The New Hampshire Avalanche have been approved by USA Hockey’s Junior Council for an expansion franchise in the Eastern Hockey League.
The Avalanche currently operate a full slate of youth hockey teams at the AAA level. With multiple programs supporting players at the U-18 and U-16 levels, the Avalanche have what appears to be a built in player development program.
It is also apparent that the Avalanche are seen as a replacement for the departed or soon to be departed New Hampshire Monarchs. The Monarchs announced their intention to leave the EHL for the USPHL some time ago.
This would appear to make the Monarchs decision to leave for the USPHL a final one, as the Avalanche are located only a few miles away. USA Hockey’s Junior Council certainly wouldn’t approve this expansion team to be located within a few miles of another USA Hockey franchise.
The State of New Hampshire now will become one of the more closely watched recruiting territories in the country. Given the States size, and population, two teams so closely located one within and one outside of USA Hockey, will make this story one to keep an eye on.