Tier 3 Junior Hockey and Advancing through the Junior Ranks
March 12, 2016
Over 100 Tier 3 Players Advanced to the NAHL in the 2015-16 Season
The 2015-16 Tier 3 Junior Hockey season is nearing an end with the USPHL and RMJHL already crowing winners, the EHL, MJHL, NA3EHL and NPHL in the midst of playoffs and the NA3HL finishing up the regular season this weekend.
With a dedication to development and advancement, many Tier 3 Junior Hockey players advance through the Junior Hockey ranks before committing to college. At the beginning of the season there were approximately 114 former Tier 3 players on Tier 1 (USHL) and Tier 2 (NAHL & WSHL) rosters. The NAHL alone rostered thirty Tier 3 alumni. To date, well over 100 additional current and former Tier 3 players received the opportunity to play in NAHL games during the 2015-16 season as well as countless others earning the chance to practice at a higher level.
While for many their stay was brief, others earned the right to finish out the season in the NAHL. With 22 teams, the NAHL on average, gave 6 Tier 3 players per team the opportunity to show what they could do. While its true the majority of players advancing from Tier 3 to the NAHL come from the NA3HL, the NAHL does not discriminate and alumni from all of the Tier 3 leagues can be found on current and former rosters.
The Brookings Blizzard are a good example of a Tier 2 team that gives many Tier 3 players a chance through advancement. Affiliated with the Alexandria Blizzard, the Brookings squad rostered 14 current and former Tier 3 players from 7 different teams at one time or another over the course of this season. Other Tier 2 teams with a high Tier 3 advancement rate include the Minnesota Magicians, Kenai River Brown Bears, Aston Rebels and the Lone Star Brahmas to name a few.
Although many former Tier 3 players commit to college through NAHL advancements, one example is Alex Berardinelli, a 5'10 175lb Forward who began his Junior Hockey career at the Tier 3 level with Pittsburgh (Jr Penguins and later the Vengeance). A Pennsylvania native, Berardinelli played multiple seasons of Tier 3 before advancing to the NAHL and playing for the Michigan Warriors during the 2014-15 season and most recently the Lone Star Brahmas through his 2015-16 campaign. Through development in both Tier 3 and Tier 2, Berardinelli committed to Colorado College, an NCAA D1 program.
The goal of hockey at the Tier 3 level is to develop and advance players to the college level. An achievement done through direct commitments or commitments through Tier 2 advancements.
Players interested in competing at the Tier 3 level for the 2016-17 season are encouraged to view the Tryouts Page to view upcoming tryouts. With 165 teams playing this season there are teams available for every player wishing to play Junior Hockey at the Tier 3 level.
*player data compiled from NAHL league website pages