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UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE
USPHL makes grade with 1,200 grads on college rosters By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com
he United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), with its unparalleled multi-tiered development model, continues to be the perfect starting point towards a college hockey career. Research tracking the whereabouts of former USPHL players shows that there are more than 1,200 college hockey players who developed their on- and off-ice skills anywhere from the USPHL Midget full-season divisions up through the three-tiered USPHL junior hockey model. Along with development towards a college hockey future, the USPHL is also known for its internal promotion of players, and several hundred have moved up within the Midget and junior leagues. More than 275 former USPHL junior and Midget players are also currently playing professional hockey around the world, including John Marino (Pittsburgh Penguins/ South Shore Kings), Connor Clifton (Boston Bruins/ Jersey Hitmen) and Stanley Cup champion and St. Louis Blues forward Zach Sanford (Islanders Hockey Club.) National Collegiate Development Conference: The top of the pyramid is the tuition-free National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC), which has entered its third season and has already seen new college commitments for future seasons. There are currently 143 former NCDC players on NCAA Division I and Division III rosters. Prior to the
2017 formation of the NCDC, the USPHL Premier Division was the league’s top tier. There are more than 230 alumni of the USPHL’s top junior division currently playing NCAA hockey. Players also move on from the top level to the ACHA, giving the USPHL’s top tier more than 325 alumni currently playing at all levels of college hockey.
USPHL Elite: The vast majority of USPHL Elite players move on to the USPHL Premier, with a total of 251 players in the last two seasons advancing to the higher-level Tier III league. Along with its junior development mission, there are several players who advance directly to college hockey. The Northern Cyclones’ Matt Irwin, who finished among the top scorers in the USPHL Elite last season, has earned a spot on the Framingham State University roster in NCAA Division III hockey. A total of 179 former USPHL Elite players (along with players from precursors to the USPHL Elite) are on ACHA rosters for this season.
USPHL Premier: Although the USPHL Premier may have a large footprint on the surface, divisional play and several showcases keeps travel light for the players and provides college scouts more showcase opportunities than in any other league to see the best Tier III talent. That is one of the main reasons USPHL Midget Divisions: The USPHL why the USPHL Premier, in the last 18U, 16U and 15U full-season divitwo years alone, has produced 240 sions have developed a great reputaNCAA athletes – including Jacob Craig Pantano, a former South Shore Kings tion for not only hosting highly-ranked (2013-15), has been one of the top Tier I AAA teams, but also advancing Zab, who rode a strong year with netminder goalies in the Hockey East for nationally-ranked the Pittsburgh Vengeance to an Northeastern University early on in the college players to all corners of the junior, college and pro hockey world. NCAA Division I roster spot with the hockey season. Photo/Northeastern Athletics The Midget divisions combined have seen 146 alumUniversity of Nebraska Omaha. Another 210 players from the last two years of the ni that are currently playing NCAA Division I, while more USPHL Premier have moved on to the ACHA ranks, giv- than 200 are playing NCAA Division III hockey. A total ing the USPHL Premier a total of 450 college advance- of 85 former USPHL 18U players are now in the NCDC ments in just two seasons. No less than 40 individual and more than 200 former 16U players are in the NCDC, players have made the big jump the last two years to the Premier and Elite. Over 90 USPHL 15U alumni have continued up through the junior divisions. NCDC within the USPHL.
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