NAHL announces the formation of the NA3EHL
October 17, 2014
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) is proud to announce the addition of a new hockey league to the NAHL family made up of the 10 teams from the league formerly known as the Northern States Hockey League (NSHL), which will continue play as the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League (NA3EHL) during the 2014-15 season. The 10-team league will compete at the Tier III junior level and features teams located in the Northeastern United States including: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
“We feel this is a unique opportunity to operate the NA3EHL in our family of leagues and continue to provide more opportunity for players across the United States who have aspirations of playing college hockey. The Northeast is an area of the United States that has extensive hockey tradition and talent, as well as, a wide range of college programs that are always on the lookout for players,” said NAHL President and NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “We will continue to make decisions for what is best for players that are advancing though our unique ladder of development, and combined with our professional management and staff, we feel we can take the NA3EHL to a heightened level of competition and organization.”
The NSHL was a 10-team league operating on the East Coast independently outside of USA Hockey. The NSHL reached out to the NAHL via Alex Shnayderman, who owns the NAHL’s Wichita Falls Wildcats, seeking support with league operations. The plan is to bring the NA3EHL under USA hockey umbrella as soon as possible, but since season has already begun, the NA3EHL will operate independently for the 2014-15 season and will seek certification by USA Hockey for 2015-16. The league will operate consistent with all USA Hockey Tier III junior rules and regulations with the only exception being the number of imports.
The primary mission of the NA3EHL, which is now managed organizationally by the North American Hockey League (NAHL), is to provide a structured developmental environment for student-athletes at the Tier III junior level, who have the ability and the aspirations to play at the collegiate level. The common goal is to produce athletes that are committed to excellence in academics as well as athletics. By providing a high level of competition, the players will be given the resources to contribute and succeed at the next level of hockey and education. The NA3EHL will operate independently for the 2014-15 season and will apply to join USA Hockey for the 2015-16 season.
“From the outset, our key component has been trying to move players onto college hockey. We believe our new association with the NAHL will further assist us in accomplishing that goal,” said NA3EHL Commissioner Wayne Sheehan. “The cooperative agreement with the NAHL brings a new level of professionalism and organization to our league and provides a new level of credibility. In an area that is rich with hockey talent, we plan to show everyone that the NAHL brand is second to none. When it comes to exposure, awareness, education, organization and events, we believe the NA3EHL will be at the forefront.”
The NA3EHL features 10 members, which include: Cape Cod Islanders (Dennis, MA), East Coast Minutemen (Salem, NH), Jersey Shore Wildcats (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ), Lockport Express (Lockport, NY), Maine Wild (Biddeford, ME), New England Stars (Hudson, NH), New Hampshire Fighting Spirit (Laconia, NH), Roc City Royals (Rochester, NY), Syracuse Stampede (Mexico, NY) and Wilkes-Barre Miners (Wilkes-Barre, PA). During the past two seasons, over three dozen players have committed to NCAA schools.
NA3EHL teams will compete in a 40-game regular season schedule and will take part in two Showcases throughout the 2014-15 season. There will be playoffs to determine a Champion in March of 2015.