The EHL is one of the less talked about Junior league's in the US, which is truly unfortunate because they do a lot of things right. One of my favorite aspects about the league is the fact that they do games during the week in the afternoons.
The reason for it is simple and brilliant. With College coaches being overloaded through out the season, especially their weekends, recruiting is difficult. With the EHL though, college coaches have the ability to attend games during the day when they may have a lighter schedule. To me, this is a huge value added for the league, especially with them being in the market of NCAA Division 1 conferences such as the ECAC and Hockey East as well as 4 Division 3 conferences. That’s a who load of teams to get exposure to!
Now, proximity helps within the EHL, and the division alignment is really nice.
In their New England Conference, they have 10 teams split into two divisions. Instead of just pulling teams from each division no matter their record, the New England Conference takes the top 6 teams regardless of division with the top two teams receiving a bye.
In their Mid-Atlantic division, they have 8 teams split into two divisions. Same deal as above, with 6 teams moving on and the top two receiving a bye.
At this point, each division has their playoffs already set up. Out of all 12 teams to move on, only two are below the .500 mark, and that’s from the Mid-Atlantic division (New York Applecore’s with 17-23-4 and the Philadelphia Jr Flyers with 19-22-4) which is a huge difference than some of the teams that are gifted into the USPHL and NA3HL playoffs.
The juggernaut top teams heading into the playoffs are the Philadelphia Little Flyers who went 40-3-1 with 246 goals scored and 73 goals against and the New Hampshire Avalanche who had a record of 36-6-0 scoring 223 goals for and 89 goals against. These teams should face off at some point in the EHL Frozen Final round robin tournament.
The biggest talking point I wanted to bring up right now is that the league itself boasts 60 NCAA college commitments made this season (Division 1-3)! That doesn’t include the 7 Alumni commitments they also have but does include a few for the 2020 and 2021 season. THAT’S HUGE for a Tier 3 junior program! Location definitely helps, but coming full circle, so does the schedule and games that are played during the week.
I look forward to following their league playoffs that start next week and watch as more commitments pop up!