Junior Hockey: Additions and Losses

Discussion in 'All other USA Amateur, USHL, NAHL, USNTDP etc.' started by Barclay Donaldson, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Feel free to contribute if you've spot any others. This list will be updated as more news arrives.

    NAHL
    Additions:
    1. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights --> Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks; Danbury, CT (source: Danbury to add NAHL team, Welcome Jr. Hat Tricks)
    2. Topeka Pilots --> Kansas City Scouts; Shawnee, KS (source: Pilots to become Kansas City Scouts)
    3. St. Cloud Blizzard rebrand --> St. Cloud Norsemen
    4. Wichita Falls Warriors; Wichita Falls, TX (source: NAHL team in Wichita Falls, TX approved for the 2020-21 season)
    NOJHL
    Losses:
    1. Elliot Lake Wildcats; Elliot Lake, ON: take one year leave of absence, intend to return for 2021-22 season (source: Wildcats Take Leave of Absence for 2020/21 Season)
    EHL
    Additions:
    1. Keene Eclipse; Keene, NH (source: EHL Welcomes Ducks and Eclipse)
    2. Protec Ducks; Somerset, NJ(source: EHL Welcomes Ducks and Eclipse)
    Losses:
    1. Philadelphia Jr. Flyers not listed on league footprint.
    2. North Carolina Golden Bears not listed on league footprint.
    SIJHL
    Additions: Kam River Fighting Walleye; Thunder Bay Ontario (source: NetNewsLedger - SIJHL Announces Kam River Fighting Walleye will Join League)
    BCHL
    Additions: Cranbrook Bucks; Cranbook, BC (source: BCHL announces Cranbrook Bucks expansion)
    NA3HL
    Additions:
    1. El Paso Rhinos; El Paso, TX (NA3HL announces new team in El Paso, Texas)
    Relocations:
    1. New England Stars --> New Jersey Titans; Middletown, NJ (source: NA3HL announces new team in Middletown, New Jersey)
    2. Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts --> Oregon Tradesmen; Oregon, WI (source: NA3HL announces new team in Oregon, Wisconsin)
    3. Elmira Jr. Screaming Eagles --> Bay State Bobcats; Holyoke, MA (source: Elmira Jr. Soaring Eagles to relocate to Holyoke, Massachusetts)
    4. Coulee Region Chill --> OKC Blazers; Edmund, OK: Coulee Region rink shut down and team will not play 2020-21 season. (source: No 2020-2021 season for the Coulee Region Chill). Later bought and relocated by WSHL OKC owner Jake Runey. http://na3hl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29562 http://www.okcityhockey.com/news/okc-joins-na3hl-begins-play-in-2020-21-season
    Losses:
    1. Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques; Lewiston, ME. Team will cease operations and be replaced in the organization with youth teams (source w/ paywall: Nordiques owner wants more high-end hockey, year-round events at the Colisee)
    2. Breezy Point North Stars: not listed on league website
    3. Maine Wild: not listed on league website
    4. Skyland Kings: not listed on league website
    USPHL
    Additions: Mostly from the WSHL (source: United States Premier Hockey League Adds Eight New West Coast Member Organizations). A separate release covering the Southern Oregon Spartans stated the teams will play in two separate six team divisions. An expected 6th team will supposedly form "Pacific Division of the USPHL with Fresno, Anaheim, San Diego, Las Vegas and, according to Martin, a sixth team on the West Coast that will be added “pretty soon."" The math here isn't very good since they said "The other Colorado and Utah teams will form a six-team Mountain Division" and they're three teams short of that.
    1. Premier, Fresno Monsters; Fresno, CA
    2. Premier, San Diego Sabers; Escondido, CA
    3. Premier, Anaheim Avalanche; Anaheim, CA
    4. Premier, Utah Outliers; West Valley City, UT
    5. Premier, Southern Oregon Spartans; Medford, OR
    6. Premier, Las Vegas Thunderbirds; Las Vegas, NV
    7. Premier, Pueblo Bulls; Pueblo, CO
    8. Premier, Northern Colorado Eagles; Greeley, CO
    9. Premier, Ogden Mustangs; Ogden, UT (link: Ogden Mustangs to Join USPHL Premier Division For 2020-21)
    10. Premier, Elmira Jr. Enforcers; Elmira, NY (source: Elmira Jr. Enforcers Set To Join USPHL Premier Division For 2020-21 Season)
    11. Premier, Wooster Oilers; Wooster, OH (source: Wooster Oilers Excited To Make Return To USPHL Premier in 2020-21)
    12. NCDC Boston Bandits-->Philadelphia Hockey Club; Sewell, NJ (source: Philadelphia Hockey Club Buys NCDC Franchise, Will Join League In 2020-21)
    13. Name/ownership change: Boston Bandits-->Bridgewater Bandits (source: New Ownership Announcement)
    14. Provo Riverblades; Provo, TU (source: Provo Riverblades Join USPHL Premier For 2020-21 Season, Name Head Coach)
    15. NCDC, Premier Boston Advantage; Hingham, MA (source: Boston Advantage To Field NCDC, Four Additional USPHL Teams For 2020-21)
    Losses:
    1. NCDC, Premier Rochester Jr. Monarchs; Rochester, NY: NCDC & Premier (source: PRESS RELEASE | Junior Monarchs)
    WSHL
    Losses: Subtract the ones leaving for the USPHL:
    Update: League will go dormant for the 2020-21 season, plans to return for the 2021-22 season.
    1. Valencia Flyers; Valencia, CA: home rink Ice Station Valencia was permanently closed, leaving the team's future in doubt as they shared an owner (source: Public Closure FAQs)
    2. OKC Blazers; Edmund, OK: WSHL OKC owner Jake Runey bought the rights to the dormant Coulee Region Chill, keeping the same branding. NA3HL announces new team in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    3. El Paso Rhinos; El Paso, TX
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
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  2. BOS358 Registered User

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    Coulee Region Chill have no ice and will not compete next season, though they have not ruled out a return in the future. Link
     
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  3. mk80 Registered User

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    It's worth mentioning that the Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts franchise being transferred to Oregon, WI should be much more competitive now that they under the control of the Janesville Jets ownership who purchased and reactivated the franchise.
     
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  4. CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    LA was shut down because the owner bought the previous arena owner out of the franchise and subsequently bought the arena outright, BD
     
  5. kij Registered User

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    So no more NA3HL Nordiques, does this have an impact on the NAHL Nordiques? Weren't they owned by the same group?
     
  6. CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    nope...Firland owned the NA3, AS well as the Colisee.... Antonucci was in New Jersey prior to the relocation which extends now to the Developmental Academy, which was the only thing still there
     
  7. mk80 Registered User

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    According to the WSHL, they will be "adding teams in the US and Canada" per their latest press release.
     
  8. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    It certainly isn't promising that the end of the article encourages players who are interested in playing to contact the league. I do like that they aren't rolling over and dying. Not yet at least.
     
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  9. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    But does that part of the press release mean just new players who are interested, or new players AND those displaced by teams disappearing, or ALL players new & those who played in the WSHL this past season? Could this be a complete reboot of the WSHL as a business entity? If I was a player or a parent of a player, I'd be mighty skeptical of a future in this league.
     
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  10. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    The players displaced by the teams leaving are likely leaving with those teams. That is traditionally how it works with teams switching leagues. I think what they're saying is that anyone who is interested in playing in the league, and has the checkbook to back it up, should contact the league who would put them on some team. Considering their losses the past few years, they had 23 teams only 3 years ago, it would take a lot of expansion to reboot them even for 1 season. Being skeptical is a healthy habit when looking at American Tier III junior hockey. If a couple hundred parents followed your path, there would be many fewer teams!
     
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  11. mk80 Registered User

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    Add the Ogden Mustangs to the USPHL West

     
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  12. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Now it's 9/12 teams those teams expect to play in two six team divisions. I would expect Ogden to play in the Mountain Division, which means there is one more team expected to join the Pacific Division and two more expected to join the Mountain Division. Any candidates?
     
  13. mk80 Registered User

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    I know they've been a loyal USA Hockey affiliated operation, and I wouldn't necessarily call the USPHL a "level up", but maybe the Eugene Generals sitting out 2019-20 could be related to this, here's the link to the press release they released at the time Eugene Generals - Eugene Generals

    Complete guess on my part, and like I said they would have to put aside their differences to join a non USA Hockey affiliated league.
     
  14. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    They did join the USPHL once before. Rumor had them joining the NAHL as part of a Pacific Northwest expansion. Some people expected some WSHL markets to join the NAHL as part of it. Many of them joining the USPHL certainly puts the kibosh on that.
     
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  15. mk80 Registered User

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    I didn't realize they already been in the USPHL, that's very interesting and certainly puts them as a more likely candidate now, especially having to Southern Oregon Spartans as a close neighbor. I know the NAHL would probably like a better Pacific Northwest presence (probably a better western presence overall), but I don't think it's on track at this time.
     
  16. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    They were the original West Coast American teams to join the USPHL (link: West Coast Teams Join Nation’s Top College Development League (USPHL)) along with three other NORPAC teams. They ended up leaving because the other three teams were done for one reason or another, and only playing three teams outside of the occasional showcase certainly is unappealing. Not that their schedule against mediocre club teams was much more appealing.

    I would have liked to see the NAHL and USA Hockey have a Pacific Northwest presence. I know there certainly aren't the most competent people in charge at the junior level and the entire Tier III level is volatile to say the least, but free-to-play hockey under the NAHL's umbrella on the West Coast is an excellent opportunity to grow the game.
     
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  17. mk80 Registered User

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    Eventually I'm sure there will be more Tier II options as time goes on in the Pacific Northwest.
     
  18. BOS358 Registered User

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    The only way it would be a meaningful "level up" in the USPHL is if they were in the NCDC, but there's no way that would happen. In the 2016-17 season, they were in the lowest division and were overmatched, only winning one game against teams outside of the Pacific.

    I know one of their staff members was very prominent in the Pacific District, but I couldn't find his name on the Generals' website, so their willingness to join an independent league might be greater at the time.

    If anyone cares, the USPHL Pacific Division teams went 1-984 (I may be exaggerating a bit) against the rest of the league and was so bad that a team that had to forfeit a third of their games still did not finish in last place.
     
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  19. mk80 Registered User

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    Exactly, all of the WSHL teams have joined the USPHL Premier Division not NCDC, under the West Coast Teams tab Team Members

    In my opinion that's more of a lateral move. The Generals haven't really announced anything so it's all speculation on my part naming them as a part of these WSHL -> USPHL moves. Maybe they'll surprise us with some completely different news.

    To be honest from what I've seen having scouted USPHL Premier and WSHL, I'd say moving the WSHL teams are slightly downgrading with this move. Although to be fair I don't think the USPHL Showcase I scouted featured the best of best Premier Division teams.
     
  20. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Showcases aren't the best times to judge. Playing 4 games in 3 days after traveling cross country usually makes for kids not playing the best. I like judging by college commitments. In those terms, it's pretty even. There's haves and havenots across both leagues. Most teams across both leagues are putting anywhere between anywhere between 3-6 kids into NCAA and ACHA schools each season on average. Some are higher, some are lower, from both sides. But overall, the leagues are fairly close in talent and I would probably give the edge to the USPHL Premier simply because of the number of NCDC drop downs that fill in respectable portions of the roster throughout the season.
    That, and a defenseman who played in the WSHL and USPHL Premier this past season put up nearly two points per game in the WSHL and was Top 5 in PPG league average, but put up well under a point per game in the USPHL Premier during the same season, along with a few other examples.

    There are claims that many teams in the WSHL have NAHL-level talent and that's generally been proven to be pretty false. If they were NAHL-level talent, they'd be playing for free somewhere else rather than spending close to five figures to play pay-to-play hockey and/or committing to places that would attract that level of talent. The first has been proven to be true with players who can play at the NAHL-level, and the second certainly isn't happening.
     
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  21. mk80 Registered User

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    That's a good assessment. You're definitely right in that showcases have different variables in terms of judging a team's level of play. The one I scouted most of the teams in it were having "rebuilding years" as I would say, so admittedly that does skew my opinion. The year I scouted the WSHL showcase I thought that there were 4 teams that year that I would have liked to see against an NAHL club (El Paso, Ogden, Edson, and Long Beach) all of them I think were the division leaders at the time, but watching all 4 I think they could have competed with an NAHL club. My general assessment of the WSHL in terms of caliber of play that year, was that the majority would have been top, to middle of the road NA3 teams, but I would have liked to see those top 4 that year against an NAHL team, I think in a hypothetical game NAHL teams would've most likely beat all four WSHL ones, but I think they would have been competitive.

    Again I've only seen both leagues at showcases so those variables come into play.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
  22. Barclay Donaldson Registered User

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    Fair play. Like you're thinking, it is tough to say unless they play each other throughout an entire season. But you can count on one hand, maybe two, the entire the number of NCAA D1 commits in history of the WSHL. Just going through commitments on the WSHL page in recent years, it looks like there are just as many ACHA commitments as NCAA D3. And it looks like most of them came from the teams leaving for the USPHL. I'm more inclined to think if those teams were really that close to the NAHL-level, there would be a lot more higher end commitments coming out of the league.

    One thing that always I misunderstand is why Tier III teams have rebuilding years. With an average roster of 24, they ought to have about 12 20-year olds and 12 about 19-year olds, give and take if they want to give a chance to a 17-year old. This way, there are 12 kids who ideally move on each year and the coaches worry about reloading rather than rebuilding, which is easier to recruit kids if they see many kids just moved onto college the previous season.
     
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  23. mk80 Registered User

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    Rosters fluctuate so much at any given level of junior, teams look completely different at the start and end of a season.

    You're right the WSHL is not Tier II as they like to consider, it's closer to Tier III. There are definitely some D1 caliber players who have come through the league, one thing I found talking to some the players at that showcase I scouted and have heard from other coaches, is a lot of the European guys who come to play in that league like to use it as a stepping stone to pro leagues back in Europe, now that applies to the D3 and ACHA caliber guys as well, it's certainly not the only contributing factor as to why the league doesn't directly produce a lot of D1 commitments.
     
  24. SemireliableSource Liter-a-cola

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    Yeah, but if you take a little closer look. These guys aren't going to the KHL, Liiga, SHL, etc. They're not even going to DEL2, VHL, or EIHL level leagues.

    Looking at the top euros from 2018-19 that went back to European pro leagues: Emil Johansson averaged half a point a game in the Swedish Div. 1 (third tier), Dominik Knap had four points in 37 games in the Czech third league, Gennadi Malashchenko had zero points in 16 games in the second Belarusian league, Linus Eriksson played 20 games in Swedish Division 1 with no points and nine games with 7 points in Division 2 (fourth tier), Stephane Döring had a decent showing with 18 points in 46 games in the German Oberliga (third tier).

    Adam Vay is the exception rather than the rule and even he went to the Hungarian league (not knocking it, it's a good league but not an elite level league).
     
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  25. kij Registered User

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    Are you only considering first-year pros in that? Rookies in these pro leagues take some time, any chance you could track down some guys from 2-3 years ago that went pro?
     

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