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Hub City Tampa

    ESPN's Buccigross Tweets About USPHL's Hub City Tampa

    By USPHL Staff 01/26/2021, 4:15pm EST

    The United States Premier Hockey League was honored to have its six-week Hub City Tampa event lauded by ESPN's John Buccigross, the leading hockey broadcaster and promoter for the "Worldwide Leader In Sports." 

    To his audience of more than 395,000 followers, Buccigross tweeted the following:

     

     

     

     

    Buccigross began working for ESPN in 1996, making 2021 his 25th anniversary at the network. He has proven to be the biggest supporter of the sport of hockey at ESPN, formerly hosting the network's NHL 2Night program. In 2010, he began the "#bucciovertimechallenge" on Twitter, offering the public to win merchandise with that hashtag if they are the first to correctly predict the overtime game-winning goal-scorer in an NHL game, and he's also expanded that promotion to other leagues, including the NCAA. 

    He became NCAA college hockey's largest proponent on ESPN, and coined the phonetic catch-phrase "cawlidge hawkey." 

    The USPHL thanks John Buccigross for his support of the Hub City Tampa event, and will continue to provide unprecedented access to hockey games for its players during the COVID-19 pandemic in a specially-designed controlled community environment where the health and safety of its players and staff is the top priority. 

    The United States Premier Hockey League congratulates former Boston Junior Bruin Drew O'Connor for making his NHL debut on Tuesday night for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Boston Bruins. 

    O'Connor was listed on the game night roster on Tuesday. He was one of the 2017-18 Junior Bruins' standouts on their first NCDC team, posting 13 goals and 26 assists for 39 points in 49 games. He then went on to an award-winning career at Dartmouth College that saw All-Ivy League Second Team honors in 2019 and a Co-Ivy League Player Of The Year nod last spring.  Last season also saw him make the ECAC Hockey First All-Star Team, All-Ivy First Team and New England Hockey Writers Division I All-Star Team. 

    "It’s been kind of a long journey,” said the 1998-born native of Chatham, N.J., in a Jan. 23 video call. “There was a point in time when I was kind of just battling to just get on a college team. To be in this position, I’m very thankful. It’s all the work that I’ve put in paying off potentially. It’s definitely a cool spot to be in now.”

    Since signing with the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last spring, O'Connor moved on to play the first half of this hockey season like no other in Norway for Manglerud. There, he posted a 6-4-10 line in his first seven pro games. 

    O'Connor commented on his pro hockey baptism in Norway. 

    "Going to the rink every day, trying to get better every day. Working out, skating, doing extra things to just kind of work on my game. Being ready to play every game. That was super helpful for me to get a little taste of that pro hockey life for sure.”

    “Our hockey [operations] department did their homework on Drew,” said Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan. “He was a sought-after guy coming out of Dartmouth. We knew he was a good player coming [into training camp]. You can see his physical stature. He’s a big kid. He’s strong on the puck. He’s a good skater. He has good poise. He has a lot of the attributes that I think can potentially translate into being a real good pro.”

    O'Connor has been enjoying his time with the Penguins, skating alongside current legends like Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, borrowing his stick at one point during camp to score a goal. 

    "It's pretty funny, people text me and ask me if they could get that stick," said O'Connor. "It was a pretty cool moment. I'm starting to get a little more used to it, but it was definitely a little bit at first crazy being on the ice with some of those guys." 

    Although Tuesday night will be his maiden voyage in the NHL, he will join a long list of former Junior Bruins and USPHL alumni playing in the NHL. One such league alumni is Penguins teammate John Marino, who was on the South Shore Kings' first two USPHL Premier teams. 

    Another Penguins teammate, Brian Dumoulin, formerly played with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs prior to their entry into the USPHL. 

    In terms of Junior Bruins alumni, none has a higher stature than Buffalo Sabres Captain and former Junior Bruins Captain Jack Eichel. 

    Most recently, NHL Central Scouting identified 13 USPHL players - including 12 in the Tier-2 National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) - as Players To Watch for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. 

    USPHL Hub City All-Star Game Event Provides Thrills At Three Levels

    By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com 01/18/2021, 10:30pm EST

    Hub City Tampa provided the setting for the USPHL All-Star Game Event, held over two days on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 17-18. There were four total games played in the NCDC, USPHL Premier and USPHL Elite, the latter two levels seeing their first-ever All-Star games. 

    More than 40 NCAA Division I commitments and six players listed on the most recent NHL Central Scouting Players To Watch list were part of the event at the NCDC level on Monday. 

     

    NCDC NHL Prospects Game (2002-04 birth years)

    Boston Advantage forward and University of New Hampshire recruit Nick Ring scored two goals and two assists to lead Team National to a 10-5 victory. Colin Graf scored two goals and one assist.  

    Jersey Hitmen forward and St. Lawrence recruit Isaac MacLeod scored a pair of goals for Team American. 

    It was 4-2 after two periods, so the two teams exploded for nine combined goals in the third. 

     

    NCDC NCAA Top Prospects Game (2000-01 birth years)

    Connor Joyce's goal with 33 seconds remaining was the difference in the 7-6 victory for Team National over Team American, making it a National sweep for the two Prospects teams coached by the Boston Junior Bruins' Mike Anderson and Islanders Hockey Club's Tim Kyrkostas. 

    Joyce is a member of the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and a Boston College recruit.

    Kyle Lightfoot scored a goal and two assists for Team National while on the American side, Jack Dempsey (Boston Junior Bruins/Boston College) put up a 1-3-4 line. 

     

    USPHL Premier Hub City All-Stars

    Team American (representing the New England Division and some Mid-Atlantic teams) earned the 7-3 win. The Northern Cyclones' Danny Woods (2-1-3) was the leading scorer the game, while the hometown Tampa Bay Juniors' Cade Kujawski made 16 saves on 16 shots. 

    The Team American Player Of The Game was Mike Tersoni, of the Islanders Hockey Club, who had a pair of goals. 

     

    USPHL Elite Hub City All-Stars

    The Northern Cyclones' Marc Giordano was the National Team's Player Of The Game, scoring two of his team's goals in a 3-1 victory. 

    Connor Vittands (Cyclones) stopped all 19 shots he faced. On the Team American side, representing three Florida Division teams - the Tampa Bay Juniors, the Florida Eels and the Florida Jr. Blades - the Juniors' Tim Ruf scored the only third period goal that made it a one-goal game. 

    Official Hub City Tampa Program

    Click square for full-screen. 

    Hub City Tampa Online Store Is Now Open! 

    Click image below to go to store site. Pickup at Saddlebrook Resort is available as an option.  

    Hub City Tampa Schedule

    The United States Premier Hockey League is proud to announce its plans to bring teams from across its coast-to-coast footprint - the largest in all of North American Junior Hockey - to Tampa, Florida, for a Hub City concept with the health and wellness of players and staff as a top priority. The USPHL is partnering with Saddlebrook Resort (“Saddlebrook”), a multi-dimensional Tampa Resort and Conference Center, and AdventHealth Center Ice, a state-of-the-art 4-sheet, full-service ice hockey facility, to provide our teams a dedicated environment to execute our high-performance training and competition model and provide our players a tremendous opportunity to showcase their talents to all the professional and collegiate programs in the country.


    Saddlebrook and AdventHealth Center Ice provide the USPHL Coaches and Staff all the necessary facilities to execute the USPHL Player Development Model in a contained, safe environment. Each week, USPHL Teams will have multiple on-ice practices, continue their off-ice strength and conditioning regiments, and have team and one-on-one video analysis. Dedicated space will be provided for all online/virtual students to ensure uninterrupted learning. Equally important, the Hub City Event will provide players a competitive 20-game schedule not currently available to them due to ever-changing travel restrictions across the country. All games will be carried on the new USPHL/HockeyTV channel set to be launched on January 1st.

    The Hub City Concept provides a unique opportunity for the USPHL to isolate its players at Saddlebrook while away from the AdventHealth Center Ice, resulting in a safe atmosphere for all the athletes. Saddlebrook Resort has made a name for itself as one of the nation’s preeminent training facilities for athletes and features two adjacent fitness centers that total over 6,000 sq. ft., multiple volleyball and basketball courts, and a FieldTurf training field, along with three swimming pools, two Arnold Palmer signature golf courses and a championship tennis complex. Team building and non-hockey experiences will be situated solely at Saddlebrook.

    All USPHL safety protocols addressing the concerns surrounding the dissemination of COVID-19, including, but not limited to, guidelines regarding travel, facility management and any hockey/sport-related policies will remain in effect. The USPHL will have trained medical staff on site throughout the duration of the Hub City Event. 


    Saddlebrook and AdventHealth Center Ice provide the USPHL Coaches and Staff all the necessary facilities to execute the USPHL Player Development Model in a contained, safe environment. Each week, USPHL Teams will have multiple on-ice practices, continue their off-ice strength and conditioning regiments, and have team and one-on-one video analysis. Dedicated space will be provided for all online/virtual students to ensure uninterrupted learning. Equally important, the Hub City Event will provide players a competitive 20-game schedule not currently available to them due to ever-changing travel restrictions across the country. All games will be carried on the new USPHL/HockeyTV channel set to be launched on January 1st.