Realignment and possible state tourney change

May 21, 2007 on 2:36 pm | In breaking news | 1 Comment

It may be the hockey offseason, but there has been plenty of logistical movement in preparation for next season. The NJIHL was forced into drastic realignment due to the Shore Conference’s withdrawal, and Morris County is realigning as well. Perhaps most significantly, njhockey.org has learned that the public state tournament could be divided under a proposal recommended by the state tournament committee. The proposal still needs approval from at least two more committees. Get ready for some changes …

Proposed public tournament change
I have it on good authority that the state tournament committee has recommended splitting the public state tournament into large- and small-school divisions. Under the plan, which still needs approval at several more levels, the largest 50 percent of schools qualifying for the state tournament would compete in one bracket and the smallest 50 percent would compete in another. I do not know if the winners would meet for the overall public championship. I will continue to report on this as I hear more details.

Analysis: This should come as no surprise, given that hockey has been moving in this direction since eliminating the overall championship game three years ago. I am not sure where I stand on this. It goes away from an overall champion, so I dislike it in that regard, and I don’t know that enrollment is a reliable indicator of success. But it does level the proverbial playing field and should allow for some exciting postseason runs we might not have seen otherwise. It could also make the league/county cups that much more important, because those are when teams are grouped competitively.

The schools that stand to benefit the most, I think, are schools from regional leagues (MCSSIHL, NBIAL, CVC). Many of these have solid hockey programs and limited enrollment and could dominate the small-school field. The top seeds in Division II (to borrow a Texas term) this year would have been: 1. Northern Highlands; 2. Chatham; 3. Ramapo; 4. Glen Rock; 5. Mendham; 6. Hopewell Valley; 7. Kinnelon; 8. Princeton; 9. Pequannock; 10. Jefferson

Also note that the difference between Division I and Division II will generally be very small – last year the split would have been between Point Pleasant (1,027) and WWPN (1,018) – and adds a significant layer of intrigue and speculation to the final weeks of the season. Texas 5A football is split up this way, and there is always talk of a team being “pushed” to Division I because a small school snuck into the last playoff spot.
The inclusion of Point Pleasant in that previous answer brings up another point to consider – how to handle co-op schools. To arrive at PPB’s 1,027, I doubled the listed enrollment of both participating schools, and I assume that is how the NJSIAA will handle things.
I also wonder how at-large bids factor in and if enrollment will become a consideration when at-large bids are decided (i.e. if the committee includes three schools with small enrollment, borderline schools like Northern Highlands and Wall could get bumped to Division I). The possibilities for speculation are endless.
Anyway, it’s still just a recommendation and has some hurdles to climb.

Realignment

Morris County
Mennen Division – 6 teams, 16 games (2 vs. division, 1 vs. Halvorsen), 5 teams qualify for Mennen Cup playoffs
Halvorsen Division – 6 teams, 16 games (2 vs. division, 1 vs. Halvorsen), 5 teams qualify for Halvorsen Cup playoffs
Haas/Charette Division – 8 teams, 14 games (2 vs. division), 6 teams qualify for Haas Cup playoffs

MCSSIHL (confirmed)

Mennen Halvorsen Haas/Charette
Chatham Jefferson Madison
Morris Knolls Kinnelon Montville
Morristown-Beard Mendham Morris Hills
Mountain Lakes Morristown Mount Olive
Pingry Pequannock Park Regional
Randolph West Morris Central Parsippany
    Parsippany Hills
    Roxbury

NJIHL (reported)

Northern Red Northern White Northern Blue
Clifton Bayonne DePaul Catholic
Glen Rock Lakeland Dumont
Paramus Catholic Montclair Hackensack
Ridgewood Nutley Hackettstown
St. Joseph Montvale Paramus High Point
Tenafly Sparta Hudson Catholic
Vernon Wayne Valley Newton
  West Milford Passaic Valley
    River Dell
Central Red Central White Central Blue
Bridgewater-Raritan Cranford Bernards
Gloucester Catholic Dayton Edison
Hillsborough Hunterdon Central Governor Livingston
MKA Johnson Livingston
Montgomery Old Bridge Millburn
Ridge Paul VI St. Joseph Hammonton
St. Joseph Metuchen Summit Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Verona Watchung Hills South Brunswick
West Essex Westfield J.P. Stevens
    West Orange

Shore (unconfirmed): This is what I am hearing the Shore Conference will likely be aligned. I do not currently know how scheduling will work.

Shore A North Shore A South
Middletown North Brick Memorial
Middletown South Brick Township
Red Bank Catholic Monsignor Donovan
St. John Vianney Toms River East
Wall Toms River North
Shore B North Shore B South
Red Bank Regional Jackson Memorial
Rumson-Fair Haven Manasquan
St. Rose Point Pleasant
Toms River South Southern Regional

1 Comment »

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  1. what about the NJIHL south?

    JY: Chris, the NJIHL Southern Conference no longer exists. All its teams are either in the Gordon Conference, the Shore Conference or have been relocated to the Central Conference.

    Comment by chris — 1 June 2007 #

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