Breaking down changes to the 2022-23 PIHL alignment

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Monday, August 8, 2022 | 12:01 AM


WPIAL sports aren’t the only ones that went through realignment in the offseason.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League also made some changes to its alignment in advance of the 2022-23 season.

This summer, the Tribune-Review will break down changes for each of the WPIAL sports and the PIHL.

Here’s a look at the upcoming PIHL season:

2021-22 PIHL champions

Class 3A: Peters Township

Class 2A: Thomas Jefferson

Class A: Norwin

Division II: Neshannock

Notable changes

A few teams moved classifications and some familiar others have returned for the upcoming PIHL season.

• Class 3A will stay the same as last season as all 11 teams will again compete in one section — Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Cathedral Prep, Central Catholic, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Peters Township, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and Upper St. Clair.

• Class 2A will move from two sections totaling 14 teams to one section of 11 teams.

The class lost four teams that dropped down and gained one.

• Class A saw some drastic changes. Last season, it was broken up into five sections among 18 teams, including the two-team Wheeling Division.

Now, Class A will feature 23 teams across two sections, Gold and Blue.

Montour and West Allegheny dropped down from 2A and Avonworth moved up from Division II. They will compete in the Gold Division with Beaver, Blackhawk, Chartiers Valley, McDowell, Moon, North Catholic, North Hills, Quaker Valley and Wheeling Park.

The Blue Division will include Indian and Shaler, which both dropped down from 2A, as well as Fox Chapel, Freeport, Greensburg Salem, Hampton, Kiski Area, Norwin, Plum, Westmont Hilltop and Wheeling Central Catholic.

• Division II will be mostly the same with 12 teams, except Deer Lakes will take Avonworth’s spot in the Gold Division (formerly known as the North Division). The former South Division will now be the Gold Division.

New to PIHL

• The PIHL will have two new teams for the coming season. Bishop McCort will play in Class 2A, while Deer Lakes will be in the Division II Gold group.

Bishop McCort is a team in transition after coach John Bradley retired in April after 25 seasons, that included more than 400 wins, four Penguins Cup championships and two state titles. Bishop McCort was one of the PIHL’s top teams in the 1990s. The program joined the Laurel Mountain Hockey League and won that league’s title the past two years.

Art McQuillan, a longtime Westmont Hilltop coach, was named Bishop McCort’s new coach in June.

Deer Lakes, which has a co-op with players from Apollo-Ridge, is returning to varsity play after playing a junior varsity schedule the past couple seasons.

Key dates

Sept. 6-12: St. Margaret’s preseason tournament

Oct. 3: PIHL varsity start date

Jan. 29: PIHL all-star games, RMU Island Sports Center

March 6: Penguins Cup playoffs begin

March 13-16: Penguins Cup semifinals, RMU Island Sports Center

March 20-21: Penguins Cup finals, UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

March 25: Pennsylvania Cup finals, RMU Island Sports Center

2022-23 alignment

Class 3A (11 teams)

Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Cathedral Prep, Central Catholic, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Peters Township, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Upper St. Clair

Class 2A (11 teams)

Armstrong, Bishop McCort, Butler, Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Latrobe, Mars, Meadville, Penn-Trafford, South Fayette, Thomas Jefferson

Class A (23 teams)

Gold: Avonworth, Beaver, Blackhawk, Chartiers Valley, McDowell, Montour, Moon, North Catholic, North Hills, Quaker Valley, West Allegheny, Wheeling Park

Blue: Fox Chapel, Freeport, Greensburg Salem, Hampton, Indiana, Kiski Area, Norwin, Plum, Shaler, Westmont Hilltop, Wheeling Catholic

Division II (12 teams)

Gold: Bishop Canevin, Burrell, Central Valley, Deer Lakes, Neshannock, Wilmington

Blue: Carrick, Connellsville, Elizabeth Forward, Morgantown, Ringgold, Trinity

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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