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Western Pa Hockey Plan for High School and Amateur Hockey
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Wednesday, February 13
2013 - Western Pa Hockey Plan for High School and Amateur Hockey

This was sent to every President of Amateur Hockey Programs and High School Hockey Programs in Western Pennsylvania

Important Information re Youth Hockey Structure

To: Western PA Youth Hockey Leaders:

This information is being sent to club/team Presidents. Please forward on to other interested officers/individuals.

Confusion has surrounded our sport since June of this year as a result of the USA Hockey rule change regarding the age ranges allowed to play ‘high school hockey.’ We are working to continue expanding opportunities for children to play hockey and feel that it is important for us to provide our thoughts on restructuring the youth hockey system in our region – based off of the latest rules. We have met with key stakeholders from the PAHL and PIHL, their member clubs and facilities which led us to create the structure presented in the following document. Our plan seems to provide a clear career path with opportunities for players regardless of ability, interest level and financial commitment to play the game.

We believe that by making the changes mentioned in our presentation the player development model will be enhanced, the career path for players will be clearly defined and ice at the facilities will be utilized more efficiently.

We realize that these are significant modifications that will require a collaborative effort between all of the key stakeholders, and that there will be challenges along the way. The Penguins welcome these challenges, as well as additional ideas, and hope that you will too. After all, we share the common goals of increasing participation and improving the overall structure of the sport. In the end, it is about providing the best development opportunities for our athletes.

Please Click Here to view the documentation on the Youth Hockey Structure of Western Pennsyvania.

Saturday, October 16
2010 - 2011 Pa Hockey Editorial -How do you lose 13 State Championships in one year before the season even starts?

       I have been involved in promoting Interscholastic Hockey since it inception in 1971 at the Alpine Ice Chalet which marks the 40th Anniversary of High School Hockey in Western Pennsylvania. The year 2010 should be a celebration of those programs, like Shaler, Upper St Clair and Mt Lebanon, who were 3 of the 6 Original High School Hockey programs.


       In addition, the Pittsburgh Penguins are moving into the state of the art Consol Energy Center and have been generous to display the Interscholastic and Amateur Hockey Organizations Jerseys and have computerization, which at some point will be linked to PointStreak and give live updates to all games in Western Pennsylvania. This is a great way of promoting the sport and after 10 years the PIHL may have gotten something right, although the Pittsburgh Penguins have a huge part in that promotion, because they understand where their future ticket base is.


        To lose storied programs like 8-time State Champions Meadville and 5-time State Champions Bishop McCort should not go unnoticed, but this has been a gradual process beginning when the PIHL was formed in 1999-2000. Under the current leadership, the PIHL has gone from well over 90 schools and 250 + teams to somewhere around 45 schools competing for the Penguins Cup. Yeah, the economy can be blamed or yeah the numbers in hockey can be blamed or travel hockey, oh yeah that’s a convenient excuse as well.


        The big number is the cost of High School Hockey and the lack of value that is given to this sport. For a child to play Freshman Hockey in the PIHL, it costs over $ 1500 for a 6th grader to suit up for a Freshman team. Being a parent, I have a 6th grader now eligible to play Freshman Hockey and why in the world would I pay over $ 1500 to play 16 games, when in Amateur Hockey, you can pay $ 1000 to play more games and if you want to play 3 times as many games for $ 2000. That is a huge issue for people and the PIHL is now sending surveys out to ask their membership to help them, with the question ‘Do you think all High School Teams should HAVE TO play in the PIHL?’. Folks, Monopoly is a board game and monopolies in business were banished in the 1980’s with government regulation.


        The plain and simple truth is that the Laurel Mountain Hockey League [Volunteers and Less Cost], the Lake Shore Hockey League [Volunteers and Less Cost] and the PAHL [Volunteers and Less Cost] are attractive options for potential High School Hockey Players and this is why Meadville and Bishop McCort are no longer participating in the PIHL. Not like there where not any warning signs of this happening as long time programs Indiana, Penn Hills, Seton LaSalle, North Catholic and others are amongst the refuse of 40 + ‘Teams that are not here Anymore’ Wall of Shame of the PIHL Administration.


        I walked away from the PIHL Administration in 2001 and saw at the time that it was a power and money grab at the time and it continues with the stale people who still are running the league. The original By-Laws had term limitations bccause many of the people involved felt that you always needed to have new blood coming in and as one so called hockey expert stated at the time “you need to have hockey people running hockey”. That person was involved with one of the two hockey programs that earned the 13 State Championships that left the PIHL in one year. Is it time for change to get rid of people who have overstayed their welcome in Interscholastic Hockey? No, I think you should fill out that survey and get on the Long Range Planning Committee!


          The greatest quote I heard came out of the focus groups that the Pittsburgh Penguins put together for High School, Amateur and Dek and Inline Hockey, when someone told me that one of the illustrious board members of the PIHL stated that in their meetings ‘that we told the Penguins all of these ideas, and they just don’t get it !’


          Excuse me…this was a franchise in bankruptcy and was saved by Mario Lemieux and rose from the ashes to win a Stanley Cup in 2009 and build a $ 400 Million Building, which will be a fortress for Hockey for the next 50 years. Maybe the Penguins should kick some people to the curb and take over High School Hockey and Amateur Hockey? If you think that is a stretch……Why did they form a Non-Profit Foundation? It’s around the corner folks and maybe when they get involved, they can go to the PIAA and have the sport become a part of the National High School Federation and Sanction the Sport through the schools. Then it won’t cost me the equivalent of a college education to have my son play High School Hockey?


           Nobody ever dream that Penn State would be a Division 1 Hockey Program except of course Joe Battista and it became a reality when $ 88 Million was donated to build a new arena and fund the scholarships. Don’t think for a minute the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Pittsburgh aren’t watching this and they already have a new arena. Times will be changing in High School Hockey and so will the administration ….stay tuned!   

PA Hockey
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Friday, March 2
2007 - Pa Hockey Solution – Part 1 – Better Alignment and Competition – FOR ALL !
                     I have talked to many of you in the rinks about the potential for change in the PIHL and in April there will be a slate of people who run for the office of the Executive Board. I will NOT be one of those people nor am I interested in being in any paid position, but I am consulting with this group of people as to what needs to happen to FIX the 7-year mess created by the Villans. People who say I use Pa Hockey as a forum to bash the PIHL are very misinformed and those who characterize anything I write as a rant, don’t really understand either.

                   I will not go into a long dissertation about what’s wrong because everyone knows it, everyone complains about it and now its time to do something about it. I will not be releasing Part 2 of the Solution as that will be in the hands of the people who run for office and it has to do with one thing and that is saving people a lot of money and simplifying hockey to allow more kids to participate in hockey and potentially saving some of the programs that are dying in Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey. Remember one thing, there are NO promises and the people who are currently running the PIHL have had 7 years and have done a mediocre job at best because they are all about the money and NOT about providing a service to the member teams;

                   The Alignment Philosiphy is simple. 1) Return Interscholastic Hockey to Class AAA, AA and A + 2) create a long term solution to allow ALL pure scholastic programs to compete for the Penguins Cup and Pennsylvania High School Hockey Championship and 3) simplify the scheduling process and reduce travel.

                   Class AAA will be an Open Classification with the top 16 schools and schools must commit for a two (2) year period.
Class AA and A will be classified by enrollment and have a cut-off of 400 using PIAA Enrollment Numbers. Below is the proposed alignment for the 2007-2008 season (Please keep in mind this scenario takes into account Solution – Part 2):

PENNSYLVANIA INTERSCHOLASTIC HOCKEY LEAGUE - CLASS 'AAA'                           STANDINGS- ALIGNMENT PROPOSAL                                                        
NORTHEAST CONFERENCE                                
PIHL        AAA        EAST        CENTRAL CATHOLIC        634
PIHL        AAA        EAST        FOX CHAPEL        651
PIHL        AAA        EAST        GATEWAY        610
PIHL        AAA        EAST        NORTH HILLS        705
PIHL        AAA        EAST        PENN-TRAFFORD        630
PIHL        AAA        EAST        PINE-RICHLAND        522
PIHL        AAA        EAST        PLUM         606
PIHL        AAA        EAST        SHALER        798
                        SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE        
PIHL        AAA        WEST        BALDWIN        622
PIHL        AAA        WEST        BETHEL PARK        810
PIHL        AAA        WEST        MCDOWELL        945
PIHL        AAA        WEST        MEADVILLE        416
PIHL        AAA        WEST        MT LEBANON        729
PIHL        AAA        WEST        NORTH ALLEGHENY         1044
PIHL        AAA        WEST        SENECA VALLEY        938
PIHL        AAA        WEST        UPPER ST. CLAIR        571
Schedule would be 22 Games including 14 Divisional (7x2) and 8 Inter-Conference & Schools would be required to obtain 15 Ice Slots                                 
Top 8 Schools by Winning Percentage would be in the Penguins Cup Playoffs.                                 
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        ALTOONA        974
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        GREENSBURG C C        214
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        GREENSBURG SALEM        475
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        HEMPFIELD        812
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        HOLIDAYSBURG        532
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        INDIANA        422
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        LATROBE        555
PIHL        AA        LAUREL        STATE COLLEGE         1264
PIHL        AA        EAST        BUTLER        1044
PIHL        AA        EAST        CONNELLSVILLE        757
PIHL        AA        EAST        FRANKLIN REGIONAL        514
PIHL        AA        EAST        HAMPTON        399
PIHL        AA        EAST        KISKI AREA        588
PIHL        AA        EAST        KITTANNING        311
PIHL        AA        EAST        NORWIN        653
PIHL        AA        EAST        WOODLAND HILLS        779
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        ALLDERDICE        709
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        CANON MCMILLAN        581
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        CARRICK                  551
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        ELIZABETH FORWARD        389
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        PETERS TOWNSHIP        534
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        RINGGOLD         468
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        SOUTH PARK        332
PIHL        AA        SOUTH        THOMAS JEFFERSON        401
PIHL        AA        WEST        AMBRIDGE        424
PIHL        AA        WEST        CANEVIN        168
PIHL        AA        WEST        CATHEDRAL PREP        440
PIHL        AA        WEST        CHARTIERS VALLEY        467
PIHL        AA        WEST        MONTOUR        436
PIHL        AA        WEST        MOON        488
PIHL        AA        WEST        TRINITY        467
PIHL        AA        WEST        WEST ALLEGHENY        415
Schedule would be 22 Games including 14 Divisional (7x2) and 8 Conference & Schools would be required to obtain 15 Ice Slots                                 
Top 16 Schools (8 in each conference and play cross bracket by winning percentage) by Winning Percentage would be in the Penguins Cup Playoffs.                                 
2007-2008 SEASON        
PIHL        A        EAST        BISHOP MCCORT        189
PIHL        A        EAST        CONEMAUGH VALLEY        107
PIHL        A        EAST        FERNDALE        85
PIHL        A        EAST        JOHNSTOWN        391
PIHL        A        EAST        WESTMONT-HILLTOP        268
PIHL        A        EAST        WINDBER        ??
PIHL        A        LAUREL        BISHOP GUILFOYLE        135
PIHL        A        LAUREL        DERRY        366
PIHL        A        LAUREL        FOREST HILLS        337
PIHL        A        LAUREL        LIGONIER VALLEY        376
PIHL        A        LAUREL        RICHLAND-CAMBRIA        209
PIHL        A        LAUREL        SOMERSET        376
PIHL        A        SOUTH        DEER LAKES        257
PIHL        A        SOUTH        FREEPORT        260
PIHL        A        SOUTH        KNOCH        384
PIHL        A        SOUTH        MARS        319
PIHL        A        SOUTH        SERRA CATHOLIC        103
PIHL        A        SOUTH        VALLEY         277
PIHL        A        WEST        BEAVER        285
PIHL        A        WEST        CENTER        267
PIHL        A        WEST        QUAKER VALLEY        224
PIHL        A        WEST        QUIGLEY        58
PIHL        A        WEST        SEWICKLEY ACADEMY        115
PIHL        A        WEST        STEEL VALLEY        316
Schedule would be 21 Games including 15 Divisional (5x3) and 6 Conference & Schools would be required to obtain 15 Ice Slots                                 
Top 12 Schools (6 in each conference and play cross bracket by winning percentage) by Winning Percentage would be in the Penguins Cup Playoffs.                         
Division Winners would receive a bye and be re-seeded by Winning Percentage in Round 2