Cincinnati Junior Cyclones Awarded Spot in USPHL Premier Division
Cincinnati, OH - The Cincinnati Cyclones, in conjunction with the United States Premier Hockey League, announced today that Junior A Hockey is returning to Southwest Ohio in 2021. The Cincinnati Junior Cyclones will play in the USPHL Premier Division starting in October with the majority of home games being played at Heritage Bank Center. The USPHL team adds to the mission of the Cincinnati Cyclones Foundation of growing youth hockey in the Cincinnati area. The Junior Hockey team fills a void in the Cincinnati youth hockey landscape that has been vacant since 2010 and will allow players ages 16-20 to continue their hockey career in hopes of advancing to an NCAA program. Currently, local players are having to travel and live in outer markets to accomplish this.
"The addition of the Junior Cyclones playing in the USPHL is exactly in line with the mission of the Cincinnati Cyclones Foundation," said Vice President & General Manager of the ECHL team, Kristin Ropp. "We are an organization committed to growing the game of hockey here in the Cincinnati area. It will take time, but this is another step toward making Cincinnati a true hockey town."
In 2021 the USPHL will be the nation's largest amateur ice hockey league and the only league to span the continental United States and parts of Canada. The league will field approximately 550 teams, representing over 100 organizations comprised of 11,000 players spanning the ages of 6-20. The Premier Division currently consists of 62 teams including teams in Columbus, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Michigan, Chicago, and Minnesota.
"The application for membership by the Junior Cyclones was one of the strongest we have seen," said USPHL Commissioner Bob Turow. "Combining the strengths of the ECHL Cyclones with Jim Mitchell's success at all levels of hockey will provide opportunities for players in a growing hockey market. The Junior Cyclones will be a welcomed partner in the USPHL."
The Junior A team will be led by Head Coach and General Manager, Jim Mitchell. Mitchell has been active in the local youth hockey scene and was an accomplished NCAA player for Kent State and Ferris State in the mid-90s. Joining him is Tom Latvala who assumes the role of Director of Scouting. Latvala is currently the head coach of the U16 Columbus Thunderbirds and has over 23 years coaching experience. The organization is currently working to fill the job of assistant coach and other roles in the organization.
"The USPHL is the perfect opportunity for players to get a top-notch Junior Hockey experience," said ECHL Cyclones Head Coach and Junior Cyclones Director of Hockey Operations Matt Thomas. "With Jim's experience as a top evaluator and coach, the keys to success are in place. Our combined experience and connection to the NCAA will instantly create the development path necessary for players. We look forward to creating a professional and winning atmosphere while establishing a leading program for college advancement in the USPHL."
"The opportunity to partner with the Cincinnati Cyclones and create a high-level Junior A experience for players in our area and beyond was instrumental in the creation of this team," said Junior Cyclones Head Coach Jim Mitchell. "We look to provide players the necessary tools and development in a professional hockey facility with an experienced staff that will develop them into good hockey players and impressive young men."
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