Regular season kicks off this weekend
The Atlantic Junior Hockey League’s (AJHL) 10th anniversary season will commence this weekend, as the Philadelphia Little Flyers travel to Long Island to take on the New York Bobcats for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday.
The milestone campaign will hold extra meaning for the AJHL, as the USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior A circuit reorganized this year as a standalone entity separate of the Atlantic Metropolitan Hockey League while embracing a new set of operating standards in order to enhance developmental opportunities for its players, coaches and organizations.
“Over the years, the AJHL has established itself as a top producer of high-level junior and college players on the East Coast, and we’re looking forward to continuing that tradition this season,” said AJHL director of hockey operations Jeff Nygaard. “Not only are our teams committed to getting our student-athletes to the next level on the ice, but also developing them into well-rounded, community-minded young men.”
Each of the 12 AJHL clubs will play a 44-game regular-season schedule, including four highly anticipated showcase events in which every team will play three games at each festival that will count towards the standings.
The first showcase is slated for Sept. 21-23 at Ice Works in Aston, Pa.; the second over Columbus Day Weekend (Oct. 5-8) at Cyclone Arena in Hudson, N.H.; the third from Nov. 23-25 (Thanksgiving Weekend), also in Hudson; and the final over Presidents’ Day Weekend (Feb. 15-18, 2013) at Iorio Arena in Walpole, Mass.
Another non-league showcase is scheduled for Dec. 12-14 at the ISCC in Simbury, Conn., and the AJHL All-Star Game is set for Jan. 27, 2013 in Walpole.
“The ability to have all our teams play together under one roof benefits not only our players, but all the junior, college and professional scouts in attendance,” said Nygaard. “It’s a win-win for everybody and definitely brings our mission of development and exposure to the forefront.”
Four teams - the Bobcats, Boston Jr. Rangers, Northern Cyclones and Walpole Express - will also play two exhibition games on Sept. 18-19 at United States Hockey League (USHL) Fall Classic tournament, which attracts hundreds of junior, college and professional scouts and coaches.
“Our relationship with the USHL continues to evolve, and we couldn’t be happier to be associated with the top junior league in the country,” said Nygaard. “To be able to have a presence at this prestigious event is a great opportunity for our student-athletes.”
The Tier III Junior A league’s regular-season will conclude on Feb. 24, 2013 before the start of the postseason.