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Why We Chose the USPHL: New Jersey Rockets

By Mike Klein, 05/10/17, 7:00PM EDT


When the New Jersey Rockets joined the USPHL’s High Performance Youth Divisions for their inaugural season back in 2016, the move foreshadowed a major organizational shift in the near future. The result came just one year later, as the Rockets junior teams made the jump.


The Rockets have long been a significant player in the Atlantic District landscape and count current and former players such as Brian Mullen, John Carlson, Bobby Ryan and Charlie McAvoy among the team’s alumni. Additionally the team has enjoyed a rich history of developing players for NCAA Division I and Division III hockey, much like the other USPHL member organizations. Last season, the USPHL’s member organizations enjoyed significant representation in the NCAA Division I ranks and led the nation in advancements to Division III schools.
The Rockets will enter teams in all three junior divisions; Premier, Elite, and the NCDC. The NCDC is the USPHL’s all-new free-to-play division that consists of ten other teams and will increase the quality of competition in the Eastern United States.
“Organizationally, I think the move to the USPHL will offer an increased level of exposure for our players across the board,” stated Rockets NCDC head coach Sean Cromarty. “The NCDC provides a unique opportunity for the local high-end player to gain an increased level of Division I exposure without leaving their home.
“Furthermore, the USPHL Premier and Elite divisions provide extremely competitive hockey, and are proven direct to college avenues for our players,” he continued.
The move further consolidates the Rockets’ operations, as their youth, 16-and-under, and 18-and-under teams all competed in the USPHL while their junior programs belonged to another eastern league.
The Rockets players, coaches, and staff used their first season in the USPHL to evaluate the league’s organizational and development structure and in less than one year, the message was clear to everybody: the USPHL provides the best route to college hockey.
“I coached both the Rockets [Eastern Hockey League] Premier and U18 teams last season, and had eight players that were on both through the season,” noted Cromarty. “To a man, they would agree the opportunity in front of them with this change of leagues is a positive one.”
The USPHL welcomes the New Jersey Rockets junior programs to the league and wishes the players, coaches, and staff the best of luck in the upcoming season.