ADHSHL enters ninth season in ’19-20 with booming talent, confidence
The Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) heads into its ninth season bigger and stronger than ever.
What started with just a few teams in 2011 has grown to a 51-team varsity and junior varsity colossus. And with Santa Margarita (pictured) having won three of the past five USA Hockey National Championships in the high school pure division, and other programs such as JSerra having won multiple CAHA titles, its strength isn’t in question.
Those are the most visible pieces of evidence of the league’s rising level of play.
“Not only is the high school hockey environment growing, but our level of play is growing,” ADHSHL commissioner Matthew Blanchart said. “Our teams that go to tournaments around the country all do very well. Teams no longer take us lightly.”
“We wouldn’t have the luxury of growth without the new facility,” Blanchart said. “We didn’t add any teams last year because we would have been short on ice. With four new sheets of ice, that helps us grow, gets us back on the path we wanted. It’s where everyone wants to play.
“The model for our high school league is for most games to be played at one facility. That used to be Anaheim ICE, now it’s the Great Park. It’s great for scheduling. People know where the games will be and can plan for it.”
Another priority is creating more opportunities for ADHSHL players to be seen, Blanchart said. To that end, the league also will hold a showcase in Las Vegas for the third season in a row, from Dec. 13-15, and it’s introducing a second showcase in Irvine in late January.
“The first one gives the Las Vegas teams in our league a chance to have a few home games, and it fills up as soon as we announce it,” Blanchart said. “It’s well scouted.”
The league also has hired Saddleback coach Mike Perkins to serve as its director of player advancement.
— Chris Bayee
(Sept. 23, 2019)