Hey y’all … Things have been and still will be very busy for me at work here in Houston, but I do intend to maintain the information on NJHockey.org this year (I make no promises for the blog) and have started by posting schedules I have seen and the alignment I have detected at the moment on the division-by-division schedule & results document.
Obviously, almost the entire state was affected by realignment. The Gordon will split into National and American conferences. I have not heard how the playoff structure will work, but certainly the American appears to be the ‘A’ league and the National ‘B.’ I don’t know if playoff qualification will reflect that.
Elsewhere, almost all of the teams from Passaic, Hudson, and Bergen counties joined together in the Tri-County Hockey League, split into Passaic and Hudson-Bergen divisions. They made the unfortunate decision to mandate crossover games, which means a whopping NINETEEN league games for those teams, including such mismatches as Fair Lawn and St. Joseph Montvale against Hudson Catholic TWICE. Ouch. I believe there will be two cup tournaments here, not one.
Some of the remaining northern teams (Glen Rock, Paramus Catholic, Tenafly) pulled out of the NJIHL and joined the remnants of the NBIAL in what I’m tentatively calling NBIAL A and NBIAL B – no confirmation on that yet from coaches or administrators. I’ll admit I haven’t had time to reach out to very many yet. Somehow Hackettstown seems to be without a home, so I’m unaware of the situation there. Good to see River Dell back in league play. No idea what the NBIAL will do for a postseason tournament.
The NJIHL is left with some horribly mismatched divisions (Montclair-West Orange, St. Joseph Metuchen-Edison, anybody?) that are a reasonable fit geographically. I guess. And we’ll have two St. Josephs in the same division again! Always exciting.
The Skyland Conference, which I think has ceased to exist in other sports, pulled its teams (except Bernards) into a hockey league, finally pulling Pingry out of the MCSSIHL after more than 20 years. No longer will the Big Blue dream of two county championships in one season. That league ought to be very competitive and have plenty of room for non-conference scheduling.
There were minor adjustments in Morris County (new program Morris Catholic replaces Pingry, four-division set-up) and the CVC (WWPN to the Colonial, Princeton and Robbinsville to the Valley, Hightstown to the Patriot). Union County remained the same.
The Shore appears to have remained the same, which is odd since Howell obviously deserves to move up and there could be as many as three new programs (Colts Neck [now confirmed as staying JV], Jackson Liberty, Ocean Township), although I have not been able to confirm any of those.
Finally, on the independent front, I have no idea of the status (varsity and/or league) for Colonia, East Side, Hackettstown, JFK Memorial [possibly staying JV], Monroe, and Woodbridge [confirmed as varsity, independent]. Maybe they can form their own independent league.
As always, you can keep me posted at jty [at] njhockey.org.