The USA Hockey Annual Winter Meeting in Orlando Florida is scheduled to begin on Thursday. While many issues are scheduled to be discussed, the number one agenda item for the junior council once again appears to be expansion and relocation.
Multiple sources are saying that the NAHL will look to add two more teams for the 2019-2020 season. Some of those sources are claiming that these two teams could both potentially be located in Alaska. If true, this could provide the league with its own Alaska division, and league members with much needed travel relief.
Tier III expansion is also apparently on the table. Sources are reporting that continued expansion in the Mid West, or “recapture” of some of those Mid West markets is on the mind of NA3HL teams.
Other sources are reporting more discontent within the NA3HL with more potential defections from the league to other non USA Hockey leagues.
Still other sources are suggesting that some NA3HL teams are once again hopping to make the jump to the EHL. Those same sources are reporting that these “eastern teams” would happily be shown the door by the rest of the NA3HL with the exception of possibly two teams.
Relocation also appears to be an NA3HL item as the Niagara Falls Powerhawks look to Rapid City South Dakota as a potential geographical rescue center. Other relocations have been rumored but seem less likely.
Once again, the annual winter meeting looks to be more of the same “rubber stamping” of team items with no real plan to address the critical problem facing pay to play junior hockey today. There are simply too many teams and not enough players.
The addition of more free to play teams in North America, along with more pay to play expansion will pressure the player market more than every before. Forcing yet more teams at the pay to play level to fold.
TJHN will update this story as information becomes available.