As the North American Hockey League (NAHL) gets into the thick of its 2019-20 regular season, the advancement of players from its Ladder of Development is again yielding very good numbers.
To begin the 2019-20 regular season, a total of 120+ players of the 600 players in the NAHL have previously played in either the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) or the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL).
The NAPHL currently has 80+ alumni playing in the NAHL, while the NA3HL checks in with 40+ alumni playing in the NAHL to begin the 2019-20 regular season.
“A big part of our success lies within the NAHL family of leagues, which includes the NAPHL and NA3HL. Each year we experience more in season movement and more advancement up the ladder of development than the year before and 2019-20 is no different,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “We continue our mission of providing more places for players to play than any hockey property of our kind.”
The NAPHL has enjoyed a record-breaking amount of advancement, which is again is highlighted this season by a large amount of advancement of players to the NAHL, which includes 80+ former players currently playing in the NAHL. No other USA Hockey Midget Tier I league has had more players play in the NAHL over the course of the last three seasons than the NAPHL.
The Tigers are firmly in the middle of the development and providing players opportunities at the next level. The 2018-19 season established four tendered players in the NAHL and no less than eight athletes earn practices in the league. This years group will be looking to build upon that success within the NAPHL/NAHL ladder of development.
Last season, over 110+ NAPHL alumni played in the NAHL and over 225 NAPHL alumni played in the NCAA. During the past three years, 160+ NAPHL players have signed an NAHL tender or been drafted into the NAHL, which is a testament to the success of the NAPHL to NAHL Ladder of Development model.
“What we are seeing with the number of NAPHL players that are currently playing in the NAHL are the direct benefits of the ladder of development exposure model that is exclusive to the NAPHL. NAHL teams and scouts have watched and evaluated these players in multiple occasions during our events,” said NAPHL Director Tony Zasowski. “In addition, the NAPHL players have benefitted from the multiple evaluations of NAHL Central Scouting. No other youth league in USA Hockey has a model like it and these results are one of the byproducts of the system.”
While the NA3HL’s primary goal is to move players onto college hockey, no other league of its kind has had more movement and advanced more players onto play in the NAHL than the NA3HL, which includes 40+ alumni currently on NAHL rosters.
Thanks to additional and enhanced initiatives that were put in place last season in cooperation with the NAHL, more players from the NA3HL play, practice, and earn NCAA Division I scholarships with the NAHL than any other league.
As part of the enhanced initiatives, all 26 NAHL teams are working in cooperation with NA3HL teams for increased access to players, including allowing NA3HL players to practice with NAHL teams during the 2019-20 season. The program creates additional dialogue between NAHL and NA3HL teams to find prospects and provide them an in-season opportunity for NAHL experience and evaluation. It offers one-of-a-kind opportunities not found anywhere else in USA Hockey-sanctioned junior hockey.
“These enhanced initiatives and additional steps we have taken this season has increased the numbers and have provided an additional development path and enhanced experience for those players in the NA3HL. We all share in the common mission of creating an enhanced level of play and competition that is focused on a player’s development and advancement. We also share common goal for players to advance to college hockey while competing and developing in within USA Hockey Ladder of Development,” said Frankenfeld.