SHUFFLING THE DECK
SHUFFLING THE DECK
Changes for B’s in ’12-’13
MARLBORO, MA-There are big changes this coming season for the Junior Bruins as they will shuffle some of their
teams into different leagues to maximize the teams’ schedules and development for the teams in the program.
At the top there are no changes as the big club will stay in the top league in the east and a premier junior league in North America, the Eastern Junior Hockey League, under the direction of Head Coach/GM Peter Masters and Associate Head Coach Mike Anderson and Assistant Coaches Topher Bevis and John Butler. There are some changes in the EJHL as the Green Mtn. Glades have relocated to Portland, ME (Portland Jr. Pirates), the CD Selects (Albany) have been sold and moved to Norwalk , CT. They will be known as the Norwalk Oilers. Applecore is relocating to play out of Westchester, NY.
2012-2013 Season Teams
Little Bruins (split season midget team)
Junior Bruins-U19 Jr. team (split season)
The team coached by Chris Masters and Dan Tatar, Junior Bruins (Empire), will become a U18 midget team and play in the US Elite Hockey League. The USEHL allows the team to play a tougher, more challenging schedule as well as playing teams that have a similar team makeup. The B’s (Empire) team has basically been a U18 team since its inception 12 seasons ago and was originally called the Junior Bruins Midget AAA team. After a few years of playing in the Eastern Junior Minor Hockey League the team moved to the Empire Jr. Hockey League to create a better schedule and limit travel for the team and players. The Empire served the program and its players well with a strong schedule that also limited travel. In addition to the Empire league games and playoffs the team always supplemented that with a strong non league schedule over the year with tournaments such as the Beantown Fall Classic, Labor Day tournament, tournaments/showcases in Buffalo, Detroit and exhibitions with U18 midget teams such as Comcast, Philly Jr. Flyers, DC Caps, teams traveling from Canada and Europe.
One hesitation in moving our Junior Bruins (Empire) team, which is our primary feeder team to our EJHL team, to a U18 midget league was travel. Without other local teams in the league the move did not make sense for the B’s as they would have to add 4-5 trips to their schedule each year and the schedule the Empire provided was a strong one already.
The Empire League has tried to become a younger league over the last few seasons and has been successful in doing so. In 2011-2012 they eliminated 20 year olds from the league so it would better attract younger, skilled players. There were some teams that still used, primarily, 18/19 year olds and others, like the B’s that were almost a U17 team save for a few players. The USEHL allows the B’s to be more in line, from a player pool and type of player pool, with the other teams in the league as opposed to one of only a few in the Empire that had a similar roster to the Bruins.
Over the past few months the Bruins and other EJHL/Empire organizations, the South Shore Kings, Middlesex Islanders (formerly the Jr. Huskies) and Jersey Hitmen, began talks
with other top programs in the east that were looking for a league that will give the players and organizations a bump in scheduling, development and value. The hockey landscape is ever changing and the B’s, always ensuring their teams and families will stay ahead of the changes, were able to ensure they are able to provide the best that is available to the players with this change.
This will provide the Junior Bruins an upgraded schedule from a competition standpoint and at the same time keep travel in line with where the team has been when in the Empire League. “It was important to us to make sure changing from the Empire to the USEHL would not increase our travel or school days missed,” coach Chris Masters commented. “With the Kings and Isles within 35 minutes of our rink we now have league partners in our backyard. The league is also set up, similar to the Empire, that our out of division games will be played at league wide showcases. We anticipate a similar travel schedule that the team had this past year. With league home games, local tournaments and showcases we will also travel to some of our out of area league members as well and include a trip out west (most likely Chicago or Detroit). Add to that league playoffs and a potential USA Hockey National tournament bid and we will have a powerful schedule.”
“The Empire is a great league and served our purposes well
over the last seven seasons,” Masters continued “but we felt this change would give us an upgrade and better serve our younger players. One way to look at is that we had a very good schedule, now we have a better schedule.”
“This change also allows our current ESHL roster of players to move to the Empire League so it better serves them as well,” ESHL Coach/GM Mike Anderson added. “We will now have an additional feeder to our EJHL team. The U18 team, coached by Chris, will be a primary feeder but now our Empire team, which will be an older team than the U18 will also be able to feed players to the EJHL team the following year. The Empire team for ’12-’13 will be the 17-19 year old player who we feel has an opportunity or desire to be in the program for more than one year and either move up to the EJHL or off to college hockey. A strong player and prospect who is just not year ready for the EJHL team. The ESHL team will be for the 18-20 year old player who is looking for some added exposure to increase chances of playing college hockey the following season. Most players will be in the program for one year and then move onto college programs. We also recognize its possible a player could use 2 years at this developmental level or use that first year to gain some exposure to Junior A clubs.”
The 2012-2013 schedule for the U18 B’s will look like the following*. Each bullet is a weekend and the team will have a 60-65 game schedule. There are 26 available weekends for games from September through mid March (taking off Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years weekends) and
- Labor Day tournament @ NESC
- BJB Showcase @ NESC
- Beantown Fall Classic @ NH
- EJHL Winter Showcase @ NESC
- USEHL Showcase @ Boston
- USEHL Showcase @ CT
- 2 games vs. South Shore Kings @ NESC
- 2 games vs. Islanders @ NESC
- 2 games vs. Hill Academy @ NESC
- 2 games vs. Selects Academy @ NESC
- 2 games vs. South Shore Kings @ Foxboro
- 2 games vs. Islanders @ Merrimack
- 2 games vs. Hill Academy @ NESC
- 2 games vs. Selects Academy @ Selects Academy
- 2 games vs. East Division team @ CT Yankees
- 2 games vs. East Division team @ Jersey Hitmen
- Playoffs @ Jersey Hitmen
- USHR Showcase @ Northeastern
- Exhibitions with split season midget teams in the fall, exhibitions with strong Empire teams and other local showcases and tournaments will fill out our schedule the remaining 5 weekends of the season
- U18 State Playoffs (TBA); Nationals qualifier
- Nationals (if we qualify) @ TBA
*as details of the league are firmed up over the next few weeks/months as well as being National bound the above may be tweaked.
The organization is also adding the Junior Bruins-U19 Jr. team (split season). We also welcome the addition of a new U19 split season team to complement our Little Bruins squad. This team will serve the elite central mass and public high school player that is looking for high end fall hockey. The team will participate in many of the regions top showcases including the Junior Bruins Shootout, Beantown Fall Classic and Valley Warriors Invitational as well as build in quality games against top competition in the area. With all of the players being centrally located, we anticipate conducting practices during the week as well. We see this as the perfect way for a top high school player to get great fall competition, scouting and exposure to Junior hockey without having to forgo their high school experience. The Little Bruins typically draws from all over New England whereas this team will, primarily, to the 30 mile radius around NESC but will not exclude a player that lives outside that area.
There will be additional team and league updates as the spring and summer months progress. Stay tuned…