JAMESTOWN – The Southern Tier Xpress Hockey Club changed leagues on Thursday, a move which will allow the team to pursue international talent more aggressively, according to Xpress General Manager Travis Sanders.
Sanders said the move will also create an affiliate relationship with the Syracuse Stars, who had a roster laden with Division 1 College talent this year.
The United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) made the announcement on its website. The Xpress is one of six teams added to its Premier Division for the 2018-19 season.
“This move allows us to promote our talent by participating in three showcases,” said Sanders. “Thursday’s move is driven by valuable player development opportunities and the added incentive of building a feeder system similar models used in other professional leagues.”
Xpress players were limited to one showcase per season in its former league, the North American Tier III Hockey League (NA3HL).
“We want to thank the NA3HL for the opportunity to compete against some very talented competition,” said Sanders. “We believe they (NA3HL) made us better, (and) we wish the league the very best.”
Southern Tier’s new division, the Premier Division, includes the Lansing Wolves, Metro Jets, Pittsburgh Vengeance, Toledo Cherokee and the Wooster Oilers.
The teams will be integrated into the USPHL by playing inter-conference games at USPHL showcases in Chicago and Massachusetts.
“These strategic additions will continue to develop and expand the USPHL and its goal of providing a national opportunity for hockey from our high performance youth division to our junior divisions allowing every player to achieve their personal goals,” said Richard Gallant, Commissioner of the USPHL.
The USPHL’s decision to add six teams on Thursday means its footprint now covers the entire Eastern Seaboard to the Mid-West United States.