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Express To Host Girls Junior Team in Newly Formed NEWJHL
Posted: December 8, 2013
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New England Women's Junior Hockey LeagueWALPOLE, Mass. – A group of Northeast-based junior hockey team owners/managers – Rob Barletta, Bob Crawford, Peggy Del Mauro, Bill and Joe Flanagan, Scott Fusco, Todd Stirling, and Debbie Vanderbeek – have joined forces to launch a new junior hockey league for girls, which faces off for the first time at the start of the 2014-2015 season. The 6 team league, based in New England and surrounding areas, is designed to offer increased opportunities for teenage girls to play competitive hockey with the intent of moving into the college ranks. The league will adhere to USA hockey junior rules and standards of excellence.

About the League

The NEWJHL league will develop female players via exceptional coaching, well-designed practices and competitive situations while providing opportunities for players to advance their hockey careers to the collegiate level. The NEWJHL league also will promote good sportsmanship and teamwork, and help instill responsibility in the participating players, who will be held to high standards on the ice and in the classroom. The league also will demand a high level of ethical and professional conduct by all coaches, managers and other league staff. League-wide standards of conduct will be strictly enforced.

“This league will provide the players with extensive exposure to the college hockey environment. The girls will prepare and train for the opportunity to play in front of the large audience of schools in this geographical area. It eliminates a large amount of travel that some leagues have. We as owners are committed to making this the best player development opportunity for this age group, said Flanagan.

“All of our owners, managers and coaches are committed to providing an exceptional learning experience for all players delivered in a supportive yet competitive environment,” Barletta said. “We also are dedicated to creating enhanced exposure for girl’s hockey in general, as well as economic opportunities for our member teams that will then trickle down to support our local communities.”

According to co-owner Stirling, the NEWJHL “offers players, parents, local communities and the league itself a host of benefits, including reduced expenses, minimal travel, localized control, rivalries, enhanced recruiting, and increased exposure for the sport,” he said.

Specifically, the NEWJHL league will:

  • Provide female, junior-level players with the opportunity to play competitive, league-based hockey in New England while supporting their academic achievement
  • Promote player development and provide players with exposure to college scouts through showcases and other special events
  • Offer expansive training opportunities and access to exceptional coaching
  • Provide players with opportunities to travel at no extra cost to competitions within a 200-mile radius of their home facility
  • Enhance players’ academic and sports-related careers
  • Cultivate and nurture affiliations with collegiate hockey coaches and programs to help NEWJHL players move ahead in their development
  • Maintain amateur status for all players within USA Hockey and all college hockey organizations
  • Offer numerous game-day opportunities for officials, including refs
  • Strongly support USA Hockey through membership stability in the geographic areas in which NEWJHL teams are based, and grow the sport in various communities via exposure to hundreds of motivated parents and players

League Management/Team Owners

The NEWJHL is managed by a group of experienced hockey professionals who each also own an individual team.

Rob Barletta owns and operates several highly successful hockey related ventures, among them the thriving RB Hockey School, the Jr. A and B-level Walpole Express teams, and the Cranston Reds, the only junior boy’s hockey team in Rhode Island. He also operates Northeast Elite Hockey, a large developmental league for both female and male players, from mites to high school. In addition, since 2006 Barletta has operated eight girls’ youth teams, including U16-U19). In addition, Barletta owns the Rodman (formerly Iorio) Arena in Walpole, Mass., a conveniently located twin-rink facility originally built as a training facility for the United States Women's Olympic Hockey team. (www.robbarletta.com)

Bob Crawford owns the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack as well as three rinks in the Greater Hartford, Conn. area. The International Skating Center of Connecticut is the home rink for this program. Crawford currently serves USA Hockey as a New England District Director (8YRS), and as the Tier 3 Jr. Caucus chair as a member of Junior Council. (www.hartfordjrwolfpack.com)

Peggy Del Mauro and Debbie Vanderbeek are the Owners and Managing Partners of the New Jersey Rockets.  Under their leadership since 1999, the New Jersey Rockets Organization has grown from six Tier 1 teams to an expansive Youth and Junior hockey program which includes a developmental program, eight Tier 1 teams, nine Tier 2 teams, eight Girls teams, two Junior Teams and a Coaching Staff second to none.  The program is based in Central New Jersey and the teams skate out of the prestigious Amerihealth Pavillion (practice facility for the New Jersey Devils) in Newark, NJ, Protechockey Ponds in Somerset NJ, and Bridgewater Sports Arena in Bridgewater, NJ. (www.njrockets.com)

Bill and Joe Flanagan operate an expansive youth hockey organization that includes many well-attended summer camps. Bill is the head coach, GM and owner of the successful Northern Cyclones junior boy’s hockey team (http://www.northerncyclones.com), as well as the Northern Cyclones girls’ U10 - U16 teams. In addition, the Flanagan’s own Cyclones Arena, a twin-sheet facility in Hudson, N.H. (www.northerncyclones.com/why-the-cyclones.php).

Scott Fusco is a two-time All American and Hobey Baker Award winner (Harvard University), as well as a two-time Olympian and a member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame. He has coached at all levels of boys and girls youth and high school hockey for the past 15 years. He founded the East Coast Wizards organization, which is comprised of 38 teams. The girls’ program has 20 teams ranging from 8U through 19U and is one of the most successful programs in the northeast. (www.eastcoastwizards.com)

Todd Stirling is head coach and GM of the Boston Junior Bandits, based at the twin-sheet Bridgewater Ice Arena in Bridgewater, Mass. His scouting experience includes stints for the New York Islanders (NHL), Cooney Management Company (NHL Player Agency), Omaha Lancers (USHL), and Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). Todd oversees 25 plus Bandits youth teams, girls teams ranging from U10 through U19, and manages 3 junior teams. (www.bostonbandits.com).


The NEWJHL will host league wide tryouts in April at The Edge Sports Center in Bedford, MA. Tryouts will be held Saturday, April 12th, 2014 at 4:30pm and 6:10pm as well as Sunday, April 13th, 2014 at 12:00pm and 1:30pm.

Express Tryouts will be held April 25th & 26th at the Rodman Arena. Click Here for more info and registration.

For more information about the league and tryout registration, visit www.newjhl.com or contact info@newjhl.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you see this league interacting with / affecting HS hockey?
We have a long season that spans from August to mid March as opposed to late November to March. Our league will run for a longer period of time and also for players that aren’t able to pay for the high cost of prep school this is an alternate avenue for high quality hockey.

2. What age group do you see this encompassing?
The age group encompasses a range from 16-19 years old. This league will give players more experience with a fast speed of play and also work on developing key aspects of hockey sense and awareness. With the coupling of dynamic hockey training and intensive coaching we aim to sharpen skills and understanding of the game. This focus will help smooth the gap in the transition to the next level of play and puts a strong incentive on playing a PG year.

4. What would a typical week's schedule look like?
For preseason we will have practice daily with two lift days at Athletic Republic with days off on Saturday or Sunday. As we move into the beginning half of the season we will have Saturday Sunday games, a recovery day on Monday, with two lifts and four practices. Finally as we move to the tail end of the season and tournament time we will cut it down to one lift a week for maintenance.

5. What time period would the season span, and how many practices and games would the schedule include?
Our season starts with a preseason training camp for the last week of August, then we begin in September and finish playoffs in mid March.

6. What would the cost structure look like?
Our cost structure is based entirely off of our men’s cost structure. Our full season will cost $6,500.

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