The NESHL completed its last games of the 2015-2016 season on March 5th and 6th, 2016 in Exeter, NH and there were some very exciting games throughout the weekend, and season for that matter. It is the only weekend in our season where we have all the league’s teams in attendance and this affords everyone the opportunity to interact and talk hockey amongst each other. We had a good crowd watching the games and I received email and comments from people who were there watching sled hockey for the first time and were amazed at the intensity and skill of our games and players.
This season we increased the number of games played by each Adult A team to 20. We also added the Bennett Blazers to the Division bringing our total number of teams to 7. The USA Warriors dominated the Division from the start of the season to the end followed closely by the Northeast Passage Wildcats. The Warriors continued their streak into our last weekend taking home not only the NESHL Adult A Championship trophy but the Sports4Life Sled Hockey Classic trophy for the Division. The NJ Freeze finished their season strong climbing in the standings to finish at number three, the Philadelphia Flyers came in fourth, and the NY Rangers in fifth. The Gaylord Wolfpack also finished their season strong coming in sixth place followed by the Bennett Blazers rounding out our Adult A Final Standings.
The Adult B Division also had some changes from the previous season. We added one new team, the New England Warriors from Maine, and increased the number of games each team played from 8 to 12. Similar to the A Division the VT Sledcats dominated the B Division from start to finish. The Sledcats got to take home the new NESHL B Division Championship trophy and the Sports4Life Sled Hockey Classic trophy last month. The Western MA Knights came in second, the New England Warriors completing their inaugural season came in third, and the Northeast Passage Wildcats came in fourth.
Planning for the 2016-2017 Season has been underway for quite a while now and we have some exciting changes in store already. First off we will be adding two new teams to each Division! In the Adult A Division the Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins and Ohio United teams will be joining us. The Adult B Division will be joined by the Long Island RoughRiders and the Boston Shamrocks. This will bring the A Division up to 9 teams and the B Division to 6. We will have well over 200 athletes in our league and these new changes will make us the largest, and oldest, Adult Sled Hockey league in the Country!
We will also be introducing our first Playoff structure/games for March 2017 in the Adult A Division. The top 4 teams in the Standings after our February games will compete for the Adult A Division Championship in March. The remaining 5 teams in the standings will compete for an Adult A Tier II Championship.
The Adult B Division teams will play one more game going from 12 to 13 for the 2016-2017 Season. The Regular Season will start in October and end in February with each team playing 10 games. In March we’ll have a similar playoff structure as we did this season with each team playing 3 games over two days.
Those are some quick highlights of what is in store for next season. We’ll continue to look, and solicit, for ways in which we can make the game more exciting for our teams and players so feel free to let us know your suggestions.
Finally, Thanks to all of our players, coaches, team managers, volunteers, Sponsors and Partners, League Officers, and NESHL Board for a great 2015-2016 Season! I hope everyone enjoys their summer and I look forward to seeing all of you next season!