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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Lockport Express, along with the nine other teams of the Northern States Hockey League, have joined the North American Hockey League.

The Northern States Hockey League will continue play as the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League for the remainder of  the 2014-15 season. The 10-team league will compete at the Tier III junior level.

Express Coach Frank Vecchio said, "The impact of this merger will be immediate as it takes our program and league to a whole new level of credibility."

For one, it seeks to put them in league with USA hockey. The NSHL has been operating independently of USA Hockey, and the NA3EHL will continue to operate independently for the 2014-15 season. They will seek certification by USA Hockey for 2015-16.

"The NAHL model provides our players and program even more exposure, education, showcase events that draw a very large number of scouts as well as a professional, organized Junior hockey model that has a proven track record of success," Vecchio said. "This will most certainly help our recruiting process going forward and we are very happy to be a part of the NAHL family."

The NA3EHL features 10 members, which include the Lockport Express; the Cape Cod Islanders, located in Dennis, MA; East Coast Minutemen in Salem, NH; Jersey Shore Wildcats in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ; the Maine Wild in Biddeford, ME; the New England Stars in Hudson, NH; the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit in Laconia, NH; Rochester's Roc City Royals; the Syracuse Stampede; and the Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania) Miners. During the past two seasons, over three dozen players from the league have committed to NCAA schools.

NA3EHL teams will compete in a 40-game regular season schedule and will take part in two Showcases throughout the 2014-15 season. There will be playoffs to determine a Champion in March of 2015.

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