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Rating The Junior Hockey Leagues – 2018 Tier III Edition

2017-2018 was the year of Tier III turmoil and turnover.  The year of collapse and a banner year for the Death Pool here on TJHN.  Without further adieu;

The criteria that was used in rating these seven leagues, was how do teams within the leagues compare when developing players who move on to the NHL, NCAA, USHL, NAHL, and Canada Junior A hockey programs. The size of the league as in number of teams was also taken into account for depth of player talent throughout the league. The level of promotion of commitments was also taken into account for this particular rating.

1. Eastern Hockey League

The EHL, was once again the top producer of NCAA prospects at the Tier III level. The EHL also continued to move players on to Tier II when those opportunities were presented. The EHL lead all Tier III leagues in NCAA D-3 and D-2 placements. Be the best at one thing and you don’t have to worry about what anyone else may be doing.

2. USPHL – Premier

The USPHL, continued to be one of the top Tier III leagues in the United States in the 2017-2018 season. Geography plays a significant factor in how well scoouted the league is by higher level junior programs as well as NCAA programs.  Good coaching and multiple showcase events taking place in the heart of NCAA country present great opportunities for players.

3. USPHL – Elite

The USPHL Elite has become a very nice development platform for the USPHL Premier as well as some EHL programs.  Markedly younger than the Premier division, this is definitely a league designed for late bloomers or those who want junior hockey but are not satisfied with their AAA options.

4. NA3HL

The NA3HL is simply not what it once was.  There is simply not much good to say about any teams outside of the North Iowa Bulls now that the Metro Jets have jumped to the USPHL Premier.  The level of play, and commitments are down, making this league barely above the now defunct RMJHL.


In its second year, the CPJHL continued to have some issues like every other league ever started. More players did move up, and more look to have moved up since the seasons end. Talent was not deep, but a few players showed potential.


The RMJHL moved up simply based on a number of leagues folding and merging. Thankfully though, the RMJHL is now gone and will not appear in any ranking again.


The Greater Metro Hockey League is once again the worst league in North America. Congratulations.  What does it say about a league when it is rated lower than a league that has folded and another that is made up of several teams that left the “G” show?

Next week we will publish our top twenty all inclusive list covering all levels of junior hockey. Where will your league fit in?

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