Wow what a season for the Florida Eels Junior Program. Both the Premier and Elite teams had advanced to the USPHL Nationals. That was an incredible accomplishment. At the Nationals both teams won one tied one and lost one. The experience of playing against some of the best players in the USA Canada and Europe and the exposure garnered there was phenomenal and will speak volumes for their future.
During the regular season, our Premier team finished in 2ndplace in the Florida Division with 28 wins 3 OTL for 59 points. Ranked 13thoverall in the entire USPHL Premier out of 52 teams. They were 2ndin GF 208 in the entire league and an extremely stingy 121 GA. They were ranked 34thoverall in national rankings.
Most impressively at the Nationals the Eels defeated the National Champions, the Hampton Road Whalers in the round robin 3-1. In fact, the Eels were the only team to defeat Hampton in the Nationals. It is a shame the Eels did not get a chance to play Hampton in the Championship game. No doubt the round robin game was one of the best at the Nationals. The arena was packed with college scouts and fans.
The Premier team had some pretty impressive arsenal and firepower. They had a number of the top scorers in the league. Numerous players selected as Players of the Week, Monthly All Stars and a number of players nominated as league All Stars to be announced this month. Moreover, 5 defensemen were recipients of the Don Awrey Defensemen of the Month. In net, our goalies closed the door shut with some spectacular play. Nonetheless, the most important statistic and accolade for the Eels is the advancement of our players to college. On the Premier team we expect to advance between 8-9 players this season alone. This will add to the 233 players advanced to date.
For the Elite team the season was nothing short of phenomenal. In 44 games the Elite team went 28 12 and 4 for an impressive 60 points. That was 2ndoverall in the Florida Division. 9thover all in the USPHL Elite Division and for the first time in quite a while tied with the Charlotte Rush. They were 4thin overall scoring with 210 GF and a stingy 123 GA one of the lowest in the entire league. They were ranked 9thoverall in the league and 84thin National rankings.
Most impressively at the Nationals round robin games the Eels defeated the New Jersey Hitmen 7-1 who boasted a 70-point season. They were the number one team in the MidAtlantic Division and ranked number 2 in the league. Additionally, the Eels tied the Richmond Generals 4-4 in the round robin who were ranked number 3 in the league and Richmond ultimately won the Nationals. The Eels Elite team like the Premier team went 1-1-1 Nobody expected the Elite team to do this well this season let alone do this well at Nationals except: Us the Eels.
Like the Premier team, the Elite team had some pretty impressive arsenal and firepower. They too had a number of the top scorers in the league. They too had numerous players selected as Players of the Week, Monthly All Stars and a number of players nominated as league All Stars to be announced this month. Moreover, 4 defensemen were recipients of the Don Awrey Defensemen of the Month. And the Elite netminders were also top stars. Like the Premier team the most important statistic is the advancement of our players to college. On the Elite team we expect to advance 3+ players to college while also advancing a number of our guys to the Premier team next season.
The Hallmark of the Eels: Player Development and Player Advancement Nobody does it better than the Eels. 600+ hours of training. 233 players to date advanced to college and over 12 players this year expected to move to college. Moreover, this year our players are averaging over $28,000 per year for 4 years in scholarships and grants. Now that is an A grade. That is why players came to the Eels from across the USA Canada and Europe.
We want to congratulate all of our players who worked so hard this entire season. The selfless play the unqualified dedication and determination exerted every day. It wasn’t easy. If it was everyone could do it. We are so proud of the players on both teams. You have so much to be proud of. What a great bunch of guys. High character. It is our honor and privilege to have had you in our program. We thank the parents who trusted us in having your sons play for us and live here in Florida.