Multiple sources are reporting that the USPHL Premier Division will take a number of teams from Tier III to a free to play model of Tier II hockey.
The proposal is slated to be voted on at the USA Hockey Winter Meetings that begin today in Orlando Florida.
Sources are reporting that the move was approved at league meetings last week during the USPHL winter showcase in Boston.
This move for the USPHL is timed with a wording change to USA Hockey rules that specifically states that Tier II teams may charge for “Room And Board Only” or as commonly known as billet fee’s.
Of note, Richard Gallant of the USPHL has written Rule Change Proposal 5 which addresses arena seating size for Tier II as several USPHL teams would not meat the 1500 seat current minimum standard. Would Richard Gallant and the USPHL make this proposal if they weren’t going Tier II? Its unlikely.
Sources are reporting that six or eight of the current Tier III Premiere teams will form the new Tier II league under the USPHL banner.
The remaining teams will continue under the Premier banner, adding Premier divisions in the Southern and Mid Western United States.
Why make the move to Tier II now?
One source said “It is the only way we can keep the NAHL from expanding any further into our footprint.”
If the USPHL makes the move to Tier II with some of its teams, it would then provide all but a Tier I level of Junior Hockey under its banner. If true, the player would have more free to play options in the United States and would likely see many players who otherwise go to Canada, stay in the United States to play.
TJHN will update this report as more information becomes available.