The Atlantic Metropolitan Hockey League
The Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, or the ‘MJHL’ as it is also known as, is the longest operating Junior Hockey League in the United States and is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary season. Founded by former New York Rangers General Manager, Emile ‘The Cat’ Francis in an effort to foster the growth of amateur hockey in the greater metropolitan area, the MJHL has an impressive list of NHL alumni including Jim Dowd, Brian and Joey Mullen, Nick Fotiu, Mike Richter, Mark Eaton, Nick Foligno and Mike Komisarek. More recent alumni include Frank DiChiaha (Yale), Ryan Hitchcock (US NTDP, Yale), Matt Beattie (2012 Vancouver Draft Selection), Jeremy Bracco (US NTDP career assists leader), Chandler Yakimowicz (2014 St. Louis Blues Draft Selection) and Kevin Labanc (2014 San Jose Sharks Draft Selection).
The MJHL Is compromised of 16 teams, spread across the Eastern seaboard from Connecticut through Pennsylvania, which play a regular season that runs from September through March, culminating with the Foster Cup Championship Playoffs, named after MJHL Commissioner Richard ‘Dick’ Foster. The winner of the Foster Cup represents the MJHL in the USA Hockey Tier III National Championship. The MJHL also conducts several showcases throughout the course of the regular season where the league comes together to showcase its member teams and their players.
As a developmental league, the MJHL is where many players begin their junior careers. It is a developmental stage of the player’s life where adjustments to the playing style of a higher level of hockey are intertwined with the adjustments to a new phase of life. Over the years, many players choose the MJHL as the start to their junior careers.
The Atlantic Youth Hockey League is a Tier I travel league comprised of teams from the Atlantic, Southeast, New York and New England districts. The league has over 100 teams that come from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia. It is the league’s mission to develop these young players and move them on to the next phase of their playing careers. The divisions begin at the Squirt level and proceed all the way through the Midgets. The Squirt, PeeWee and Bantam levels all have a Minor and Major component and players typically spend two seasons at a level before moving to the next level. The Major teams are typically the older team, comprised mostly of players playing in their second year at the level. The Midget level is broken up into 16U American, 16U National and 18U.
Tier I Youth teams have a large workload when it comes to their playing commitment. There are more practices, games and tournaments and generally, more travelling done, than with organizations playing at the Tier II or Recreational levels.
At the end of the regular season, all eligible teams will compete for the AYHL Championship at their respective level.
Where applicable, as part of their AYHL regular season schedule, teams at both the minor and major levels, compete in the Atlantic District. The District Standings include games played against the other teams in the Atlantic District and then at the end of the season, the top teams compete for the District Championship. The District Champion of each competing level, will move on to represent the Atlantic District, and the AYHL, at the USA Hockey National Championship Tournament. Each year, the USA Hockey National Tournament changes locations throughout the United States and have been held in California, Michigan, New York and New Jersey.