Wednesday, September 16, 2015

2015 Tier II Team Counts and Power Rankings

By Winefool

Last year we published a view of Tier II boys hockey clubs that listed number of teams at each level by club and then used size (# of teams) and relative strength (team playing level & results) to estimate a ‘Power Ranking’ of the primary clubs playing in Northern Illinois. For a detailed breakdown of the methodology, refer back to that original post.

This year, the plot thickened with the departure of the majority of Mite hockey from USA/AHAI to AAU. Since the AAU Mite teams are not allowed to play under their traditional club name, we allocated those teams back to the primary Tier II club based on their home city and/or rink. Technically these teams are not part of the core club, but the reality is that it’s all the same people and those kids will rejoin their core club at Squirt, so it makes sense to keep the data consistent year over year.

Another change for this year is the addition of NIHL girls teams to the analysis. With the growth in girls teams over the past couple years it just didn’t make sense to leave them out any longer. This analysis actually goes back and adds them for all three years so it also changes the rankings in previous years – the rankings and YoY changes are internally consistent in this analysis, but they will look different if you compare them to previous posts.

Finally, like last year the spreadsheet contains one power ranking for all teams (including Midget) and another power ranking for only Mite-Bantam teams. We believe the latter is the better overall indicator as clubs tend not to field Midget teams in markets with strong high school programs and those that do are all classified as CSDHL or Elite (there are no Midget teams in NIHL below Elite), so they tend to skew the results a bit.

We’ll leave you to interpret the actual power rankings, but here are a couple observations from the raw teams by club view. The Sabres remain the largest Tier II organization for the second year in a row, fielding a whopping 23 teams in 2014-15. They are followed closely by the Cyclones, Hawks, Winnetka, Bruins, and Falcons all fielding 20 or more teams. Big movers among the major clubs this year were the Cyclones and Hawks (each adding 3 teams) along with the Vikings and Jets (each adding 2). None of these clubs dropped more than 1 team this season.

Glenview leads the charge in Girls hockey fielding 3 all-girls teams. Only the Sabres and Falcons field CSDHL teams at all 8 levels, followed by the Bruins at 6 and Winnetka at 5 teams. Overall the picture looks bright for youth hockey in the area as we have grown the number of teams by more than 15%!

Here are the power ranking results for the 2015 season:

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