The USPHL Elite Midwest division will include the Dells Ducks, Forest Lake Lakers, Chicago Cougars, St. Croix Valley Magicians, Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, Illiana Blackbirds, Steele County Blades, Blaine Energy, and Detroit Fighting Irish.
The USP3 Midwest division will add the Traverse City Hounds, Tri City Icehawks, Motor City Hawks, Kalkaska Rhinos, Marquette Royales, Decatur Blaze, Alpena Flyers, Ironwood Yoopers, and Michigan Wild.
“We’re very excited to be adding a Midwest division to the Elite and USP3 platforms”, stated USPHL Director of Hockey Operations Leigh Dean. “The addition of the Midwest (divisions) will only add to the competitive landscape of the USPHL. The benefits will be enormous to both our players, and teams, as they compete in front of USPHL Premier and college level scouts from around the country.”
According to USA Junior Hockey Magazine, the USPHL’s footprint now overlays every major hockey hotbed in America, including every major college hockey conference. This not only gives players an enormous amount of exposure, but unparalleled access to USPHL Premier and college level staffs. At the Elite and USP3 levels, this access provides players with multiple opportunities for player advancement.
“The USPHL Elite and USP3 platforms provide players with both the opportunities to play at the highest level of junior hockey (USPHL Premier), and or, to go straight into and play college hockey”, added Dells Ducks President John Schwarz. “Just over the past few seasons, the USPHL Elite and USP3 have become the nation’s number one producer of NCAA Division III and ACHA Division I, II, and III players. For the player looking to get to college, there is no better place to play than the USPHL.”
Establishing itself as the top platform for NCAA Division III and ACHA Division I, II, and III commitments, the USPHL Elite and USP3 platforms will evolve their game schedules to further take advantage of recruiting opportunities throughout the USPHL’s 2016-17 season.
Each the USPHL Elite and USP3 game schedules will consist of 44 regular season games. Of which, between eight and 12 will be played in a showcase format. Cross-division games will allow for scouts to directly compare players and teams from the North, South, and Midwest divisions. At the same time, traditional matchups within each division will continue to focus on building healthy rivalries and league parity.
“The USPHL continues to prove why its Elite and USP3 levels are the foremost producers of NCAA Division III and ACHA talent in the country”, said Florida Eels Head Coach and General Manager Frank Scarpaci. “For players looking to get to college, there is no better route than the USPHL.”
The announcement comes on the heels of the Hobey Baker Award ceremony, in which Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey became the second USPHL alumni to win the award in as many years. In 2015, the honor went to Junior Bruins alumnus Jack Eichel.
Two other major college hockey awards were also presented to USPHL alumni. Matt Vidal (Bay State Breakers) was named the winner of the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, and Chris Dylewski (Tampa Bay Juniors) was presented with the Hockey Humanitarian Award, honoring college hockey’s finest citizen.
Although college hockey could only award its top three players with individual accolades on Friday, April 8 at the Frozen Four, college recruiters have acknowledged the USPHL in a big way; committing over 500 USPHL players to their rosters in just the past two seasons.
United States Premier Hockey League social media accounts:
The United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL.com), which operates in 18 of the 50 United States, is the nation’s largest amateur ice hockey league. The league is comprised of 167 teams representing 57 organizations. Players in the USPHL are 8 to 21 years of age. Over the past two years, the USPHL has seen over 500 of its players advance to the collegiate level.