Another fantastic USPHL Summer Showcase is in the books, having ended on Monday afternoon with a pair of USPHL Midget Division games at the Tri-Town Ice Arena in Hooksett, N.H.
The Summer Showcase, which began with Midget and NCDC play on Thursday, July 16, brought together teams from the USPHL 16U, 18U and NCDC Divisions who have decisions to make on rosters as the summer continues. That said, many of the 16U and 18U teams at the event already have their 2020-21 lineups set as they prepare for a season start that is just about 45 days away.
For the tuition-free National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC), that division’s teams utilized the event to move towards what will be their final rosters for the regular season. All organizations in attendance fielded at least two teams, featuring a mix of returning players, signed tenders and Futures and Entry Draft Picks from the past year and prior years as well.
The NCDC season is set to begin the weekend of September 25, just one week before the first big multi-team NCDC event of the season, the Junior Bruins Shootout (Oct. 2-4).
The USPHL thanks the showcase hosts the Northern Cyclones and Cyclones Arena, and the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs and Tri-Town Ice Arena for all of their hard work and dedication to making the event a success. At both sites, fans and players alike signed wellness forms pledging that they were free of COVID-19 symptoms, and all those inside the building and not on the ice wore facial coverings throughout the event.
Several coaches spoke up about the first-class running of the event by the League and its host teams.
“I didn’t have high expectations going up there, but it went pretty smoothly,” said Jersey Shore Whalers 18U Co-Head Coach Rob Cherella. “The preparation, the setup prior to getting there, getting kids in and out of the rink, it was all done very professionally and safe. I didn’t feel I was in danger of any kind of virus situation. [USPHL Midget Director] Nancy Stewart was working 24-7, and she did a great job. It was a great experience, too. The USPHL put us up against some good, top-ranked teams.”
“I think the League did an incredible job of putting this together with everything happening,” said Joe Lovell, Head Coach of the first-year NCDC team the Boston Advantage. “For us to be in this event, we’re really excited to get our team going. It’s been great to see the other competition and the players around the league trying out for other teams. I think our players have done a really good job.”
“It’s exciting to be up here, get the guys playing again, and get them back around their teammates and their friends in a competitive environment,” added Mike Anderson, head coach of the Boston Junior Bruins NCDC team, the most recent league champions in 2019.
For NCDC player Jake Hughes, of the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, he said it was certainly a different experience but all positive.
“It was a little different in this time with the whole COVID going on, but it was fun to be out there, nicie to be competing against different teams, Hughes said. “We’re just getting back into it, but there’s a lot of skill so far, but especially playing with the kids on my team and watching our opponents.”
The USPHL thanks all of the players, coaches, and supporters for their cooperation and support of an outstanding event from start to finish.