The Trine situation is quite problematic in my opinion - Had they preformed better at nationals I think much of this would have surfaced on a more prominent level. In Trine’s inaugural season, they committed to 35 players for their NCAA III team. Upon arriving to campus for the fall, every player tried out for the NCAA III team, and the top 20 guys were rostered, the next 15 were “sent down” to the ACHA II team. The ACHA team is treated like an NCAA III team (fully funded, equipment/travel provided etc.) While this is inherently bad for club hockey it happened. THEN, for them to be eligible in their first year adds to the ridiculousness of the situation. Many of these players will transfer after this school year, as they were promised NCAA III and ended up playing club, or as they called it “JV”.
11/16 of the Nationals Teams this year are fully funded programs. They practice twice as much as their competition, and are not restricted by financials in any way. While they are not doing anything wrong (not offering scholarships per se), the allure of having hockey completely paid for is enough to draw players they would never have otherwise. The fact FGCU players are going on to play professionally in Europe post-grad is absurd.
Take away the fully funded programs, and look at the Top 4 in each region for Nationals, here’s how pools would have looked:
SE1 Penn St.
W2 MSU - Denver
C4 Michigan St.
C1 St. Louis
NE2 New Hampshire
SE3 Miami Ohio
W4 Grand Canyon
THAT is what club hockey should look like. That is a level playing field - Any team could win that tournament. That is how competition should be.