Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: New organizations join from far and wide for exciting fifth season
The Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League, the United States’ largest and fastest-growing multi-affiliate youth league will be entering its fifth big season in 2016-17. The EJEPL is geared as a supplemental league to work in conjunction with an organization’s local league to produce an exciting full schedule.
“Teams all have a local league they play in and the EJEPL does not interfere at all in that relationship,” said Vice Commissioner Larry Nastasi.
The EJEPL playoffs end well before the local leagues’ playoffs begin and teams can concentrate on their march to the Nationals. Three EJEPL teams won their respective Nationals last year with other teams also doing well at the Nationals.
Many EJEPL organizations won league and state championships also, crediting the ability to play exciting competition out of their local leagues. Teams from Florida play teams from Maine and teams from Buffalo play teams from Delaware.
This variety of competition has excited parents in 15 states and at least six USA Hockey Districts.
“Every team looks to fill the open weekends and the EJEPL fills the voids with playoffs, all-stars and new competition added in,” stated Howard Huskies President Bob Buonato. “Before the EJEPL, we had huge problems finding legit exhibition competition and then many of the games wound up being canceled for petty reasons.
“The EJEPL is totally non-political and fair to all teams and run honestly,” said Maine Moose Owner Ben Gray. “In today’s hockey world, that is reason enough to join a league.”
The Maine Moose were one of the three National Champions at the 14U level, along with the Southern Connecticut Stars and Delaware Ducks at the 18U level.
The teams play a 16-game EJEPL schedule from 9U through 14U and a 20-game schedule in the 15-16U and 18U Midget levels.
The major year teams are divided into three levels of competitive balance with the Diamond, Futures Gold and Futures Silver.
In the Midget levels, a new Platinum level for AAA and top teams, followed by a Diamond level and Futures level allows for careful placement of teams.
The EJEPL also has a Split-Season level for prep and high school players who want to finish in the fall. This level has 16 and 18 divisions and plays a 10-game schedule with playoffs at the end of October.
The EJEPL also has a growing girls league with 12U, 14U and 16/19U levels. EJEPL Girls Director Chris Hubert now has 25 total girls teams. They play a varied schedule based on the amount of teams and the league has showcases, all-stars and playoffs at the end of January.
The EJEPL will also unveil a new product this season with the start of a House League Plus program. Pilot conferences in Pennsylvania and metropolitan New York will allow a rink owner with a house league to put all-star teams together to play local rinks and meet once a year with the other conference to play in tournament play and playoffs at the end of the season.
The MADD Conference will have teams at the 10-12 and 14U levels and interchangeable rosters. They will play approximately 10 games and playoffs.
The EJEPL has two youth showcases in August and October, both of which the entire league attend.
“The players only miss maybe one day of school the entire season,” said Commissioner Henry Lazar. “We do not want the EJEPL to burden players in their school work. The Midgets play in various showcases, which are in New Hampshire, Boston, Connecticut, Philadelphia and Buffalo.”
There are many new organizations in the EJEPL this season. The Ashburn (Va.) Xtreme has Midget teams entered. The Buffalo Stars have entered in the 16U level. Also entered in the Midget level are the Charlotte (N.C.) Jr. Checkers.
Connecticut’s Greater New Haven Warriors are entered in many youth levels. The Hartford (Conn.) Jr. Wolf Pack are also entered in the youth levels.
The Nassau County Lions (N.Y.) are entered at the youth and Midget levels. The New England Predators (Mass.) will play at the youth level.
The New Hampshire Avalanche and New Hampshire Ice Cats will both play in the Midget levels. The New Jersey Bandits and New Jersey Stars will compete in Midgets and youth, respectively. The North Shore Coyotes (Mass.) will play at the youth level.
The Ottawa (Ontario) Sharpshooters will play at the Midget levels and the Portland (Maine) Jr. Pirates will play at the 15U level.
The Rhode Island Jr. Blues will play youth and split-season. The Stamford (Conn.) Sharks will play at the 12U level. The EJEPL also welcomes the Valley Forge (Pa.) Selects and the Walpole (Mass.) Express.
Returning to the EJEPL are the New Jersey Titans at the youth levels, and the San Diego Gulls at the 16U level.
The new 9U level is named after longtime college and junior coach Jim Salfi, who sent hundreds of players on to college and pro careers. Salfi is retired now and lives in the Albany, N.Y., area.
The EJEPL thanks Jim Salfi for his many years of hockey service.
Please visit the EJEPL.com website for all the league news, stats and standings of all the conferences. The league will field approximately 300 teams in 73 organizations in 14 states and Canada.
Expansion information is available on the website.
Read past Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: