UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Utica University Nexus Center was the host site for the United States Premier Hockey League National Tournament this week, welcoming 26 teams from across the country in the league’s Premier and Elite divisions. Over 700 players alone attended the tournaments within the last week, with additional team staff, families and spectators bringing the total number of tourists to the area to well over 1,000.
The USPHL’s self-stated mission is to, “Prepare and develop players for college hockey (and beyond) through a tiered development program,” which is the goal of many junior hockey leagues throughout the United States and Canada. In Utica this week there were 18 teams competing in the Premier division and eight in the Elite division, with teams ranging as far as Palm Beach to New Hampshire in the Elite and from Ogden, Utah to Las Vegas, Florida and the New York metro area in the Premier.
The championships for each level were held on Tuesday with the Carolina Junior Hurricanes defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in double overtime in the Elites and the Northern Cyclones of Hudson, New Hampshire taking down the Charlotte Rush in the Premier.