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Pat Genova, who is president of New Jersey Interscholastic Ice Hockey League (left) and Steve Ruggiero, who directs operations at the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, were among officers of the NJIIHL on hand during a Friday, Sept. 29, fall organizational meeting with coaches and athletic directors from 46 schools in league who gathered to learn more about upcoming season. In second photo Jack Lally of the NJIIHL talks about the new 4-on-4 overtime period for this season and in third photo is Tony Maselli, chief operaing officer of the NJSIAA, who spoke about co-op programs and aspects of state tournament. In bottom photo new NJIIHL banner can be seen inside arena. (Sideline Chatter photos)

A 4-On-4 Overtime New Part
Of Upcoming NJIIHL Season

By Steve Tober

WEST ORANGE- As the New Jersey Interscholastic Ice Hockey League met for its fall organizational meeting on Friday at the Richard J. Codey Arena there was plenty to talk about as the 2023-2024 season nears, including the fact that there are now 46 teams in the granddaddy of all Garden State high school hockey leagues, including 15 girls’ teams.

However, one new aspect involving the game itself created a bit of a buzz in the room as the NJIIHL’s Jack Lally spoke about the new overtime criteria which should generate much excitement. It involves a single 5-minute OT period of 4-on-4 as each team loses one of its skaters in the extra session where the first goal wins the game.

Tony Maselli, chief operating officer for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, spoke about co-op teams, which are quite prevalent in ice hockey today, along with the important dates and state tournament schedule for the new season.

“There is a vetting process for co-op teams, and right now we have 24 of them,” said Maselli. “The biggest positive about it all is that more kids can play ice hockey and it keeps more schools involved.”

Among the successful co-op programs in the NJIIHL are West Essex/Caldwell and Governor Livingston/New Providence in the league’s top public-school conference, the McInnis, along with Nutley/Columbia/Bloomfield and Verona/Glen Ridge in the Kelly Conference.

Practice for New Jersey scholastic ice hockey teams commences Nov. 20th, the first scrimmage can be held on Nov. 28, and opening day for the 2023-2024 season is Dec. 7.

The NJSIAA state tournament will hold its seeding meeting Feb. 13 with the Play-In Round for the public- school tournament beginning Feb. 16 and the non-publics on Feb. 19.

The state finals for both publics and non-publics will be March 4 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Maselli also mentioned that the power point system for the state tourney will not factor in school group size in its formula.

NJIIHL President Pat Genova welcomed everyone to the meeting and announced the new athletic directors in the league: Ryan Murphy of Gloucester Catholic, Tony Negrin of Delbarton, Reggie Sainte-Rose of St. Joe’s of Montvale and Chris Drechsel of Millburn.

New coaches introduced were Brian Monteverdi of Seton Hall Prep, Matt Juneau of St. Joe’s (Mont.), Rich Fuchs of Pingry (girls), Kayla Meneghin of Chatham (girls), Danielle Deresky of Newark East Side (girls), Rich Hurley of Cranford (girls), Damien Arnone of Hoboken.

Coaching vacancies remain to be filled for the Bayonne boys and Summit girls.   

As far as the aforementioned, new overtime criteria is concerned, there will be a single 5-minute OT period following a two-minute break at the end of the third period to try and break the deadlock in a tie game with teams also switching ends of the ice. There also will be no timeouts allowed in the extra session.

It will be 4-on-4 for the five minutes unless there is a penalty (from the third period) which will carry over, and then it will be 4-on-3 for the remainder of the penalty. If there were two men in the penalty box at the end of regulation then it will be a 5-on-3 to start the OT period and there will never be less than three skaters on the ice at one time for either team.

The 2023-2024 NJIIHL executive committee includes league officers Genova, Lally, Steve Ruggiero, Gary Farishian and Tony Deltufo along with high school representatives Mia Gavan of Pope John (Gordon), Joanne Dzama of Morristown-Beard (Librera), Jack Baker (McMullen), Ann Clifton of GL (McInnis), Darren Torsone of Cranford (Annis), Dave Hutchinson (Cohen) and Ryan Miller (Kelly).

NOTES- In one of the interesting questions raised by coaches in the audience, longtime Montclair Kimberley Academy assistant coach Ken Smith asked Maselli if the NJSIAA would ever consider dividing up the non-public schools into two different tournaments, pointing to the fact that there are frequently one-sided scores that ensue between the larger non-publics and smaller programs, especially after the opening round. Maselli said that he appreciated the question being raised but that there were no plans at the moment for any further changes to how the non-public tourney runs…The NJIIHL has nice, new banners up on both sides of the north side scoreboard inside Codey Arena…Steve Ruggiero, who directs the day-to-day operations of Codey Arena and coached on the Verona staff for 22 years, is joining Brian Montecverdi’s staff at SHP this winter…It was great to see longtime NJIIHL officer Tony Deltufo, who helped with registering coaches who attended the meeting…The Newark East Side boys team is no longer a member of the NJIIHL; however, the Red Raiders girls team is in the Annis Diviison.

2023-2024 NJIIHL Alignment:
Gordon (American):
CBA, Delbarton, Don Bosco Prep, Gloucester Catholic, Princeton Day School and St. Augustine Prep

Gordon (National):
Bergen Catholic, Pope John, Seton Hall Prep, St. Peter’s Prep and St. Joe’s (Mont.)

Cranford, Governor Livingston/New Providence, Livingston, MKA, Summit, West Essex/Caldwell and Westfield

Frisch School, Glen Rock, Montclair, Nutley/Columbia/Bloomfield, Oratory Prep, Scotch Plains and Verona/Glen Ridge

Bayonne/Belleville, Hoboken/Weehawken, Johnson/Brearley, Kearny/Secaucus/North Arlington, Millburn and West Orange

Librera (Girls):
Immaculate Heart, Morristown-Beard, Oak Knoll, Pingry and Princeton Day School

Cohen (Girls):
Chatham/Millburn, Kent Place, Summit, Trinity Hall and Randolph

Annis (Girls):
Cranford, Newark East Side, Madison, Princeton and Westfield       

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister 

Veteran Essex County coaches Ken Lilien of Verona and Ken Smith of MKA (right) meet up during Sept. 29th NJIIHL organizational meeting at Codey Arena in West Orange where new league banners are adorned next to the northside scoreboard inside arena. In bototm photo, NJIIHL president Pat Genova addresses the audience while, from left, league's officers Steve Ruggiero and Jack Lally listen in along with Tony Maselli who is chief operating officer of the NJSIAA. (Sideline Chatter photos)

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