The Pandemic Hockey League was founded in February of 2021 by Ian Moran after seeing many prep and high school programs lose their season as a result of COVID-19. Moran, who serves as Neutral Zone’s Director of NHL Scouting, is one of the most respected skill development coaches in the United States and wanted to create a 10-week league with 3 practices and 2 games per week with the top coaches in the area.

“My sole focus in starting this league was to provide an opportunity for these players to get the best coaching and the highest level of competition in the area.” Moran posted the idea on social media in early February and within a few weeks he had over 400 players sign up. He reached out to 14 coaches and scouts from the NHL, NCAA, USHL, AJHL, QMJHL and NAHL who voted on the 400+ players to narrow down the final list of 84 for four teams.

“This is a league for serious players who are committed to improvement,” said Moran. “We aren’t going to do flow drills and games during practice; our coaching staff will be pushing these players physically and mentally beyond their comfort zone, improving their individual skills and putting them in positions where they’ll have to think the game. The amount of interest we have recieved from the NHL, NCAA, Junior coaches and scouts shows the talent we have in this league and it’s our job during the week to best prepare these players for that opportunity.”

The first two weeks are training camp for the league. Players will be split into two groups (Group 1, Group 2) and they’ll practice at 4:00pm or 8:30pm. After the first week of Training Camp we’ll host two scrimmages. The scrimmage will be two 25-minute halves for the players to get acclimated to game situations and get prepared for the league. At the end of the second week of Training Camp, the players will participate in the NZ Combine. Each player will receive Combine Testing run by NHL Strength and Conditioning professional Mark Fitzgerald. This will be facilitated by Sports Testing Inc, the worldwide leader in sports testing technology, and the results will be made available for the players, coaches, scouts, agents and hockey professionals.

The regular season officially starts on 4/21 where players will practice with their team and play in regular season games. Each team will practice 3 times per week for 9 straight weeks and then 1 final practice prior to playoffs for a total of 28 practices (in addition to the 8 practices in Training Camp). Each team will also play a total of 19 games.

Each game will be three 20-minute periods with NCAA Refs going by NCAA rules.

Practices will focus on skill development and will be run by a team of professionals including NHL veteran Ian Moran, 20+ year NCAA D1 Head Coach Bob Deraney and ECHL GM/Head Coach David Cunniff. Coaches on the bench during games will rotate each week from NHL Scouts to NCAA Coaches to Junior Hockey Scouts and Coaches. “We want to give the players an opportunity to be coached by different hockey minds with different backgrounds and perspectives and also give the scouts and coaches an opportunity to meet the players and see them up close behind the bench,” said Neutral Zone President Steve Wilk.

Neutral Zone has also partnered with Hockey IQ, one of the sponsors of the league; to provide the players with analyzing their film on Sunday nights after their games. Hockey IQ is the leader in teaching the mental/intellectual aspects of the game using film and analytics to improve players performance and decision making.

The League Website will host all the game schedules, rosters, stats, box scores, standings and articles about the league and its players. Each game will be scouted by at least one Neutral Zone scout and evaluations and reports will be posted the following week.