EHL Expansion

Discussion in 'All other USA Amateur, USHL, NAHL, USNTDP etc.' started by cmh329, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. cmh329 Registered User

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    EHL ADDS EIGHT MEMBERS FOR 2018-19 SEASON

    BOSTON, MA - The Eastern Hockey League (EHL) is pleased to announce USA Hockey has approved the addition of the following eight teams for the 2018-19 season:

    • Aston, PA
    • Bedford, MA
    • Garner, NC
    • Middletown, NJ
    • Newark, DE
    • Newington, CT
    • Pineville, NC
    • Virginia Beach, VA
    The EHL continues to be a high performance league with more than 700 verified college commitments to Division I, II, and III NCAA hockey programs. Dedicated owners, coaches, and players continue to drive the success of the league. The #Eshow is committed to developing players and helping them find the right college or university on and off the ice.
     
  2. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    And then there were 24. Lots of churn in these Tier III leagues, eh?
     
  3. BOS358 Registered User

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    I'm surprised there is no whining about over-expansion and "watering down" of junior hockey after this story broke.
     
  4. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Looks like they’re taking the “expansion through acquisition” route like last year. Newington is simply a relocation of the CT Oilers a little further north for the CT Chiefs who already have youth teams, and Middletown is giving the EHLPremier team there a top team.
    Here’s where things get interesting though. Aston is home of the Little Flyers, currently a top team in the EHL already. Possible USPHL crossover candidate as they match the USPHL’s prerequisites of having teams from youth to juniors, a lot of money, and NCDC capability.
    The North Carolina and Virginia Beach locations are certainly Charlotte Rush, Carolina Eagles, and Hampton Roads Whalers. They all have two teams to fit the EHL and EHLPremier model, a steady stream of college commits and tier 2 call-ups, and most importantly they hate the NCDC tax and having left USA Hockey. Hampton Roads Whalers GM’s email this past summer about it was leaked here. DAILY DISH: USPHL’S MONKEY DESTROYING HOCKEY? - Junior Hockey News
    Those teams leaving would be a blow to the USPHL’s premier division, a huge chunk of their commits are from these three teams and the southern divisions would be in shambles. And with it the EHL would take a step closer to becoming the old EJ.
     
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  5. The S5 Registered User

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    NOt sure if I understand but the Carolina Eagles already have a USPHL team. The new EHL franchise would be more aligned with the NC Force and Jr. Hurricanes organization.
     
  6. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    The USPHL move remark was about the Little Flyers since the EHL says they're adding a team there, even though the entire Little Flyers EHL organization is currently based there and there's no news of them leaving the rink.

    What I'm saying is that the owners, coaches, and players of the USPHL's Carolina Eagles, Charlotte Rush, and Hampton Roads Whalers aren't happy having to pay the tax to fund NCDC free-to-play division of the USPHL. I'm thinking that those people are going to leave for the EHL, maybe under a different name or organization like the Force or Jr. Canes like you mentioned. The current home of the Eagles to the current home of the NC Force is only 20 minutes and is certainly viable. Same goes for the Charlotte location and Hampton Roads would probably not even change venues or organizational affiliation. There's been confirmed rumblings from those organizations about leaving the USPHL for the EHL would give them the double benefit of regaining USA Hockey sanctioning and saving a chunk of change not having to fund the USPHL's pipe dream.
     
  7. kij Registered User

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    Bedford, MA is where the East Coast Wizards already play. Same confusing situation as the Little Flyers there.

    The USPHL tried to expand into Newark, DE last summer with the Delaware Lightning who never struck ground and fell silently by the wayside. If you guys are correct and the teams in the South are jumping ship from the USPHL that will leave the remaining 3 USPHL Southeast teams on a bit of an island, possibly forcing them to jump over the the EHL as well.
     
  8. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    If those teams leave, that also leaves five isolated Florida teams for the USPHL to upkeep also. Considering none of them except for the Eels consistently get commits, and two of them were Empire only teams (Daytona Racers and Florida Jr. Blades although the Blades are filling in nicely) for most of their history, the USPHL will be left hurting south of the Mason-Dixon.

    The EHL expansion announcement is pretty confusing and vague considering there's a free-for-all in the east coast for junior hockey at the moment. What I find the most troubling is that they named locations and not teams. They couldn't even give the organization's name? That sounds like the NA3 and the USPHL with the smoke and mirrors and not giving any news, or at least any that is helpful.

    kij, do you think that the EHL will try and eventually turn into the old EJ? Strong organizations top to bottom along the East Coast, but instead of being pissy at the tuition-free USHL and the NAHL for taking their best players they'll try and advance them if they're goal isn't to get a college commit. If so, there's going to be a lot more teams going back and forth between leagues as sides continue to be chosen. I'm surprised that it's most EHL-USPHL teams jumping back and forth and no one has tried to snag any NA3 teams. I know most of those east coast teams are atrocious but I'm curious as to why there hasn't been a single one to jump ship, if you discount the NA3AHL joining the EHLPremier last year.
     
  9. kij Registered User

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    Most NA3HL teams do not have the funds, coaching, or players to jump ship in the area. Being realistic in geography, the 11 teams that make up the NA3 Coastal and Northeast divisions could join the EHL or USPHL however with most of these teams dropping a rumored $250,000 in expansion fees alone, it is pretty hard to justify losing that money and then buying into another league. Being from the area and having played in the NA3 and making multiple EHL teams I can say that the NA3 is definitely a step below the EHL in the East.

    The EHL will never become what the EJ was. The EJ was a different animal with many players going D1, the EHL prides itself on taking players in their final year and sending them D3. The EHL always does it's due diligence in making sure the teams in the league are capable operators and will continue to do so.

    I do have a bit of a grudge against the USPHL Florida teams just because they have always charged exorbitant amounts in tuition so I hope that division falters however the Virginia teams are always well operated and it is good to see them joining a better situation.
     
  10. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Having played part of my last season of juniors in Florida after obtaining a release my Boston team, I can say I’m in your boat. Maybe it’s because they think that since it’s sunny and 80 every day they can tack on thousands extra.

    The USPHL organization based where I am in Mass seems pretty full-in with the idea that the USPHL and the NCDC will work, even though they were on of the only Premier teams from last year not to get that free-to-play toy. Maybe the discontent is mostly outside the North, especially since the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan teams seem full in on the idea also? Bruce Boudreau just bought a team and put out articles on how he wants to add a youth organization, midgets, and a free to play team to join it. Good luck convincing kids who’s goal in life is to play high school hockey to do that. Motor City Hawks said the same thing, and moved rinks because of it.

    And the hockey gods probably saw the NA3’s situation comments and sent out an idea to THJN The End Of The NA3HL Is Coming This Off Season I’m not sure how reliable THJN is, especially predictions considering that they’re openly pro-USP. Interesting read either way, but I doubt the entire league would jump ship.
     
  11. kij Registered User

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    The entire league can't jump ship, just far too many teams. I'm currently in the NA3 south and I know this division isn't going anywhere. College Station is probably dying but the remaining 5 teams are solidly run. I was in the Northeast division but my team had unsafe roster numbers and the coaches were delusional so I demanded a trade. From what I heard the Pics didn't want to go free to play because the owners knew that the teams will hemorrhage money.

    For the NA3 northeastern teams, Skylands, Oswego, Roc City, Long Beach, Cape Cod, and Maine are so poorly run that they will never get into the EHL. They probably could join the USPHL Premier but that will just fund the gongshow. A return to the NSHL could be possible.

    That website is fairly reliable however that is an extremely bold prediction.
     
  12. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Pics had a few things happen. Couldn't afford the NCDC expansion fee in the area of $500,000 and couldn't figure out the logistics of it if they could get one. The owner of the team and owner of the rink sold the team and became assistant at Western New England while still being owner of the rink. Have to be owner of the rink and team in order to not hemorrhage money. They were trying to plan around it by getting a sponsorship with the MGM Springfield, get their players to stay at the hotel and then play and practice at the MassMutual Center. Obviously it didn't happen and the one expansion NCDC franchise went to the NH Monarchs, but that would be an interesting prospect.

    In terms of NA3 to EHL switching, there have to be a few teams in geographically that could join. Binghamton Jr. Senators are blowing out other teams and had a pretty good first year with 8 solid college commits, albeit this is only their second year. Binghamton used to have a team in the old AJ and easily fits the footprint. And regularly winning by nearly double digit margins probably makes discontent with current league quality. New England Stars have a weird coexistence with IHC, flagship organization of the USPHL, and play at Skate 3 which is home to select teams of IHC. Atlanta Capitals maybe? That would help fill in the potential EHL south division.

    Honestly, anything that helps with how watered down junior hockey has become and the quality of players, coaching, and frustratingly enough ownership has gone down the tubes.
     
  13. kij Registered User

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    Binghamton's owner/GM has a thing for being the big fish in a small pond. He builds strong teams and gets his players to college but they prefer to be the best in a weaker league. The team would be competitive in the EHL however they would not be blowing out everybody the way they do now. As I said, the other teams in the Northeast division are pretty bad. New England is pretty well run but like you said they are a strange team. They are owned by the hockey academy, who also own the New England Wolves and Maine Wild. Cape Cod Islanders (NA3), TA Seahawks (EHL), and next year's expansion Twin City Thunder (USPHL) are also owned by Dan Hodge and Company. Another strange conglomerate of teams.

    Having players living in a hotel sounds way more expensive than setting the boys up in billets considering most hotels don't have kitchens in them on top of being more expensive in general to stay at.
     
  14. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    The Pics guy I talked to said they would try and get them to stay for free at the MGM’s not yet built hotel as part of that sponsorship. Part of it he said was a similar relationship with the new AHL Thunderbirds. They have been getting out into the community and marketing well, which hasn’t been seen by Springfield residents in while. Don’t know the logistics or how realistic that whole situation is, probably part of the reason they didn’t fork over the dough for a NCDC team.

    Interesting that owners have teams across multiple leagues. I would’ve thought with a very clear and big line drawn in the sand since the USP-USA Hockey split, owners would be taking sides. Perhaps they’re hedging their bets on which side will win out?
     
  15. kij Registered User

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    The all Euro team in the USPHL stayed in a hotel for 2015-16 and 16-17. The team was charging $20,000 a year in tuition to be able to afford having 3-4 players to a double hotel room for the season. It covered some meals as well however that is a ridiculous scenario when players can be placed in billets which they will pay for themselves for $400/month.
     
  16. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Not sure about that one then. Maybe an issue with the billet families? I know a few of them that aren't billeting kids any more after having done it for a few seasons. Not easy to have 5 kids stay in your basement. I'm guessing that's also why you're seeing so many hockey houses with guys filling up a house or apartment and living by themselves with no rules or parental supervision.
     
  17. kij Registered User

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    Many players choose the hockey house route for that very reason, they want to be able to drink and smoke and do whatever without supervision. Teams know this is what happens and many of the better run organizations do not provide the option for that very reason. 5 kids in a basement seems a little extreme. Sounds like the team kind of forced that many players on them until it was too much. I have heard of so many as 7 players in a billet, 3 and 4 in a room. All sharing a kitchen and small fridge, absolute disaster.

    My team set me up with my own (small) bedroom and then moved another kid into the upstairs when his hockey house situation fell apart. Plenty of space, privacy, and a big enough kitchen to share with the billet father and kids. Almost every time players share a cramped space it does not work out and in the end the billet family decides it is not worth it.
     
  18. The S5 Registered User

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    Can't speak for the other EHL clubs, but the new NC(Garner) EHL club has no relation to the EC Eagles. There will be no merger or renaming. This will be a completely separate organization.
     
  19. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Genuinely surprised. I heard it's same case for the other North Carolina location near Charlotte, this time it's people who were kicked out of the rink when the Rush moved in 3 or 4 years back. If that's that's the theme, then it would appear that the EHL is moving into USPHL territory. Turf war and battle of ideologies continues.

    S5, would you have any idea what the deal is with the "new" teams announced in Boxford, Mass and Aston, PA where there are already EHL teams?
     
  20. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Team Maryland Expands Into Junior Hockey kij brought this up in a seperate article. Team Maryland, who has U16 and U18 teams in the AYHL, acquire an EHL franchise. Not sure why it wasn't mentioned as part of the original new team locations. Means deciphering the article. What is confirmed is as follows
    • Aston, PA - Already home of Little Flyers. Possible USPHL switchover?
    • Bedford, MA - Already home of the East Coast Wizards. As previously mentioned, very confusing
    • Garner, NC - NC Force gets new team. Conveniently close to USPHL Carolina Eagles. News article : NC Force Announce Head Coach
    • Middletown, NJ - NJ 87s, affiliated with NAHL Titans and had EHLP fanchise last season News article: 87's Set To Join EHL in 2018-2019
    • Newark, DE - no announcement that I could find.
    • Newington, CT- CT Chiefs acquiring CT Oilers franchise and moving them a bit north. News article: CT Chiefs Join Eastern Hockey League
    • Pineville, NC - no announcement that I could find. Very close to USPHL Charlotte Rush
    • Virginia Beach, VA - no announcement that I could find. Follows previous pattern and is the location of the Hampton Roads Whalers with previously mentioned protesting of USPHL's NCDC tax and leaving USA hockey.
    • Adding Maryland to the list.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  21. kij Registered User

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    Hampton Roads nearly folded over forcing the players to pay that tax but decided against it, no doubt that they are switching teams. On a side note, Metro Jets, Wooster Oilers, Southern Tier Express, Pittsburgh Vengeance, Lansing Wolves, and Toledo Cherokee join USPHL from NA3HL.
     
  22. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Any articles for that?
     
  23. kij Registered User

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    NEW ENGLAND CONFERENCE

    NORTH DIVISION (NEW)

    Boston Jr. Rangers
    New England Wolves
    New Hampshire Avalanche
    Valley Jr. Warriors
    Vermont Lumberjacks

    SOUTH DIVISION (NEW)
    Connecticut Chiefs
    Connecticut RoughRiders
    East Coast Wizards
    Total Athletics Seahawks
    Walpole Express

    MID-ATLANTIC CONFERENCE

    NORTH DIVISION (ATL)
    Lehigh Valley Jr. Rebels
    New Jersey 87's
    New York Applecore
    Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights

    SOUTH DIVISION (ATL)
    Philadelphia Jr. Flyers
    Philadelphia Little Flyers
    Philadelphia Revolution
    Team Maryland
    North Carolina Golden Bears

    Supposed to bring the league from 16 to 24, now sits at 19. Hard to see the Philly teams being happy about making the trek down to North Carolina regularly, just to see one team.
     
  24. cmh329 Registered User

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    The Virginia Beach expansion announced back in January would have made the weekend trek a little more manageable, but no news as of yet on them as well as Newark,DE and the other Aston, PA team.
     
  25. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Not sure what happened with their announced teams. There's two locations with teams in the league already so that's a brainbuster. Joining for 2019-2020 is the Charleston (SC) Mariners and they weren't even a part of those announced teams. They could have a full division south of the Mason-Dixon if they got that other North Carolina team and Virginia beach together with Team Maryland.
     

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