In this edition, Editor in Chief Josh Boyd sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with USPHL Commissioner Jeff Nygaard, who succeeded Richard Gallant at the position. Nygaard began his post-playing career as an official in minor-pro leagues and was selected for duty in four USA Hockey National Championship tournaments. He also worked in the athletic departments of the Citadel, the College of William and Mary, and finally, the University of North Dakota, where he worked alongside legendary coach Dean Blais. Most recently, Nygaard served as the Executive Director of the Eastern Hockey League for four seasons.
Boyd also takes a look back at South Shore Kings alum and 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey, who signed with the New York Rangers in August after a decorated four-year career at Harvard. Vesey, the second Hobey Baker winner in as many years to play for a USPHL member organization, was the runner up in 2015 to Junior Bruins alum Jack Eichel and was expected to sign with the Nashville Predators, the team that drafted him back in 2012, that summer. Instead, he completed his degree and opted for free agency and ultimately signed with the Rangers after a turbulent off-season.
"We are proud to promote the USPHL as the featured league in this month's USA Junior Hockey Magazine. Our mission continues to be to promote junior hockey in the United States in leagues that allow players to maintain their NCAA eligibility," said USA Junior Hockey Magazine Editor-in-Chief Joshua Boyd. "The USPHL is among the strongest of these leagues, and the USPHL has had great success in its college placements at all levels from each of its tiers. We're excited to see some of their alumni hit the ice in the NHL in the new season - Jack Eichel, Charlie Coyle, Chris Wagner and hopefully Jimmy Vesey as well."
The October issue also welcomes Dan Kmiechick back to the fray. Kmiechick, the Director of Broadcasting for the Philadelphia Flyers USPHL Premier team, celebrates a banner year for college commitments and examines the reasons for the league’s continued success in moving players on to college hockey.
Director of Communications Mike Klein will also preview two new features on USPHL.com. First is the continuation and expansion of the USPHL Showcase Series, which allows teams from around the USPHL to play multiple games under one roof over the course of a weekend. The events that make up the Showcase Series take advantage of an NCAA rule that limits a coach’s opportunities to view a prospect during the season and afford the player more opportunities to impress the recruiters. Also, Klein previews the return of the well-received USPHL Halloween Series, which highlight the league’s brightest stars in a manner consistent with the spirit of the holiday.
Finally, Josh Boyd takes a look at one of the newest, and easily the most noteworthy, entry into the USPHL: Team Beijing. The team, composed of Chinese and Chinese-American players, was established in conjunction with the New York Islanders and will compete in the Elite Division. With China receiving an automatic berth in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese Ice Hockey Association began to explore ways to develop and elevate the national team in preparation for the games. Boyd will provide an in-depth look at a team that could fundamentally alter the landscape of international hockey over the course of the next decade.
For all this and more, pick up a copy of USA Junior Hockey Magazine at your local rink or visit USAJuniorHockey.com.