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Ice Hockey state tournament

February 23, 2011

I admit, I am partial to the state tournament when it comes to ice hockey. I have been covering high school ice hockey for the last 22 years and have seen the evolution of the New Jersey High School state tournament.

Way back in the old days there was only one tournament, if you got into the tournament and got a bad seed you were pretty much locked into a game against a team such as Delbarton, Christian Brothers Academy or Seton Hall Prep.

It made a very tough road for a public school team that just squeaked into the tournament.

These days the tournament is split into three sections, Public A, Public B and the Non-Public or Private section and the Coast Star has teams represented in each group.

The three sections still make for a challenging tournament with the growth of ice hockey in the state.

All three Coast Star teams will have road games which have a different feel when it comes to ice hockey.

Each rink has its own characteristics and bounces off the boards that can take some time getting used too.

There is also an element of mystery when it comes to an opponent and records and stats are hard to gauge depending on the level of play the team has faced during the season.

St. Rose, who plays Bishop Eustace in the first round, should not get overconfident about the Crusaders less than stellar 6-11 record given the fact Bishop Eustace plays in one of the toughest divisions in the state.

In contrast Manasquan should not be intimidated by Ramsey, who boasts a 16-4-2 mark in what must be considered a middle-of-the pack division.

Wall will face Ridgewood, another north jersey school in the first round.

The one disadvantage of course is the Purple Roses, Warriors and Crimson Knights, who all draw solid crowd support will be at least an hour away for games, making it a tough trip for their fans.

Hopefully the Purple Roses, Warriors and Crimson Knights will make it worth the trip. Stay tuned for an update when the state tournament games have been scheduled.


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