Chicago, IL - The United States Hockey League announced that the 2018 USHL Fall Classic will return to Cranberry Township, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh, for the third consecutive season. All USHL games will be hosted at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex from Sept. 27-30. Schedules, tickets, and additional information will be announced at a later date.
In addition, the 2018 Fall Classic will feature all 17 USHL member clubs playing two (2) regular season games that will count toward the 2018-19 season total of 62 games. All 17 USHL teams will be participating in the 2018 Fall Classic: Central Illinois Flying Aces, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Chicago Steel, Des Moines Buccaneers, Dubuque Fighting Saints, Fargo Force, Green Bay Gamblers, Lincoln Stars, Madison Capitols, Muskegon Lumberjacks, Omaha Lancers, Sioux City Musketeers, Sioux Falls Stampede, Team USA, Tri-City Storm, Waterloo Black Hawks and Youngstown Phantoms.
"The USHL Fall Classic continues to provide the ideal scouting opportunity for the management and scouts of the 31 NHL teams to view the top USHL talent available for the NHL Draft," said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting. "This event provides a unique opportunity to view all 17 USHL teams in one location and for the first time, will mark the start of the USHL regular season with all games counting in the standings. The Fall Classic serves as an important evaluation benchmark for players eligible in the 2019 NHL Draft, and we are pleased that this successful event is part of a growing partnership between the USHL, NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins."
“Our partnership with the NHL is very important to our players and the USHL,” said Ryan Schiff, USHL Executive Chairman. “We will continue to build world-class events in which our players have the opportunity to be scouted and fans get to see great USHL hockey. We are excited to announce for the first time our Fall Classic will feature regular season games to make sure the very best of the USHL is represented.”
The 2018 USHL Fall Classic will also include invitational youth tournaments for the third consecutive year. In addition to the return of tournaments featuring 16 of the top 16U and 14U teams from the United States, the 2018 Fall Classic will also introduce youth tournaments at the 18U and 15U levels, increasing the number of youth teams at the event from 32 to 64. USHL teams will have scouts in attendance for all youth tournaments, and coaches from both college hockey and other junior hockey leagues across the globe will also be in attendance. Aligning the USHL Fall Classic and the youth tournaments will provide young players an up-close and personal view of the speed, skill, and tenacity required to play junior hockey at the Tier 1 level.
"The USHL Fall Classic has become the premier scouting event in the United States,” said Doug Christiansen, USHL Director of Player Development & Recruitment. “In 2017, over 350 scouts watched players from the USHL, 16U and 14U levels. We expect the addition of 15U and 18U divisions to make it an even better event. The Fall Classic is an excellent opportunity for our teams to scout the new crop of USHL talent. We are looking forward to selecting another outstanding field."
The USHL Fall Classic also marks a return to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex for a third consecutive season. The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, which opened in the fall of 2015, is the official practice facility of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and also home to the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite youth hockey program. The complex is 185,000 square feet and includes two sheets of ice with a combined 1,333 seats between the two rinks. Over 1,000 youth players participate in games, tournaments, camps, and programs at the facility each year.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins are excited to have the USHL Fall Classic return to Cranberry Township and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex for the third straight year,” said David Morehouse, president, and CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “The Fall Classic is truly a unique event – a great opportunity for all 17 USHL teams to come together in one setting and compete before so many NHL and collegiate scouts. We are strong supporters of amateur hockey development at all levels and continue to be impressed with the job the USHL does to create opportunities for these outstanding young players. Welcome home!”