NCAA (or college) hockey is American hockey played at the collegiate level in the United States. It is governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and consists of three levels: Division I, Division II, and Division III. NCAA hockey closely resembles the NHL with the obvious difference that the players are required to be college students. There exists both women’s and men’s teams but they are separate entities; that is, the women’s and men’s teams do not play each other.
The three divisions of NCAA hockey are split up into various conferences, but some teams choose to play as independents. Division I is probably the most popular, containing such notable schools as Boston College, Maine, Michigan, Denver, North Dakota, Ohio State, and many more. As of 2007, Michigan is the all-time leader in national titles with nine.
Following the regular season, both the men and the women have a postseason called the NCAA Division I championship. Teams advance through the rounds in single-elimination play with the last two rounds of four teams being called the Frozen Four; the women’s Frozen Four was not established until the 2000-01 season.
Men’s Division I hockey awards the annual Hobey Baker Memorial Award to the top player in the division, while the women award the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award to the top player in Women’s Division I.