The Florida Division starts there 1st round of the Playoffs this week. All games start on Friday February 23rd at the Florida Hospital Ice Center in Wesley Chapel Florida the new 6 sheet facility.
This is the first time in the USPHL that the playoffs are using a super site to host all of the playoffs for the Florida Division for the Premier and Elite Divisions.
The first place Tampa Juniors vs. 4th place Florida Junior Blades
The second place Florida Eels vs. The 3rd place Palm Beach Hawks
The first place Tampa Juniors vs. the 4th place Palm Beach Hawks
The second place Florida Jr. Blades vs. the Florida Eels
These last few games of the season have proven extremely exciting for all of the teams. In fact, many of the games were led right down to the final few for determining seeds in both the Premier and Elite divisions. All of the organizations have done a phenomenal job in building playoff atmosphere between the teams. The crowds have been equally phenomenal.
At the Fort Myers Skatium each game garnered 250-300 fans and the same was true down in Palm Beach Ice Zone and Germain Arena. The Eels always have 150 -200 of its fans who travel to all of its away games. We expect to see this in Tampa at the playoffs.
In each division, the winners of the first round will advance to Beantown USPHL Nationals in Marlborough Mass on March 7th – 10th 018. The boys know the USPHL playoffs are highly scouted on HockeyTV. This type of exposure is key to their player development and advancement. Moreover, for the two teams who win the 1st round and advance to the USPHL Nationals the prize is unparalleled. Nowhere in Junior hockey do players receive such visibility and exposure than at our USPHL Nationals. The playoff forum is right in the heart of the Beantown and at that venue there will be NHL General Managers, coaches and scouts, NCAA Division I and III coaches, USHL Coaches and NCDC Coaches all scouting our players and prospects. This is the event of a lifetime. What many players do not realize is that reaching the Nationals like this may never happen again. It is so hard to reach this level. Even for those advancing to college may never get to play in the final rounds of playoffs.
So, we tell our guys leave everything on the ice. Give everything you have. Play hard. Fight for every square inch of the ice. Shot 5-6 times per game. Be the most tenacious in your fore-check and equally relentless in your back check. Every player block 3+ shots per game. My guys say yes business as usual. And the coaches smile.
As always, the USPHL puts on a show. All of our teams do. We back it up with the 2,500+ players we advance to NCAA colleges. 500+ NCAA Division I alumni. Several Hobey Baker winners. Numerous alumni who were drafted into the NHL and play there. Our NCDC program. Our league is the largest Junior Hockey League in the USA. It will be an honor for the Florida Division players as well as the Southeast Mid Atlantic Midwest and Northeast Teams and players to come together under one Super site for the Nationals. Good luck all players.
Florida Eels General Manager
USPHL South/Florida Representative