HINGHAM, MA – The five divisions of the East Coast Elite League kicked off the 2019-20 campaign October 11-14 in the Boston area with the majority of clubs playing four games over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. Eleven new organizations featuring 18 teams made memorable ECEL debuts with just a handful emerging from the weekend with unblemished records.
Both the 18U and 16U levels are now divided into the Premier and Showcase divisions and immediately showed signs of intense races for the coveted ECEL Cup taking shape. Meanwhile, rivalries developed quickly at the 15U age group with the four teams going head-to-head against each other all weekend.
Newcomer Ontario Hockey Academy had to wait an extra day to unveil its well-balanced lineup before posting three straight victories to sit atop the 18U Premier standings, holding off Elite Hockey Program on Monday in an early-season battle of unbeatens. They’re followed closely by Hill Academy, whose only Fall Classic setback was a 1-0 upset to the potent Mercer Chiefs.
On the Showcase side, the undefeated Westlake Volts of Quebec let it known early they are going to be a 18U force to be reckoned in the league behind a 6-2 opening victory over Mount Academy, which went on to easily win the rest of its games, outscoring its opponents, 19-1.
At the 16U level, an early grudge match of Garden State powerhouses is taking shape in the Premier division as the newcomer New Jersey Devils and league staple New Jersey Titans are tied atop the standings with 11 points. Keeping pace with them is the Elite Hockey Program, which fell in exciting overtime battle to the Titans, 4-3, in the weekend’s final contest for its lone defeat.
Boston Advantage dominated the competition in the 16U Showcase division, outscoring its four opponents, 19-1, however, needed overtime to outlast the Atlanta Fire, another new league member that served notice it is most definitely a Cup contender. Also added to that mix will no doubt be the Northeast Generals, whose attempt at a perfect 4-0-0 debut was upended in overtime by the guest club Assabet Patriots, one of three such teams that joined in the season-opening festivities taking place in Hingham, Worcester, Dedham, and Fitchburg, MA.
A close three-team race is developing at the 15U level with the Titans, Mercer Chiefs and Seacoast Spartans stealing points from one another over the opening weekend, as New Jersey came out on top with a 3-1-0 record.
These new rivalries and many others will take to the ice again Thanksgiving weekend in Connecticut when the league resumes at the ECEL Holiday Classic on November 30-December 2.
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 and Instagram @ecel_tier1.