UConn men's hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh is in favor of a proposal from the Big 10 Conference that would change the maximum age of incoming freshman looking to play four years from 21 to 20.
Such a change would narrow a gap that currently allows for an 18-year-old freshman and a 25-year-old senior. UConn forward Tage Thompson made his debut as a 17 year old. He turned 18 at the end of October.
The proposal has been met with mixed reviews. All six Big 10 programs are in favor, as well as UConn, Boston College (where Cavanaugh was Jerry York's associate head coach and main recruiter) and Boston University. In a straw poll of the 59 Division I coaches, 11 voted in favor, according to College Hockey News and Eagle-Tribune reporter Mike McMahon.
Notre Dame, led by legendary coach Jeff Jackson, abstained.
"I'd like to look more into it. I'm not certainly opposed against it," Cavanaugh said after Sunday's 2-1 win at No. 5 UMass Lowell. "I was one of the people who voted for it, for a number of different reasons. I really don't want to expound on it too much right now. I think there should be some healthy discussion on it, but personally I don't mind the proposal."
The vote by coaches is not absolute. The NCAA Division I Legislative Council will hear the proposal, likely at the NCAA convention in April.
Several coaches have spoken out against the proposal. While a few Hockey East schools are in favor, the majority are against. Safe to say Vermont is one of the teams not in favor of the proposal.
Kevin Sneddon on Big Ten proposal: "I don't want to swear, but that's what I think of it. ... I think it's absolutely ridiculous."— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) December 5, 2015
Northeastern is against it, as well.
Jim Madigan confirmed he is against the Big 10 proposal: "Why do you want to limit our player pool?"— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) December 6, 2015
The Atlantic Hockey Association is adamantly against the proposal, according to reports.
UConn was a member of Atlantic Hockey until the 2014-15 season, when it joined Hockey East. Like many AHA schools, the Huskies recruited older players Hockey East and Big 10 schools were not looking at. The year before Cavanaugh took over at UConn, one of the Huskies top defenseman was Tom Janosz, who was 25 when he graduated in the spring of 2013.