The USPHL has seen 14 of its alumni play in the National Hockey League to date, not several more organization alumni from prior to the 2013 inaugural season of the league.
Additionally, there have been 38 NHL Entry Draft selections of USPHL regulars, including six USPHL alumni (four from the NCDC) selected in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
USPHL alumni skating regular shifts in the NHL include Buffalo star forward Tage Thompson (P.A.L. Jr. Islanders), Pittsburgh’s John Marino and Seattle’s Ryan Donato (both former South Shore Kings), as well as a fantastic group of USPHL 16U and 18U alumni such as Philadelphia’s Joel Farabee, Columbus’ Andrew Peeke and the New York Rangers’ Zac Jones.
In 2020-21, Drew O’Connor became the first player out of the Tier II Tuition-Free National Collegiate Development Conference (which began play in 2017) to reach the NHL when he joined Marino in the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup. He has gone on to skate in 34 combined regular season and playoff games.
The NCDC made headlines after the 2021 NHL Entry Draft by seeing three players selected directly out of the league, which led all North American Tier II Leagues in that draft.
The NHL hasn’t been the only beneficiary of USPHL talent – there have been more than 150 USPHL alumni in the AHL and ECHL combined. Additionally, 37 more USPHL alumni have skated in the top European pro leagues including the Russia-based KHL, the Swedish Hockey League, Finland’s Liiga, the Czech Republic’s Extraliga, the German DEL and Switzerland’s National League.
Prior to the USPHL’s first season in 2013, current USPHL Member Organizations were already known for advancing top players into the NHL.
This list includes Jack Eichel, currently of the Vegas Golden Knights and formerly of the Boston Junior Bruins. At the age of 15, Eichel captained the Junior Bruins’ former Empire Junior Hockey League team, which evolved over the years into today’s USPHL Elite Division. A year later, as a member of the U.S. Under-17 National Team, Eichel was back on USPHL ice in an exhibition game against the Jersey Hitmen, currently the two-time defending Dineen Cup Champions of the NCDC.
Three players who skated for USPHL Member Organizations in the past have lifted the Stanley Cup in recent years – former New Hampshire Jr. Monarch Brian Dumoulin with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and again in 2017; fellow former Jr. Monarch Trevor vanRiemsdyk with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015; and former Islanders Hockey Club player Zach Sanford with the St. Louis Blues in 2019.
Additional notable alumni of USPHL organizations include Boston Bruins Connor Clifton (Jersey Hitmen), Charlie Coyle (South Shore Kings) and Charlie McAvoy (Rockets Hockey Club); Roope Hintz of the Dallas Stars (Tampa Bay Juniors); the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes’ Brett Pesce (Jersey Hitmen); and Jimmy Vesey of the New Jersey Devils (South Shore Kings), among others who have hit the ice in the world’s best hockey league.