The East Coast Elite League returns to the new jewel of New England hockey facilities, Lovell Arena, for the 2023 Holiday Classic weekend. All league members will be facing off Nov. 3-5 at the Rockland, Mass., location in both the 18U and 16U levels during the second showcase weekend of the season.
Entering the mid-season event, Ontario Hockey Academy sits in first place in both divisions. The 18U Mavericks will be tested twice on Saturday, however, as the Northern Cyclones and Tomorrow’s Ice, both currently tied for second, square off against OHA. Meanwhile, the New York Saints will be making their ECEL season debut in the 18U division after a scheduling issue cause them to miss the early-October Fall Classic.
At 16U, a similar scenario will play out between division-leading Ontario Hockey Academy and the deadlocked second-place Northern Cyclones and Tomorrow’s Ice clubs. OHA will clash with both opponents on Saturday with the Cyclones looking to top the Mavericks for the second time this season. NC handed OHA its lone loss thus far, 4-3, in overtime, while its only defeat came at the hands of Tomorrow’s Ice, 1-0, in the Fall Classic opener.
While the 16U division is shaping up as a three-team race, defending ECEL champion Atlanta Fire looks to remain in contention for a repeat title as it takes on both the Cyclones and Tomorrow’s Ice during the Holiday Classic. The Fire are already responsible for TI’s one loss, 4-2, to wrap up the Fall Classic weekend.
Following the four-game Holiday Classic, the East Coast Elite League will turn its attention to the Jan. 5-7 Winter Classic showcase taking place in multiple locations in southern New Hampshire. That weekend will also feature the annual ECEL All-Star games at an area college facility to be announced soon.