September 5, 2003
Recruiting Trail: Top Classes

2003 INCH Recruiting Rankings
Sept. 3: Top Forwards
Sept. 4: Top Defensemen & Goalies
Sept. 6: The All-Name Team

Class. The word's got plenty of meanings, and could apply to anything from kindergarten to Fred Astaire. On every college hockey team, however, it applies to four groups of guys, each of which seems to form its own identity.

This fall's freshmen will begin to create their identity on the ice in about a month. In anticipation of that, here are the nation's top 12 classes, including some of their impact players.

Inside College Hockey compiled our 2003 Recruiting Rankings with input from college and junior coaches, as well as professional scouts.






T.J. Hensick headlines a talented group, and at 5-foot-9, dare we say he’ll be a four-year Wolverine?
Impact players: T.J. Hensick, Matt Hunwick


North Dakota

The best incoming forward and two more Shattuck grads highlight another great class headed to Grand Forks.
Impact players: Brady Murray, Matt Smaby, Drew Stafford



With only three players departing from last year's national champs, is there room for these guys? With talents like Ryan Potulny and Danny Irmen, Lucia will make room.
Impact players: Ryan Potulny, Danny Irmen, Mike Vannelli


New Hampshire

If ever a school had a “typical” recruiting class, this is it for UNH—lots of good, solid players.
Impact players: Brett Hemingway, John Doherty



The Pioneers are always in the mix for the best defensemen and goaltenders in the junior ranks, and they were thisclose to reeling in a star forward, but Ty Morris opted for the WHL.
Impact players: Matt Carle, Glenn Fisher, J.D. Corbin



Lost one of the top goaltenders in the class to an eligibility issue (Mike Brodeur), but they still got the best player (Ryan Suter).
Impact players: Ryan Suter, Jeff Likens, Jacob Dowell


Boston College

A strong class despite being short on numbers (five players). And that’s the last time you’ll hear the word “short” around 6-foot-7 Brian Boyle.
Impact players: Adam Pineault, Brian Boyle


Boston University

Two St. Sebastian’s alums lead the way — and the Terriers might have an even better class next year.
Impact players: Ken Roche, Sean Sullivan



The ECAC’s best team last year reloads with the conference’s best class. Brought in a goalie a year ahead of schedule (Dave McKee) to compensate for the loss of Dave LeNeveu.
Impact players: Byron Bitz, Mark McCutcheon, Ryan O'Byrne



The RedHawks secured not one, but two strong goalies in Steve Hartley (Bob’s son) and Brandon Crawford-West.
Impact players: Geoff Smith, Steve Hartley



The Black Bears' class is led by a familiar name (forward Luch Aquino) and one that looks like a bad Scrabble tray (defenseman Tom Zabkowicz). Zabkowicz, a Wisconsin native, is one of two Midwesterners brought to Orono by Tim Whitehead and uber-recruiter Grant Standbrook (Minnesotan Mike Lundin is the other).
Impact players: Luch Aquino, Tom Zabkowicz


Notre Dame

South Bend keeps attracting talent, including goalie David Brown, defenseman Wes O’Neill and a couple of NTDP forwards.
Impact players: David Brown, Wes O'Neill

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