Elite League Playoffs Start Friday

It might be the best-kept secret in the State of Hockey.

This weekend, the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League hosts its playoffs at the New Hope Ice Arena. The league’s playoff is a battle royal of homegrown hockey talent, as 100 of the top high school players in Minnesota will participate in a three-day tournament.

“By and large, the best Minnesota high school players are playing in the Elite League,” board member Bob Fallen said.

Six Minnesota-based teams (established by geography: Great Plains, Team North, Team Northeast, Team Northwest, Team Southeast, Team Southwest), the Young Americans (Chicago) and Team Wisconsin will compete in the single-elimination Bauer National Invitational Tournament. The action kicks off with Team Southwest playing Team Wisconsin at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 on the North sheet of the New Hope Ice Arena. For the full bracket schedule, click here.

Team Northwest and Team Southwest come into the tourney as the top ranked teams, going 14-4-3 during league play. The league’s leading scorer during the regular season was Benilde-St. Margaret’s senior TJ Moore with 33 points (19-14=33) in 20 games.

More than 200 current NCAA Division I college hockey players are Elite League alumni including University of Minnesota luminaries Kyle Rau and Nick Bjugstad. Several recent Minnesota Wild draft picks have skated in the league: John Draeger (Third Round, 2012), Louie Nanne (Seventh Round, 2012), Mario Lucia (Second Round, 2011), Nick Seeler (Fifth Round, 2011) and Erik Haula (Seventh Round, 2009).

For more information on the Elite League, view its website, here.

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