• Jeff Nygaard

Struggle Bus Update: USPHL Loses One & Others Appear To Be Close Behind

Yesterday saw the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) suffer one definite and one possible casualty due to low roster numbers.

The league announced internally that the Utica Jr. Comets 18U team will not be participating during the 2019-20 season. The Jr. Comets organization became a USPHL member last March when it merged with the Syracuse Stars.

The Jr. Comets field 15U, Premier and NCDC teams within the USPHL structure.

In the USPHL Premier Division the Connecticut Nighthawks, who list 11 skaters and three goaltenders on their USPHL roster, allegedly forfeited the Sept. 28 game vs. PAL Junior Islanders. That game now appears as a placeholder in the USPHL schedule on March 1, 2020, which is after the end of the Premier Division regular season. There has not been an entry in the team standings reflecting a forfeit loss at this point.

The Nighthawks opened the season on Sept. 21 with a 6-0 victory over the Rochester Monarchs, despite the 11 skaters, but have since dropped three straight.

As a follow up to the original Struggle Bus article, the Valley Jr. Warriors of the Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) division, which is below the EHL's top division, is somehow managing to stay on the schedule despite playing it last game with 10 skaters. In its first two losses Valley suited up 11 skaters to reach the minimum despite having 15 skaters on its USAH Protected List. The USA Hockey Junior Rulebook (Rule 201) states:

Rule 201. Composition of Teams (a) A team must start a game with a minimum of six players. Any time that a team has been reduced to less than four players, the game shall be declared a forfeit. A maximum of 18 players, plus not more than two goalkeepers, shall be permitted to play in the game. All teams must dress a minimum of 11 competitors (one goalkeeper and 10 skaters) for all games. The only allowable exceptions to this rule are for weather problems, team sickness, and/or suspensions. Any violations of this rule are to be brought to the attention of the Discipline Committee by the opposing Team Officials and the Referee. Suspensions and/or fines may result from an infraction of this rule.

TJHP has reached out to the EHL and the USPHL in order to secure more information and we will make additional details available if the leagues respond.

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