NCDC expansion in the western United States was announced the other day. This announcement while it may have taken some by surprise, was more than two years in the making.
When the WSHL teams out west decided to join the USPHL after the initial COVID season was set to begin, NCDC expansion was a large part of the negotiations. With, COVID now being managed effectively, the time was right to make this announcement and expand the Tier II division of the USPHL.
Six new Tier II teams for the 2023-2024 season is a landmark move for player opportunity. It is a tremendous commitment to player development. The USPHL and the team owners involved have made a statement with this expansion, and that statement is that they are ready to go head to head in recruiting with all of the other Tier II leagues in North America.
This expansion is great for players. Particularly all of those players out west who have had to leave home for Tier II opportunity. Now, many of them can either stay home next season, or a lot closer to home.
Instead of heading to Canada or to the Mid West and East Coast, players will now have an opportunity to sleep in their own beds. Parents will have more opportunity to watch their children play, and those younger players will have more role models in their community.
These discussions spanned two years and two commissioners in Richard Gallant and now Bob Turow. Commissioner Turow was steadfast in making sure this expansion was not only in the best interests of everyone involved, but that it would be able to sustain the level of NCDC play and in time enhance it.
From an Advisers standpoint, this is great news for my clients. This expansion creates more opportunity, more NCAA exposure, and definitely more scouting interest from the NHL and NCAA.
Denver, Air Force, Colorado College, Arizona State, and the Alaska programs will be very active scouting these programs having more Tier II hockey much closer to home. Imagine the interest for NCDC showcase events in 2023-2024 now.
While Canadian Junior A, and the NAHL are not going to like this additional recruiting competition, the bottom line is that it is good for players.
And make no mistake, these teams have distinct recruiting advantages over a lot of programs in Canada. Want to play in nice city within driving distance of NCAA scouts, or do you prefer heading to the back woods where no NCAA scouts are going? Denver or Neepawa? Pretty easy decision there.
Last season 114 American players played in the BCHL. 50 Americans played in the AJHL, 31 in the SJHL, and 24 in the MJHL. The vast majority of these players came from the Western United States. When you look at those numbers, combined with the great AAA hockey programs located in the Western United States, you have a great opportunity for immediate development and competitive success.
Congratulations to the NCDC, the USPHL, and everyone involved. This was a long time in the making and the group effort is certainly going to give great opportunity to many young men and families who sometimes get overlooked.
For more information on how you can prepare for next season NCDC opportunities please feel free to contact me.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser