Nate Ewell, who has been with College Hockey Inc. since its founding in 2011. took a job with the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL.
Ewell has played a leading role in the public relations and educational efforts of college hockey during a thriving era, which saw record numbers of college hockey players in the NHL and an expansion in the number of NCAA Division-I schools sponsoring the sport, a particularly remarkable achievement in a era better known for austerity.
Ewell, the organization’s No. 2 behind Executive Director Mike Snee, has held various positions for College Hockey Inc.
A master of researching, developing, and maintaining statistical and informational databases, Ewell used those skills in a number of ways, from compiling notes and statistics for media members to educating potential college hockey prospects to helping colleges and universities Wanted to add Division I hockey programs .
The results are remarkable for college hockey.
That starts with the heated, never-ending battle between the NCAA and Canadian junior major teams for the best prospects, something that helped form College Hockey Inc.
In the four-year period between 2010-13, when College Hockey Inc. started, 16 of the 24 Americans who entered the first round of the NHL Draft played in Canadian junior majors (67 percent).
In the most recent four-year period (2018-21) about the same number of American players were drafted in the first round (23), but none have played Canadian major juniors. Everyone except Jack Hughes who went straight from the U.S. Under-18 Team to the NHL played college hockey or is currently in college.
In the past four years, six Canadian first-round picks have also come to the United States for college, including the overall No. 1 pick for 2021, Michigan’s Owen Power, as well as UND’s Jacob Bernard-Docker.
College hockey players now make up about 33 percent of NHLers, the highest percentage ever. That number was 20 percent in 2000. A record 327 college hockey players matched up in the last full NHL season (2018-19).
The sport is also extensive.
When College Hockey Inc. was founded, there were 58 Division-I men’s teams. That number has increased even as Alabama Huntsville and Robert Morris are unable to pull their programs back from a hiatus due to the additions of Penn State, Arizona State, Long Island University, and St. Thomas.
Other schools such as Lindenwood (Mo.) and Augustana (SD) have announced that they want to start DI programs. Illinois, Navy and Tennessee State are exploring the idea of adding the sport.
Ewell was influential in all of those developments, leading seminars in North America for top prospects trying to choose between NCAA and Canadian junior major, as well as collecting data for schools that want to be better informed and prepared to make the Division-I hockey jump. .
Ewell is the only full-time employee of College Hockey Inc. who has been there from the start. Snee replaced original director Paul Kelly in 2012. Sean Hogan joined as director of athletes relations in 2019. Kathy Wynters, who stepped down as Associate Commissioner of Hockey East in 2020, serves as its business manager.
Before joining College Hockey Inc. Ewell was the vice president of communications for the Washington Capitals, where he led a staff that won four consecutive Dick Dillman Awards as the top media relations group in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The then general manager of Washington was George McPhee, who is now the president of hockey operations for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Ewell attended Princeton University and worked as a sports information director at Michigan State. He also co-founded the Inside College Hockey website.
College Hockey Inc., is expected to use a national search to find Ewell’s successor.
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