For all those young aspiring hockey players hoping to play in the United States but worry about limited options, a brand new league has been formed to give said youngsters the best chance possible of obtaining their goal of playing whether it is at the collegiate or professional levels.
The United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) has created a junior circuit to develop players at the highest level while having its up-and-coming talent for the first time ever representing teams directly owned by NHL and AHL organizations.
The founding members of the newly-formed league are the Junior Bruins, Islanders Hockey Club, Jersey Hitmen and South Shore Kings. To prove just how much promise the new league has, these teams along with their respective coaches have combined to win 14 league championships in the 20 seasons of the former Eastern Junior Hockey League.
In addition, the USPHL represents well over 300 Division I placements, a plethora of US National Team Development as well as Matt Gilroy (of the South Shore Kings) who was the 2009 recipient of the Hobey Baker award given to the top NCAA player in men’s hockey. But that’s not all.
The new league boasts an abundance of NHL draft picks in addition to coaches that have earned many of their stripes being the bench bosses of USA Hockey in international competition.
As promising as the on-ice component of the USPHL is, the league’s standards go beyond what happens during the game.
While the new league emphasizes the importance of molding their prospects into the best hockey players possible, it especially emphasize each player’s development into the best humanitarians possible as it offers the necessary tutelage of leadership and community service in addition to education to turn its players into complete student athletes.
In terms of exposure to NCAA hockey programs, the founding organizations of the USPHL truly believe that the new league’s said exposure will prove to be unmatched as it will be determined to provide the highest level or training and competition for its young up-and-coming stars.
The new league, which has all 32 of their teams located in the Eastern US, will operate with five divisions: Premier, Elite and Empire at the junior level while midget level will be divided into U16 and U18 divisions.
Teams have been selected for each division based on geography, strong player pools, rink ownership, financial strength and history of success and integrity at the highest level.
In addition to officially the start of their operation, the USPHL will be accepting applications for expansion.
Whoever would suggest that hockey simply isn’t popular in the United States simply does not have their facts straight. While this isn’t a competition with their friends north of the border, USA Hockey has just further strengthened their status with the birth of the United States Premier Hockey League. With this move, the hockey powers in the United States are continuing to prove that their country is just as valuable in terms of hockey development as Canada is.
Some of the other teams in the new league include the Hampton Junior Whalers and the Potomac Patriots in addition to junior versions of NHL clubs such as the Islanders, Flyers and Hurricanes to name just a few.
A new era is upon us in the development of players in men’s hockey and if the collegiate levels in the United States are any indication, the newly-formed USPHL should establish itself as a raving success in no time.