Rating The Junior Hockey Leagues – 2021 Tier III Edition
The Junior Hockey News - Admin Posted June 21, 2021 The criteria that was used in rating these six leagues, was how do teams within the leagues compare when developing players who move on to the NHL, NCAA, USHL, NAHL, NCDC, and Canada Junior A hockey programs. The size of the league as in number of teams was also taken into account for depth of player talent throughout the league. The level of promotion of commitments was also taken into account for this particular rating.
1. USPHL – Premier
The USPHL, is the United States and North America's largest amateur hockey organization.
From coast to coast, no other organization does as much for player development and promotion at every level. The NCDC is showing by its use of the USPHL Premier as its development pool that it is a proven recipe for successful promotion and growth of players. The number of Tier II players coming out of the USPHL Premier increases every year and is a testament to great coaching. These players are moving on to the USHL and NAHL as well as NCDC. The USPHL Premier by volume leads the way in NCAA and ACHA College commitments. 2. Eastern Hockey League
The EHL, is a top producer of NCAA D-3 prospects at the Tier III level. The EHL also continued to move players on to Tier II when those opportunities were presented, yet they do not match the volume of the USPHL. The EHL has defined itself as a league where they are focused on NCAA D-3 placement.
3. USPHL – Elite
The USPHL Elite is a very nice development platform for the USPHL Premier, and is now being used for some NCDC development. Purposefully younger than the Premier division, this is definitely a league designed for younger players or those who want junior hockey but are not satisfied with their AAA options. Many players on Elite teams are getting called up to USPHL Premier teams, and many are getting opportunity with NCDC clubs, while some are still going directly to College hockey.
The NA3HL is trying to change it’s image. While many gimmicks are in place to make it appear that players are getting more opportunity in the NAHL, the numbers of call ups and actual games played do not support that idea of promotion. That said, the NA3HL has done a better job of moving players to Canadian Junior A leagues like the NOJHL, SIJHL, CCHL and OJHL. NCAA commitment numbers are simply not there to support a higher ranking.
The EHLP, the second division under the EHL is better classified as a league for players with little to no AAA hockey experience. Younger and less experienced, EHLP players are seeing some players moved up to the EHL. The EHLP while trying to develop players simply doesn’t have a talent pool developing for Tier II or NCAA levels that is measurable.
The Greater Metro Hockey League is once again the worst league in North America. Congratulations. While the Ontario Canada teams did not play, Western Canada teams did play a short spring season, and it was simply a money grab. Signing anyone desperate enough to play, it was simply bad hockey and you could not put enough lipstick on it.
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