2016 NAPHL Dixon Cup Championship just one week away
February 5, 2016
The 2016 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) Dixon Cup Championship is just one week away. The 2016 NAPHL Championship will be played February 12-15 at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Championship games will be played on Monday morning, February 15 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, in cooperation with the opening day of the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
The 18U and 16U Championship trophies (Dixon Cup) are named after Dean Dixon, longtime coach of the NAPHL’s Lansing Capitals, one of the charter members of the NAPHL. In the Summer of 2013, Dixon was diagnosed with brain cancer. Even though the tumor was thought to be inoperable, it was successfully removed and Dean continued his fight through radiation and chemotherapy. On March 17, 2014, Dixon ultimately lost his battle with the disease, but his influence and legacy on the Capitals program and the NAPHL is something that will never be forgotten.
The top 10 teams from each of the 18U and the 16U divisions in the NAPHL qualified for the playoffs. Last season, the New Jersey Jr. Titans won the 18U Championship, while the Omaha AAA Hockey Club won the 16U title.
All games will be broadcast live on FASTHockey
In the 18U Division, Omaha won the regular season and is the #1 seed. Their 23 regular season wins and .920 winning percentage are both new NAPHL 18U records. The Madison Capitols won 20 games and solidly finished in 2nd place. Thanks to a 4-1 record in Troy, Meijer AAA finished one point ahead of Rocky Mountain for 3rd place. In their return to the NAPHL, the RoughRiders had a great regular season, finishing with 17 wins and 34 points. Four points back of Rocky Mountain and finishing in 5th place were the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in their inaugural NAPHL season. Then teams 6-10 were separated by just three points, which was a testament to the parity throughout the season and the excitement of the final event. In 6th place were the Washington Little Capitals with 29 points. In a tie for 7th place with 28 points were the Pikes Peak Miners and Esmark Stars, but the Miners had one more win than the Stars, which put Pikes Peak in 7th and Esmark in 8th. In 9th place with 27 points were the California Titans, who will have the opportunity to win an unprecedented third NAPHL playoff championship at the 18U level. The 10th and final spot was claimed by the Philadelphia, who picked up a shutout on the final day to finish with 26 points. Pursuit of Excellence also finished with 26 points, but had one less win during the regular season than the Flyers and were on the wrong end of the tie-breaker.
In the 16U Division, Omaha’s 24 wins set a new NAPHL record for number of wins in a regular season as they locked up the #1 seed. Only four points back of Omaha in 2nd place were the New Jersey Jr. Titans, who also had a tremendous regular season with 22 wins. 3rd place was a tie between Rocky Mountain and Washington, who both had 17-5-3 records. However, because Rocky Mountain beat Washington in their only meeting (1-0 back on November 15th), the RoughRiders got the nod for 3rd place and the Little Caps finished 4th. In 5th place with 35 points were the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. Spots 6-9 were a virtual deadlock between four teams, who all finished with 31 points. Esmark, California and Meijer all had identical 15-9-1 records. Esmark ended up with the #6 spot because they defeated both California and Meijer during the regular season. California ended up with the #7 spot because they defeated Meijer twice during the regular season. Meijer ended up at #8 as they had one more win (15) than HC Dallas (14). HC Dallas finished in the 9th spot and claiming the 10th and final spot were the Arizona Bobcats, who got a shutout win on the final day to secure their bid. Both St. Louis and Madison had cracks at the final spot, but could not find enough wins in the final days.