The Columbus Day Weekend is one of the biggest on the calendar for the United States Premier Hockey League. Every division of the USPHL’s vast hockey landscape has a multi-team event going on this coming weekend.
A massive spotlight, however, will be on the Ice Vault in Wayne, N.J., where the National Collegiate Development Conference and the full-season USPHL 18U and 16U Divisions take center stage at the Hitmen Classic.
Beginning on Thursday with four showcase-opening NCDC matches, the Classic will have a heavy concentration of action in the USPHL’s tuition-free, top junior division through Saturday morning. The host Jersey Hitmen will take on the South Shore Kings in the 4 p.m. showcase opener on Thursday, Oct. 10.
On Friday, Oct. 11, the defending Founders Cup champion Hitmen, entering the weekend undefeated at 8-0, takes on the defending Dineen Cup champion Junior Bruins (8-1) at 2 p.m.
The NCDC Free Game Of The Week on Saturday, Oct. 12, will feature the Hitmen against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, with puck drop at 10 a.m., and The Dan K Show’s Dan Kmiechick and Lucas Jones taking up the play-by-play and color commentary, one of seven broadcasts featuring The Dan K Show between Thursday and Saturday.
The USPHL 16U and 18U Divisions kick off their games on Friday afternoon, and will have the run of the Showcase from Saturday afternoon through Monday evening.
This will give a chance for hockey fans and college hockey scouts alike to see some of the highest-ranked full-season Midget teams in the country, such as the No. 20 Skipjacks Hockey Club 18U and No. 29 Jersey Hitmen 18U, and on the 16U side, the Palmyra Black Knights are ranked in the top third in the country (all according to myhockeyrankings.com).