t read it

    • Upstate

       yes, should stop before all those ivy league kids come in

  • Bartneally

    If they only pay 10% of tuition, isn’t it a scholarship?

  • BC Turtlenecks

    BC must have ridiculous acceptance standards, as they don’t accept enough students to fill their arena for home games.  Pretty pathetic when you are outnumbered 12 to 1 by a fans traveling from Orono when your team is playing in its backyard for the HE Championship.  I respect the team, but the fanbase is pretty pathetic.

  • UpNorthHockey

    All this chest thumping won’t matter because the 18 full ride guys with an average 23 ACT from Ferris State are going to walk all over Union before they manhandle Boston College…..

    • ibanezist00

      Kind of like how Michigan was going to walk all over Cornell, and BC was going to walk all over Air Force (held to one goal until VERY late in the game)?

      • JakeB

        You’re serious right… Air Force game was no more than an afternoon skate for BC… play clamp-down defense and go home without extending yourself… Then go outskate UMD, 4-0 on the way to the Final Four.

        • WhoAreYouKidding

          Uh, I watched both games and BC did not look good against Air Force.  I don’t think they would have been “extending themselves” to get a two goal lead much earlier and not risk a fluke goal tying things up late.

  • Jimmylittleman

    Well at least the talk of the article is revolving around the idea of “student-athletes” rather than the usual My conference is tougher than your conference BS that you hear people whining about on this every year – especially the WCHA folks.  Go Union and win it all.

  • Union-76

    Union started D-III hockey in 1975, not 1976 (I covered the team for the school newspaper), and in those days (when college was far less expensive), at least half the kids at Union didn’t get financial aid.  With college costs having gone up by a factor of 9 since then (note that salaries have not kept pace), more students get some aid, but few get a full ride and aid is dependent on the family’s financial situation.  If students come from families with less income then they’d be more likely to get some aid, it’s as simple as that.

    The Forbes list (from 2011) of the top colleges shows Boston College at 26th and Union at 29th, with annual costs around $54K for both schools.  Ferris State and Minnesota didn’t crack the top 100, but then again they cost quite a bit less.

    Union has always been at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting top hockey players, because kids who want/need an athletic scholarship will go elsewhere, and kids who want an Ivy League name on their diploma will go to an Ivy League school if they can get in.  It took a long time for the Union program to gain traction and start attracting the kind of talent they have now.  Thanks to the coaches for that!

    As someone mentioned, Union is D-III in every other sport, and nobody goes to Union thinking they might become a pro athlete someday.  However, lots of kids do go to Union because they want to become a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer or pursue a graduate degree down the line.

    It’s also amazing how the brackets are always questioned after the fact.  The Bracketology guy nailed it, and all he did was use the same formula that the committee uses, it just worked out that way.  It’s hard to believe that a fan of team with 12-15 losses can complain…just win more during the regular season and your bracket will probably be easier, too!

    Also note that the Forbes top 100 schools shows Colorado College (31st) from the WCHA, BU (82nd) from HE, Michigan (93rd) from the CCHA.  But 7 of the 12 ECAC schools are rated in the top 51 (Union, plus Harvard, Brown, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell and Princeton).

    Go Union!

    • Union-76

       Oops, Colgate (37th) and St. Lawrence (64th) are also in the top 100, I apologize for overlooking them…thus, 9 of the 12 ECAC teams are in the top 64…

    • Guest

      Don’t even try comparing wins and loses.  Your league is not good!  Union would not make the NCAA tourny if they played in the CCHA, WCHA or Hockey East.

      • OhRightYouCant

        And you can prove this how, exactly?  

      • Leggs2

        Hmmmm…Union beat Lowell and Merrimack this year, and lost a close one in Durham.  They would CRUSH UMassAmherst, Vermont, Northeastern and Providence, and maybe even BU.
        GO DUTCHMEN!!

        • Leggs2

          Not to mention they CRUSHED Michigan in Ann Arbor, beat MSU, tied WMU twice, and had close losses to Denver and CC on the road.

      • Philipvanschepen

        They don’t care, that’s okay they”re gona be your boss someday. It’s a great story. This is what COLLEGE sports are all about. Acedemics first sports second. Congrats Union. Too bad they all pale in comparison to that great combination of academics, athletics  and cost effectiveness  with a team GPA over 3.0 ;)  Go Gophers!

        • go U!!!

           Union did beat the Gophers last year in Minnesota after their flight was delayed 7 hours during a blizzard….so, we’ll see, provided that both  Union and Minnesota win Thursday.

      • JustSayin

        In any given year fifth place in the WCHA, CCHA, or Hockey East will likely get you into the tournament.  I think Union could do that easily.

    • Leggs2

      Close enough—it was the 1975-76 season.
      Union-77.

      • Union-76

         I think I wrote that hockey started in 1975 at Union…the 1975-1976 season…Build it and they will come, and they built a rink (with a $2 million donation from a fellow named H. Laurence Achilles) and sure enough the hockey players came…I was lucky enough to watch every game from the press box…

        • Leggs2

          Not sure the new rink had much to do with it.  It was all due to Ned Harkness, a legend in this own time.

          • Union-76

            The rink came first (they started building it in 1974) and then Ned Harkness was hired as coach, I think sometime during the winter of 1974-1975.  He recruited a great freshman class (all freshman) and they became very good very quickly…unfortunately he didn’t last long…

          • Leggs2

            Harkness wanted to go Division 1, but the school didn’t, so he walked away.

    • AlbanyBill

      Poor Colgate gets no respect.  They ranked 37th on the Forbes list (making a total of eight ECAC schools in the top 51.  Also as I recall, they lost the NCAA championship game to Wisconsin back in 1990.  At that time, Colgate was also a non-scholarship school with a student population of under 3,000.

    • Go ‘Gate!

      Don’t forget Colgate at #37.  Boom!

  • Mconte354

    In the 60′s and ’70′s the western hockey schools  had athletic scholarships but, to the best of my knowlege, none of the eastern programs did.  DI was only ECAC and WCHA.  It was all need-based financial aid for us playing in the east.  Nothing wrong with that and I suspect our competitors out west were no better off financially than we were.  Today, with 18 (or 12) scholarships to spread over 25 players I am sure that many hockey scholarship recipients get less aid than many Union (or Ivy) hockey players.

    I would like to know what are the limits, restrictions and controls the Ivies and Union are subjected to.  Also, what percentage of the costs are NOT covered by the various categories of financial aid?  Also, can players in “scholarship” hockey programs get any money outside of the athletic scholarship description?
    What about two-sport athletes, particularly at places like RPI and SLU that are D3 except for hockey?
    Perhaps, Mr Sullivan would research and write about these things with the off-season fast-approaching.

  • Guest

    Add Colgate to that list of small, strongly academic hockey schools which have succeeded.    Same size  enrollment as Union, they started giving a limited number of scholarships a decade ago, but prior to that went to the NCAA final game vs Wisconsin in 1990.   Also, notice how few  ECAC players jump to the pros after a year or two. They prefer the Ken Dryden model: graduation, NHL, law degree.  I’m amazed at Rick Santorum-type comments today about good colleges! 

    • Fatty Mcgee the Union Alum

      You are correct.  Colgate is an amazing school. 

  • Hamtramck

    Michigan Tech: 10 NCAA Final 4 trips, 4 time NCAA Runners Up, 3 National Championships, currently 6,460 students, so by the article’s criteria (<5,000 enrollment) not a small school, but why mention BC then?  Thanks for the memories John MacInnes! Go get yours Mel Pearson!

    • JakeB

      25-30 years ago, maybe… Totally irrelevant today. Take the last 15 years, … BC, Michigan, North Dakota, and surprise, surprise Maine, are the only ones with significant numbers for NCAA Tournament appearances, Final Fours, Final Four finals and NCAA championships. Miami has been in 6-7, and a final or two, hasn’t hasn’t won anything yet. I don’t have time to bore you with all the numbers, so check it on-line if you dare to look. You’ll be amazed at who is relevant.

      • Internet Tough Guy

        Couldn’t agree more.. lets talk about 2010 to now, not 1930 to now – the last 3 years are actually relevant since the players might actually still be enrolled..

        Wait, Union has made the NCAA tourney 2 of 3 years and is 0.667 winning percentage. 

      • Guest

        I think you forgot Minnesota!

  • ibanezist00

    Man, sure is conference elitism in here.

  • Fatty Mcgee the Union Alum

    Doug Flutie put BC on the “map”.  Without his Hail Mary pass, the school is no better than Providence.  It is all about the popularity and that happened post-Flutie.  The school even had stickers made up simply stating “Thanks Doug”.  I’d argue Holy Cross is a much better academic school than BC.  Union has always been (1795) and always will be a better academic school than BC..

    • Irish Spectre

      Yup, the Flutie effect put BC on the map and raised its academic and athletic standing; that was 25+ years ago, and the university has not looked back.  I’m sorry for you that Union remains off the map and able to offer nothing in the way of objective data to argue for its superiority over or even equality with BC, athletic OR academic.

      …but you ARE pretty adept at unsubstantiated cheerleading, of necessity, I guess.

      • Fatty Mcgee the Union Alum

        Reality is BC  suffers from ND envy. 

        And how could a QB (who I do like) raise a school’s academic standing? 
        Did Flutie teach organic chemistry too? 
        Yes, he raised the popularity of the school.  And the result was and is you’ve probably got some better (smarter) kids applying and that is good.  But Union (around since 1795) never had a problem getting smart kids.  We didn’t need a QB (or for that matter a hockey team) to raise our academic standards.  
        Yes, those things are nice.  They are real nice and fun too as we are finding out.  Our academics have been and will always be top notch.  And I am not saying BC is bad.  It just isn’t Union when it comes to academics.  Sorry to ruin your week.   Maybe we’ll ruin next week for you too!

        • Irish Spectre

          I’ve offered some hard data points indicating that BC 1)  is more selective, 2)  hosts students who on average scored slightly higher on stadarized tests, and 3)  is ahead in terms of a ranking performed by a well known, presumably objective third party.  You just keep saying “Union is better academically,” and you keep citing Union’s longegity, too, as if that has something to do with this, although I will grant you that it gives Union some cachet (and note, too, that BC isn’t exactly a new institution, having been founded in 1863.)

          Methinks that Union suffers from BC envy.

          You speak of Union not needing a QB to attain its standards.  Perhaps not, but what has that to do w/ any of this?  A little bit of irony as a final point is that my eldest son, a very decent high school QB himself with a year of hs remaining, received a recruitment letter from Union several weeks ago. 

          • JustSayin

            Methinks you have an inferiority complex because you’re taking this far too seriously.

          • Leggs2

            Actually, from the beginning, Union suffered from Harvard “envy”.  Hence the crimson/garnet controversy. In those days Union was the rival of Harvard and Yale.  BC? Not even on the map.  BC has ND envy, no doubt.

          • Union-76

            My understanding is that both Union and Harvard wanted their school color to be “garnet”, but Union somehow grabbed it first and Harvard settled for “crimson”…not sure how.

            BC is a fine school, too, and according to Forbes is rated slightly higher, but then Union is rated one spot ahead of Dartmouth and my brother (class of ’68) will argue strongly that Dartmouth has to be better…Remember that the Forbes rankings include job placement, alumni donations and other factors that don’t necessarily reflect true academics.  When these rankings came out someone said any of the top couple of hundred are all fine schools.  My daughter went to Michigan Tech and got an engineering degree and in the Midwest that means more than a degree from Union, even though Michigan Tech was ranked something like 580th.  What matters is what you get out of college, and a lot of kids do just fine even if they don’t have an Ivy League diploma…

          • Leggs2

            According to the story, crews from Union and Harvard showed up for the regatta wearing the same color. They immediately disputed each other’s choice, the story goes, and by the time the arguing stopped, Union had switched to garnet and Harvard had chosen crimson. (A variation on the story has the two teams racing to choose their colors.)The real story is a little more complicated.
            The Harvard crew began wearing crimson handkerchiefs in 1858, but Harvard’s first baseball team, in 1863, sported a magenta “H,” apparently deciding that the color was more fashionable. Its crew switched to magenta in 1864, and in 1873, when the student newspaper began, it was called The Magenta.
            Union came to its color officially in 1866, when a committee of three members of each undergraduate class met to select a college color. They chose magenta, and the College’s first intercollegiate team, baseball, soon began to wear magenta-trimmed uniforms.
            So, if not exactly a dead heat, close enough to say that Union and Harvard came to magenta at about the same time.
            In 1875, Union was admitted to the Rowing Association of American Colleges. Recognizing that the two institutions claimed the same color, and wanting to avoid confusion at the regatta, a Union student named Andrew Van Vranken Raymond (later president of the College) sent a letter to Harvard saying that magenta rightfully belonged to Union.
            The letter, of course, stirred things up at Harvard. But when alumni pointed out that Harvard had used crimson as early as 1858-and when an alumnus admitted that he had bought magenta headwear for the crew in 1864 onbecause he could not find crimson-the color turned. The student newspaper immediately changed its name to The Crimson and editorialized that magenta “is not, and never has been, the right color for Harvard.”
            Meanwhile, the people at Union, perhaps recognizing that they were not going to have an easy time in the dispute, relinquished their claim and selected garnet as the College’s racing color.
                      Union College Magazine, 2004

  • Leggs2

    Are the BC and Minne fans, well…on the smaller side?
    Of the 4 individual school FF t-shirts on sale here, both BC and Minne have sold out of “small” size only, while the Union shirts have sold out of “large” only.
    Ferris shirts haven’t sold out any size.
    Me? I bought the Union “XL”.

  • ECACHockey

    This elitist we’re-better-than-you-because-we’re-ranked-higher talk makes me embarrassed for my own league and is exactly what feeds into other leagues’ negative perceptions of the ECAC.  Something tells me I would get a great education at Wisconsin or Merrimack or Bemidji.  I doubt Union is a household name across the country so what does it matter?  Union doesn’t even require SAT scores, so why post them?  It’s a cheap way to boost applications…and Schenectady is a complete dump.  Union is having a great hockey season, leave it at that.

    • Internet Tough Guy

      I think you’re over-thinking it..

  • Ccctomkins

    Don’t BC and Union both emphasize the STUDENT in “Student-Athlete”?  How about we put aside the petty splitting of academic hairs and root for a Union v. BC Final.  Both schools proudly represent the value of a traditional, Northeast education.

  • sighthndman

    Slight correction. Don’t _explicitly_ offer athletic scholarships.

    I’m willing to bet that, at Union, athletes are “more than proportionally” represented both by number and by dollars in the scholarships that are awarded that include “leadership”, “character”, or any of a host of other unmeasurable traits (or possibly measurable). The reason I’m willing to bet this is that I’ve seen it at other D-III schools.

    I’m also not saying that it’s wrong. One reason for this is that, especially at a school where they have to pay to play, they probably have more than their fair share of those attributes (“I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it”). After all, a gifted athlete that is “given” an education based on his physical skills, not his social or intellectual or leadership skills, will naturally gravitate to the free education. So the athletes that are “just the same as everyone else” are siphoned off to other schools, and only those who are actually concerned about developing their leadership potential, or those on the “borderline” athletically, who will have to develop their social and leadership skills, are left for the D-III schools. But there are, in fact, plenty of late bloomers who are just itching for a chance to show up those who passed them over.

    Additionally, those scholarships are awarded by committee. It is tremendously helpful to have a champion on the committee. An athlete has a champion on the committee (if not a coach, a faculty member who has an interest in the success of the team). It’s not often that a dancer or a musician has such a champion.

  • traveleast

    What time does North Dakota play on Thursday? 

    • Union Tampa

       Their tee time is at noon I believe…

  • Skating Dutchmen 1903

    As a Union Alum I would like to take this time to congratulate the Skating Dutchmen on their first Division I Frozen Four appearance.  Arguments over which school has stronger academics, whether or not Union Hockey student-athletes receive more aid than average, are truly irrelevant and miss the point of this article.  

    Union is proud of our strong academics and our rich hockey heritage.  I can attest to the fact that the hockey team is of high character and held to the same level of academic standards as the remaining student body.  When push comes to shove, the college cannot offer students scholarships based on athleticism; we must attract Division I talent by other means.  Troy Grosenick’s comments above about how he chose Union should be refreshing and powerful for all those who believe in promoting academics through athletics.  Boston College is a strong example of taking advantage of athletic popularity to develop a world-class university.  

    It is crucial for college hockey fans who believe in intellectual growth, which I believe is most of us, to take a step back and realize that these young men are not paid and have no guarantees at NHL contracts, yet they compete through the longest, most vigorous season in all of NCAA sports.  It is the belief of Union, the Ivies and many other institutions of higher learning, that not offering athletic scholarships maintains academic priorities and attracts high-character, well-rounded student-athletes interested in embracing the intellectual culture that exists on every college campus.

    America, for better or worse, is the only country to have its highest level of pre-professional athletics attached to universities.  If we would like to continue believing that the two should be connected it is important to recognize stories such as this that promote the true meaning of the term “student-athlete”.  The story of a classmate of mine at Union who lived two doors down from me freshman year is one worth telling.  He played hockey for four years, contributing significantly his first year and I believe he was an alternate captain senior year.  He graduated from Union with a 3.8 GPA in Electrical Engineering, and recently graduated from Duke University with a Master of Science in the same discipline.

    I encourage anyone with a similar story to post it, regardless of whether or not the student received an athletic scholarship.  College hockey, and the NCAA, is about academic tradition and the idea that collegiate athletic competition promotes intellectual development.  Otherwise we’d be rooting for the Albany River Rats, the Worcester Sharks, or the Providence Bruins.  I’d rather root for a team with tradition, my alma mater!

    Union College
    Class of 2009
    Go Dutchmen!

  • 4life4america

    Any of these four teams can win the Championship. By dint of making it this far they have proved that on any given night any of them can win the tournament. Skill will not be a deciding factor. Each team has enough to win. Guts and determination will be. Who wants it more. Who is hungrier. I don’t know the answer to that. The coach who can keep his team focused … and their head down … and their team humble and hungry … will win it. On a personal side, if the hockey gods wish it so, I would love to see Union play BC. I live in Boston and most people here think they know where UNION is (New Jersey :) ) but have never heard of Ferris and assume Minnesota is in Canada somewhere. On a serious note, having seen all four teams play, Minnesota looks awfully good. Again, its going to be the team that is hungriest and the coach that keeps them focused. I just don’t know who that will be.

  • Jgspag

    First off, if anyone thinks Union out of the east coast is “Ivy League”, sorry have  a rude awakening for you.  NO ONE has even heard of this school in the mid-west and to think a degree from this college means the same as Harvard doesn’t live in reality. You over estimate the worth in your region 100 fold.
     
    Second, recruiting and calling it “non-academic” has been a problem in MN for years.
     
    My mother was a teacher for over 30 years and some of her most stupid students, who happened to be really good hockey players, were awarded “Academic” scholarships since the early 1980’s to private high schools in the msp/st. paul area.  Many went on to good careers in hockey- NHL and the like, but the idea they were recruited because they were “smart” is widely seen here as a joke.
     
    Union is playing a game that has been played by MN high schools for over 30 years.  Give me a break- what is the average ACT for their hockey team?  Going to guess they would NEVER give that out, could prove to be a problem for them.
     
    Quit calling this some big victory.  Makes a nice story but if you believe that their team, made of ½ Canadians are just soooooo smart they all deserve “academic scholarships”, I have land for you that I would to sell in Florida.

    PS- the only reason this school is even in the final four is the serious programs, such as Denver or Mich., or the U of M. recruit and get the best hockey players in the world.  They stay one or two years at most and move to the NHL- see Zucker and MN Wild.  Enough said.

  • Let’s be honest

    First off, if anyone thinks Union out of the east coast is “Ivy League”, sorry have  a rude awakening for you.  NO ONE has even heard of this school in the mid-west and to think a degree from this college means the same as Harvard doesn’t live in reality. You over estimate the worth of a degree from Union 100 fold outside the east coast.
     
    Second, recruiting and calling it “non-academic” is nothing new and has been a problem in MN for years.
     
    My mother was a teacher for over 30 years and some of her most stupid students, who happened to be really good hockey players, were awarded “Academic” scholarships since the early 1980’s to private high schools in the msp/st. paul area.  Many went on to good careers in hockey- NHL and the like, but the idea they were recruited because they were “smart” is widely seen here as a joke.
     
    Union is playing the same old game that has been played by MN high schools for over 30 years.  Give me a break- what is the average ACT for their hockey team?  Going to guess they would NEVER give that out, could prove to be a problem for them.
     
    Quit calling this some big victory.  Makes a nice story but if you believe that their team, made of ½ Canadians are just soooooo smart they all deserve “academic scholarships”, I have land for you that I would to sell in Florida.
     
    P.S. As someone else mentioned, the only reason school like Union get this far is that the big name programs, Michigan, U of MN., Denver, North Dakota ect… get blue chip players and they stay one year or maybe two and move on to the NHL.  Example, Zucker from Denver to the MN Wild. 
     
    I can tune in any night of the week to the NHL and watch several former gophers play in multiple games for multiple teams.  Exactly how many Union players are in the NHL?
     

    • Union Tampa

      You sound like an angry, abused child…

      Might as well change your name to “let’s be abrasive”

    • ibanezist00

      Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?

      When did anyone claim that a degree from Union was on the same marketing level as Harvard? When did anyone claim that having a degree from Harvard automatically means you are awesome? I’ve met students from most schools in the ECAC, and every school has their sharp knives and butter knives in the drawer. Point is that “no one in the mid-west” may know of this school, but if I were a Union graduate looking for a job out there, I could care less if Joe Schmo knows what or where Union is, but I would care if a corporate recruiter does, and I’m sure they definitely know what Union College is.

      Nice long diatribe though, which basically boiled down to “the only reason Union is any good this year is because the other teams aren’t strong this year”, which is a pretty shaky argument.

    • Union Tampa

      I have to reach across the table and hit the irrelevant buzzer on this one…..

      No one in the NHL is playing in the frozen four this weekend…

    • Union Tampa

      no one in the mid-west has heard of a dentist either…

  • Danno

    Go Union!  Great to see a ECAC rep in the FF!

    Something not reflected in the article – the last small school non-ivy, non-athletic scholarship giving school (at the time) in the National Title game? 

    Colgate University (enrollment ~2,700) lost 7-3 to Wisconsin in the 1989 title game in Joe Louis Arena. Colgate only started providing athletic grants in aid in 1999 or so, and still doesn’t in Football…

    Go Austin Smith in the Hobey HT!

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