2013 – 2014 will mark the 15th consecutive season for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League. The league consists of 67 teams that compete throughout the Western Pennsylvania region. Teams compete with varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. This upcoming season, beginning this fall, promises to be both exciting and competitive.
“Since 1999 when the PIHL was formed, we have seen our numbers grow steadily over the past 15 years. This year the PIHL will serve teams that range from State College, Erie, West Virginia, Johnstown and of Southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Commissioner of the PIHL, Ed Sam.
High School hockey in the area started in the 1970’s that consisted of three different leagues (WPIHL, LKSHL and SHIHL) until they merged to become the PIHL. As amateur hockey continues to grow in numbers grow year by year, so has the PIHL. Every year numbers grow and competition grows stronger. The outlook on high school hockey looks to rival the likes of Boston and Minnesota with better players and more importantly better teams.
The PIHL has had its share of notable alumni over the years which includes:
• Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning – Upper St. Clair
• RJ Umberger of the Columbus Blue Jackets – Plum
• Nate Guenin of the Colorado Avalance – Hopewell
• Dylan Reese of the Amur Khabarovsk – Upper St. Clair
• Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks – Pine Richland
“We are looking to an exciting season that will feature over 1,500 games at Varsity, Junior Varsity, Freshman and even Middle School. The competition this year will see a battle for the Penguins Cup and other post-season tournaments through the year,” Sam added.
The Penguins Cup is a post-season tournament which helps determine the champions at the AAA, AA, A classifications. The Penguins Cup Finals will once again be held at the CONSOL Energy Center this upcoming season.
The winners of the Penguins Cup compete against the winners of the cross state Flyers Cup champions in which PIHL teams performed very well over the years. Last seasons Penguins Cup winners include North Allegheny (AAA), Greater Latrobe (AA) and Quaker Valley (A) who all look to repeat this year.
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