Connecting The AAU Dots To Current USA Hockey Teams

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Connecting the AAU dots to current USA Hockey Teams…..

A person doesnt have to go far to begin connecting current USA Hockey teams with AAU. The rumors have been out there for a few years now. Most teams and leagues will publicly deny any interest while figuring out their next moves.

The Great Lakes Junior Hockey League has made no secret that AAU may be an option. TJHN can confirm that GLJHL president Gerry Lullove has no less than four and possibly six or more expansion teams lined up for the GLJHL should they make the jump. TJHN can also confirm the Gerry Lullove is making inroads with current and former professional team owners to add to the GLJHL or a new league should one be started. It would make a lot of sense if current CHL and ECHL owners in the Great Lakes region to sign up and develop junior programs within an established group of teams.

Sources have indicated to TJHN over the weekend that the NorPAC took a vote on Tuesday of last week on whether or not to go with AAU. Sources have also indicated that two teams indicated that if NorPAC did not go AAU that they would be joining the WSHL.

With these two leagues it has been fairly easy to connect the dots. The relationships are there, and the geography works for the NorPAC. The big question we have had is how can we connect the rumors back to the EJHL, or the EmJHL. The rumors have benn out there, but there was no real connection to trace back.

Until now.

The North American Frozen Cup is an invitational tournament, hosted in Detroit and Philly, it looks to be a nice event. The Philly event clearly requires players be registered with USA Hockey and or Hockey Canada. "Regulations 1. All Teams must be rostered with USA Hockey, the Canadian Hockey Association or the appropriate IIHF affiliate."

The Detroit tournament has no such requirement. An oversight? Definitely not.

The Detroit tournament is listed on AAU hockey as one of their events and the reader can be sure that AAU is not looking to promote any USAH event.

Connecting the dots….

The Frozen Cup is run and operated by Selects Hockey. Selects hockey owns the Portland Junior Pirates in the EJHL and the EmJHL, USA Hockey sanctioned teams in USAH sanctioned leagues.

The United States Elite Hockey League, a midget league formed mostly by EJHL and EmJHL owners: Selects Academy (CT), Junior Bruins (MA), Islanders Hockey Club (Formerly Middlesex Islanders) (MA), Jersey Hitmen (NJ), South Shore Kings (MA), CT Yankees (CT), Suffolk P.A.L Ice Hockey (NY) and Hill Academy (Ontario) will have U-18 and U-16 divisions. No confirmation has been found that USA Hockey has sanctioned this league.

The USEHL has no mention of sanctioning in its press release either. USAH is expected to decide on sanctioning in June.

AAU has captured some High School Club Hockey in New York, some youth hockey and other organizations in New York, Michigan and Colorado. Anyone who dismisses the importance of those three markets and the inroads made within them is not thinking clearly. Strategic start ups or inroads made into New York State: a hockey player producing power house, Michigan: one of the best hockey Markets in North America, and Colorado: a western US centerpiece that is producing more players every year should be noted.

The connection is now there and visible for the world to see with links from website to website. If Eastern teams are not looking at AAU as an option then this tournament wouldnt be claimed as an AAU event and run by a USAH organization.

A few months ago the Central Hockey League was rumored to be starting its own Junior League. CH1L was the rumored name. No website was launched, no emails other than a google email, and no other information has been brought forward. The CHL has not announced anything, and has had no formal talks with AAU. As we near the end of April, this rumor can now be put to bed as a rumor only. To attempt to launch a completely new league to compete with the NAHL at this point would be financial suicide.

Two CHL owners will own Junior franchises in addition to their pro franchises to be added to the WSHL. This makes a lot more sense than any start up attempt by the CHL on their own. The WSHL will push forward with expansion and will announce significant growth over the spring and summer months. TJHN will follow up on this information as it develops.

The AAU connection heading east is now pretty clear. The WSHL move to AAU last year forced everyone to watch and look. It would appear that the players involved may have liked what they have seen.

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