BOSTON, MA -- Since the inception of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) in 2013, the past eight seasons have served as a gradual build-up into what the junior league is today.
While the EHL is far and away the leader in the Direct-To-College Advancement at the Division II and III levels, the number of players who've climbed the USA Hockey Ladder of Development has increased dramatically as well over the years.
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) held their Entry Draft on Wednesday, and combined with the results from the United States Hockey League (USHL) Draft from earlier this spring, the EHL has now helped over 80 players climb up the ranks of junior hockey in the United States.
Over 90% of these players have advanced their way all the way up to NCAA Division I hockey, and the four players that were taken in the NAHL Draft are hoping a similar future is in store for them.
Patriks Marcinkevics (New England Wolves) was the first EHL alum to have his named called, as he was selected with the 25th overall pick by the Chippewa Steel. Marcinkevics joined the Wolves for the stretch run this past year, and made his impact felt in a big way with 18 points in just 8 total games. The '01 native of Latvia was the 2nd Marcinkevics brother to play for the Wolves in the EHL (Dom was the first in 2018-19).
Next up, at #176 in the draft, Zack Simon (Walpole Express) was picked by the Anchorage Wolverines. Simon spent the entire 2021-22 campaign with the Express, and after posting 61 points in 43 total games, the '01 native of Orono, MN was a unanimous choose for last season's Forward of the Year award.
It was the Steel who came calling once again, as at pick #211 they took Scott McManus (Seahawks Hockey Club). Similar to Marcinkevics, McManus joined the Seahawks late in the 2021-22 season. The '02 native of Castro Valley, CA picked up a pair of assists in 12 games on the Cape last year.
Last, but not least, Hayden Riva (Valley Jr Warriors) was taken by the Springfield Jr. Blues with the 238th pick in the draft. The '02 native of Lakeville, CT was unable to play for the Berkshire School this past year, and thus spent some time developing in the EHL. The talented playmaker now has earned a chance to continue in his development at the tier II level.
One final player was drafted to an NAHL team this offseason, but that selection took place back in the beginning of June during the league's Supplemental Draft. Lucas Doran, an '01 defenseman from Dearborn, MI, helped lead the Vermont Lumberjacks to their first-ever appearance in the EHL Frozen Finals this past March. Just like Riva was on Wednesday, Doran had his name called by the Jr. Blues earlier this summer.
The EHL would like to congratulate this class of players on advancing to the next step in their respective hockey careers.
Patriks Marcinkevics (Left - New England Wolves), Zack Simon (Right - Walpole Express)
Hayden Riva (Left - Valley Junior Warriors), Scott McManus (Right - Seahawks Hockey Club)