Renamed RGHSHL now represents schools in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado
Known for years as the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League, the NMIIHL has grown to incorporate more than just schools in the Land of Enchantment.
Starting with the 2018-19 season, the league is now known as the Rio Grande High School Hockey League (RGHSHL).
“With more than half of our programs playing out of Texas or Colorado, it seemed right to adjust the league name,” said RGHSHL commissioner Kevin Brake. “Our league has been going through significant changes over the last several seasons. The inclusion of programs across West Texas and Southern Colorado has undoubtedly been a positive thing for the level of competition in the league.
“However, some programs have struggled to maintain enough players that are able to make the significant commitment that is required for a league that has such a large geographical footprint. I do think that several of the programs that have struggled over the last several years are bouncing back and will be back at the varsity level soon. Overall, I think we are heading in the right direction and we are happy to have the Odessa program back at the varsity level and we hope to get Santa Fe back next season. We have brought Alamosa into our rapidly developing JV league and they are excited to be hosting our JV midseason tournament this year at their new rink.”
Brake added that with the new season underway, he’s excited to see how the games shake out.
“I think we should see a lot parity in the league this season,” said Brake. “The early games have shown that we have a lot of evenly-matched teams and I think this should be a very competitive season. One major change that we made to the rules this year was that only the top six teams make it to the year-end tournament. In years past, we have brought all of the teams to the tournament and the regular season existed to develop the seeding.
“I think that the new format will increase the level of intensity in our regular-season games, especially as we close in on playoff time.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Jan. 8, 2019)