New season underway in all US junior hockey leagues

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Bertagna stepped in as executive adviser last summer and officially took over as commissioner in June.

“It turned into a commissioner post at the end of the first year and became official in June,” Bertagna said.

Bertagna, recipient of the USA Hockey Distinguished Service Award, became the first executive director of the American Hockey Coaches Association in 1991. He served as NCAA Division I commissioner for 38 years – 15 with the ECAC and 23 with Hockey East.

After a year of communicating with coaches and others around the league via Zoom, Bertagna looked forward to building face-to-face relationships this season through the league’s monthly showcases, the premiere of which ended in Worcester. , Massachusetts, October 3.

“I look forward to these events,” Bertagna said in an interview just before heading to the first showcase. “I already have a good relationship with many NCAA Division III coaches through my work with the American Hockey Coaches Association and I hope I can serve as a bit of an ambassador to connect these coaching groups. ”

This is an important moment for these relationships with recruiting potentially complicated by the extended eligibility of players already on campus.

“We’ve had a lot of players advancing this year,” Frankenfeld said. “We thought we would have more players in a holding pattern than we did. We’re pretty happy with how many players have had the chance to move on this year with what this reclassification could have done.

“At the moment it’s not as damaging as it could have been and we’ll be keeping an eye on it and trying to use all the options as best we can for our players and their opportunities for advancement. ”

While the USHL and NAHL help fill the NCAA Division I rosters, EHL primarily develops NCAA Division III talent.

Bertagna hopes the return of the monthly Showcase series will continue to advance this advancement.

“One of the things we’re proud of is that despite the absence of these events and in light of the fact that the NCAA is giving athletes a fifth year, we still had about 180 entries last year in the NCAA Division III, so I think that was a feather in the hat for these coaches doing a good job of getting these guys ready for the next level, ”he said.

With many programs closed and games canceled at the college level last year, officials for the junior games were plentiful.

This availability and the general state of the number of officials are matters that Bertagna will be monitoring.

“In all sports we are in a bit of a precarious situation because of the number of officials who just don’t come back,” Bertagna said of one official impacting many sports. “This was first brought to my attention in the US Hockey Congress a few years ago. I was not aware of the normal ebb and flow. First of all, a lot of officials are very young and this dynamic of misbehaving people, whether it’s the parents yelling at the window or the coaches yelling, a lot of them are just saying, “We do not need these abuses. ”

“We have a bit of a crisis in the country, probably less in the high end, in colleges and for us, but we are all interconnected in one way or another and I have heard them anecdotally. last youth weekends. hockey programs with a referee on the ice or no referee showing up.

Bertagna hopes the leagues can help create a better environment for officials.

“We try to tell our coaches that just like you develop young players, we try to develop officials,” he said.

With all the Commissioners aiming for new goals for this season, the similarities are odd. All will look to use the previous season as an opportunity to build on the new solutions learned, while returning to the ice to offer the best junior hockey deals in the world.

All leagues share a common bond throughout player advancement, an important scale effect for this advancement, and the Stewards and Leagues will look forward to another brilliant season as an opportunity to celebrate what is most. important: the players.

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