Wenatchee U16 & U18 Teams Join ECEL for the 2019-2020 Season
March 29, 2019
Guilford, Conn. - The Wenatchee Tier 1 U16-Wilderness & U18-Wolves teams have been accepted into the East Coast Elite League (ECEL) for the upcoming season. The ECEL is a relatively new league that operates four league exposure showcase weekends per season, all in highly scouted areas of the Junior A and NCAA hockey market. Next season, the showcases will be held in Boston (x2), New Hampshire, and Connecticut. The ECEL is a highly competitive league made up of nationally competitive Tier 1 programs.
"We are excited about the growth of the league moving into the 2019 season. The Wenatchee organization has a professional approach and a track record of developing players. We are very excited to work with Ryan McKelvie and his staff." Added ECEL President Peter Alden
In addition to playing in the ECEL, the U16 & U18 teams will attend two USHL Showcase events in Omaha, NE, will partner with other BCHL teams to host a Western Canadian Midget Showcase in Wenatchee, attend 2-3 showcase events in British Columbia and Alberta, and continue to play an independent home and away schedule against many of the top teams in Western Canada. The new schedule will provide the Wenatchee Tier 1 U16 & U18 players with a stronger Tier 1 schedule and more exposure to Junior A and NCAA programs than ever before.
Wenatchee Wild General Manager and Head Coach, Bliss Littler, commented, “We are very excited about the new direction of our program. This will be the most competitive schedule that our development teams have ever had.”
Tier 1 Director and Head Coach, Ryan McKelvie, had this to say, “The U18-Wolves have made significant progress over the past few years and have established the program as a national competitor. We expect to have similar success with our U16-Wilderness program now that they are a full-time billet team. Our new model puts our players in 9-10 events that are highly scouted by NCAA college hockey and the top junior leagues throughout North America. The new model not only places our players in these high exposure events, but also gives our players competition against some of the top Tier 1 programs in the US and Canada.”
The U16-Wilderness and U18-Wolves join the ECEL league as full members and will be placed in the top division. Other teams in the top division of the ECEL include Hill Academy (Prep Toronto), Boston Advantage (T1EHL), New Jersey Titans (AYHL/NAHL), 95 Giants (ECEL/NAHL), NH Avalanche (EHL Affiliate), Elite Hockey Program (AYHL), and Mercer Chiefs (AYHL/NAHL), Ontario Hockey Academy (Prep Toronto) and more! The league has commitments from many high-level guest teams for the following season. Guest teams in the past have included the Colorado Rampage (T1EHL), Esmark Stars (NAPHL), NJ Devils (AYHL), and more. All ECEL events are located on the east coast in top scouting venues like Boston, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Over 50% of all NCAA D1 and D3 programs are located in this part of the country. The league had four NCAA D1 committed players last year.
The 2019-20 season will be the sixth season of operation for the U18-Wolves and the fourth season of operation for the U16-Wilderness, but it will be the first season that the U16-Wilderness operate as a full-time billet program. Last year, the U18-Wolves had new levels of success that included winning a regular season championship in the NAPHL Elite Division, a Washington State play-off championship for the second year in a row, and finishing one spot out of a national tournament birth with a second place finish at the Tier 1 Pacific District Championships. The team also had significant player advancement opportunities with 2 players dressing in BCHL games, 3 players signing NAHL tenders, 7 players listed as AP’s in BCHL or NAHL, and 9 players practicing multiple times with the Wenatchee Wild parent club.
2019-20 Schedule at a Glance:
Note: The Wenatchee Tier 1 teams are a development program with the goal of providing the best development and exposure opportunities for players to advance to the higher levels of the game. Game schedule is designed for approximately 50 games to keep a high practice to game ratio for player development, while making sure each game is meaningful against quality competition and in a high-exposure environment.
Founded in 2013, the East Coast Elite League is a four-weekend showcase series that will provide maximum exposure for its member organizations and their players, by playing in top venues, in ideal scouting locations. Spread across the U15, U16, and U18 divisions and represented by several of the top hockey organizations across the country, the ECEL is the premier showcase series in the United States, unmatched in its format and exposure opportunities. For more information on the ECEL, log on to http://www.ecelhockey.com or on Twitter @ECELHockey.