The United States Premier Hockey League and the Utica Jr. Comets organization are proud to announce that the 2023 USPHL Premier and Elite National Championships will be held at the Nexus Center in Utica, N.Y. – the brand new home of the Jr. Comets’ USPHL teams – between March 23 and March 28, 2023.
The USPHL Elite National Championship Game will be held on March 27, with the USPHL Premier National Championship game being played one day later on March 28.
The event will open with a three-day round-robin tournament for the USPHL Elite Conference between March 23-25. Over these same days, the USPHL Premier will open with a two-day seeding round (March 23-24) to determine who moves on to the single-elimination Round of 16 on March 25.
The USPHL Premier Quarterfinals (Round of 8) and USPHL Elite Semifinals will take place on March 26. The Premier semifinals will be played on March 27, the same day as the Elite National Championship Game.
The Nexus Center is a 169,440-square-foot facility conveniently located off the New York State Thruway in Utica, N.Y. Newly opened in November of 2022, the Nexus Center will feature state of the art amenities to make it a tournament destination.
The Nexus Center will feature three multi-purpose 200-foot-by-85-foot playing surfaces that can be utilized as ice sheets or turf. The Nexus Center will be connected by a walkway to the historic Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, which brings the total up to four surfaces for sports tournaments.
“We are thrilled to be able to host the USPHL National Championships at the Nexus Center in 2023,” said Comets President Robert Esche. “The event, which will showcase the Premier and Elite levels of the league, will add yet another top tier sporting event to Oneida County.”
“The USPHL is excited to bring our USPHL Premier and Elite National Championships to the city of Utica and the new state-of-the-art Nexus Center. We have full confidence that Robert Esche and Nicole Kelly will lead their team to produce our best Nationals ever based on the solid foundation the Northern Cyclones and Hampton Roads Whalers have provided,” said USPHL Commissioner Bob Turow.
Utilizing three sheets will allow for a better travel-friendly schedule for all teams, as well as extra recovery time as the multiple surfaces will eliminate scheduled early morning and late night start times. The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium will be available for use as needed should any schedule issues arise due to overtimes, shootouts or unforeseen circumstances such as injuries.
Along with the three ice sheets at the Nexus Center, players at the USPHL National Championships will have access to a fully functioning pro shop on site, a sport-specific gym and a warmup track that surrounds the ice arenas. There will be 14 brand new locker rooms available for teams throughout the facility, with full service amenities in each.
There is a full-service bar and restaurant on site, as well as the Utica Coffee Lounge, which offers coffee and other beverages in addition to salads and sandwiches, in addition to a traditional ice rink concession stand.
The brand new Nexus Center will feature all the most modern technology, in order to facilitate a prime viewing experience for those watching on HockeyTV, the exclusive broadcast partner of the USPHL. There will also be complimentary WiFi offered throughout the facility in order for players, families and fans to share their new memories from on site.
Utica is conveniently located off of I-90 (known in New York as the Thomas E. Dewey Thruway), 90 minutes driving time from the state capital in Albany, and 50 minutes by highway from Syracuse. Both Albany and Syracuse have full-service airports and several car rental agencies and other transportation services available to get players and their supporters to Utica. There are several brand-name hotels in Utica, many within walking distance of the Nexus Center for the convenience of the teams that reach the National Championships.
Playoffs for the USPHL Premier and USPHL Elite Conferences begin in late February and generally run until the final weekend before the beginning of the National Championships as each conference plays down to determine their representative, or representatives, for the National Championships. The full USPHL Premier and Elite Playoffs And National Championships format will be announced at a later date.
Apparel with the new 2023 USPHL National Championships at Utica logo will be available online in the weeks prior to the event, online and on site during the event, and for a short time online following the National Championships.