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53551NY-Penn Major Hockey League

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  • Ralph
    Feb 1, 2011
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      Does anyone (Bill?) have any good information about the NY-Penn Major Hockey League, a junior league that operated in the mid-70's?

      I have come across a number of game programs from this league, and have a pretty good handle on the teams, and even many of the players. What I can't figure out is how the league fit into things back in the day.

      What surprises me the most is that most of the players in this league don't seem to fit into my database -- which covers professional, major junior, NCAA, and a lot of Junior A. The players mostly just appear with the NYPHL and that's it.

      Compare that to the Midwest Junior Hockey League, which immediately started to feed junior players into the NCAA.

      I picked up a set of roster cards from the 1978-79 season, which was the last season the league played, from the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins. It seems the Jr. Penguins were a very bad team, they went 0-29-1 before disbanding in January 1979. The articles implied that the NHL had some involvement with this league -- the teams were "Jr. Sabres", "Jr. Barons", etc. -- but it seems so far down on the ladder that it seems implausible.

      I would have figured that this league would have fed players to ECAC schools, but apart from a couple of players, that wasn't the case.

      The league then seemed to evolve into the National Junior Hockey League, and that league seems to have played for at least two seasons. I'm not sure if it was a name change or a completely new league.

      The commissioner of the NYPHL was the former commissioner of the NAHL, and Larry Kish coached the Binghamton team in 1978-79.

      They called themselves "Major" hockey because they supposedly covered the players' expenses, except for housing, and the Pittsburgh Gazette ran an article in which someone, I think the owner of the team, claimed that the league was "not amateur" because of that. I assume that would have disqualified the players from NCAA eligibility though, so it seems a little weird.

      Overall, my impression is that this is a similar league to something like the "UJHL" (or whatever they call themselves these days), a league that really wants to be a feeder league for the NCAA or the pros, but in the end, is just a hockey league for kids 16-20 to play in.

      Any thoughts how this league fit in? Any more history on the National Junior Hockey League?

      Thanks,

      Ralph
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