While the Flyers and their minor league affiliates tend to capture the eye of the Philadelphia hockey audience, the central PA high school hockey scene deserves the attention of the local puck fanbase. With young talent and local pride on display night-in, night-out, the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League will light up the local hockey scene this winter.
The league is highlighted by last year’s top seeded Hershey High School, who returns prolific senior forward Sammy Steele to the squad after his 44-goal season in 2016. Cumberland Valley also made a deep playoff run last year as a two-seed, but fell short of a title after falling to Palmyra 4-3 in the final. The local high school may struggle without graduates Steve Capuano and Jared Lombardi.
Elsewhere, Palmyra will hope to repeat as kings of the hill, while Lower Dauphin look to take the next step this season, after taking the third and fourth seeds in last year’s playoff bracket. After Palmyra finished an admirable 12-5-2 in 2016, the squad looks to repeat it’s championship run with the help of Tyler Depuy and Sean Carter, who will need to carry the scoring load to push the Cougars over the top. Lower Dauphin finished with a middling 9-8-4 record, but the return of Carter Schofield and Riley Dohner will fuel the Falcons to an improved season. Towards the bottom of the division, Warwick may continue to struggle after going winless in 2016. Top scorer Lucas Styles has graduated, having been the only player in double-digit goals for the Warriors.
Predicted Standings 2017:
- Cumberland Valley
- Central Dauphin
- Lower Dauphin
- Cedar Crest
The high school game offers a sense of local rivalry and brotherly brawls not found in a professional game. These players study alongside each other during the day, and grow up playing on travel teams at the same local rinks. They learned their trade from the same instructors, and were inspired to fall in love with the game at the same local hockey shops like Pro Stock Hockey. Needless to say, familiar foes square off regularly throughout the winter season, and local fans should pay close attention.