Wednesday, March 23, 2011

AAA Leagues Split

Three of the four AAA teams in the Chicago area have split from the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.  Chicago Mission, Chicago Young Americans, and Team Illinois are joined by three Detroit area teams to form the unfortunately named High Performance Hockey League or HPHL.  Apparently all of the other league names were taken.

The Detroit teams joining the new league are Compuware, Honeybaked, and Little Caesars.  Left out in the cold is the Fury from Chicago, as well as Belle Tire and Victory Honda from Detroit.

More after the jump.

The reasons given for the split in the March 17 press release from the HPHL are as follows:


  • Reasonable travel and contain costs
  • Minimize school-days missed
  • Embrace the ADM and LTAD models to ensure age-specific training for the players
  • Regular measuring and monitoring of individual player's growth


The press release can be found here, with a similar release from the Chicago Mission here.  An interesting quote from the press release releated to the ADM:

The HPHL’s game‐counts showcase dates, length of season and post‐season competition will reflect this overall commitment.

Presumably the game limit policy adopted by AHAI in response to ADM has necessitated this split.  I will put it mildly and say call me skeptical, as the game limit policy is only recommended for Tier 1 teams.  It is interesting to note that this league is not currently blessed by USA Hockey, but the move is in keeping with what many believe is USA Hockey's ultimate goal with the Long Term Atlhete Development program (LTAD):  fewer and better AAA teams.

With these 6 teams leaving, the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League is left with a mere 19 teams.  Not to be outdone in the press release competition, the Fury posted the following statement on their website:

It is possible you may have heard about a new league formed by a few organizations who abruptly resigned their position with the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.  There are some misconceptions regarding the newly formed league that the Chicago Fury feels need to be addressed:
 1)  This new league was not created by USA Hockey.
We have contacted people at USA Hockey in the HPC and ADM departments and the first they heard of this league was within the last two days.
 2)  Tier 1 Elite League will continue next year.
The Tier 1 Elite Hockey League is solidifying all of its remaining members throughout the country and thus far, all 19 members have confirmed their continued position in the Tier 1 Elite League. The Tier 1 Elite League is realigning its members to provide the maximum exposure to the player with the minimum amount of travel. The Tier 1 Elite Hockey League will continue to maintain its position as the premier developmental hockey league in the country.
 3)  The Fury will play in the Tier 1 Elite League next year.
The Fury is committed to the league and will continue to develop the best young players possible. The Tier 1 Elite Hockey League will continue and thrive while the same cannot be guaranteed regarding other leagues.  Further, the Fury will continue to provide its sport specific training program through the Fury Performance Training.
 4)  AHAI rules require all AAA teams to play each other during the season.
 The Fury is waiting to hear from AHAI as to what format the intrastate games will occur. Once AHAI makes its determination, all Illinois teams will be required to play each other throughout the season.
 5)  The Chicago Fury is committed to training and developing its players.
 The Chicago Fury will fully participate in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League throughout the season. The Fury’s participation in the nation’s premier league will allow the Fury players to compete against the nation’s finest competition and will also maximize the Fury player’s exposure on a nationwide basis.
 We are excited to maintain our allegiance to the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League and look forward to the continued development of the Fury players. Rest assured the Chicago Fury is actively pursuing all available remedies, legal and otherwise, to protect its players and the development of its players.

With Squirt AAA being eliminated, many changes are afoot next season for the Tier 1 teams.












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