Starting this season, New England Prep School Girls Ice Hockey Association (NEPSGIHA) has made the change to eliminate the divisions and move to one league. This is the same change the boys made several years ago favoring to move away from D1 and D2 designations and create an Elite 8, Large School and Small School playoff format. The girls playoffs will move to the same format this year and they will have the top 8 teams in the league compete for the Chuck Vernon Tournament and then the remaining top 8 Large School teams will compete in the Patsy Odden Tournament and the remaining top 8 Small School teams will compete in the Dorothy Howard Tournament.
The change has been well received by most all the schools as the format has been largely successful on the boys side for several years. The new format expands the amount of teams that make the playoffs each year to 20 from 16 which gives the student athletes a better chance to make playoffs and gain more exposure. It also makes it easier on coaches and athletic directors. In speaking to several coaches over the phone this past week; the rule change seemed quite popular and one coach was quick to point out the positives to the student athletes in cutting down on long bus rides to find games to play against D1 programs.
The biggest complaint to the old system was scheduling and playoff calculations as D1 teams had little incentive to play D2 programs because it didn’t give them as many points as beating a D1 program. Therefore it was hard for D2 teams to get games, especially against better competition and it was harder for college scouts to evaluate D2 players without seeing them against D1 competition. So this new format all games are counted equally because all the teams are in the same division. The only component to Large and Small school is for playoff seeding at the end of the year.
Below is a breakdown of the 50 schools in NEPSGIHA Large and Small School eligible programs:
Large School Small School
|Noble & Greenough||248||KUA||138|
|Newton Country Day||214||Winchendon||105|
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images