Downtown Utica and the Utica University NEXUS Center will be buzzing with activity later this week and weekend, as top caliber hockey invades the city.

The United States Premier Hockey League and the Utica Jr. Comets organization are proud to host the 2023 USPHL Premier and Elite National Championships this week.

The tournament will be held at the Utica University Nexus Center beginning Thursday, and running through Tuesday afternoon. Teams from all over the United States will be featured in this marquee event on the hockey calendar.

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The USPHL Elite National Championship Game will be held on Monday, March 27th, with the USPHL Premier National Championship game being played one day later on Tuesday, March 28th. Teams qualified through 10 different Premier and four different Elite divisions across the country to earn their place in this prestigious event.

Here's How the Tournament Will Work

Competition will begin with a three-day round-robin tournament for the USPHL Elite Conference. The USPHL Premier will open with a two-day seeding round to determine the matchups for the single-elimination Round of 16 on Saturday. The Premier Quarterfinals and Elite Semifinals will take place on Sunday. The Elite National Championship Game will be played at 12:00pm on March 27th, followed by the Premier Semifinals. The tournament will conclude with the Premier National Championship Game at 1:00pm on Tuesday, March 28th.

A Busy Weekend at the Adirondack Bank Center

While people from around the nation will be gathering at the NEXUS Center, the Utica Comets have a busy rivalry weekend with games that have playoff implications. Utica will host the Syracuse Crunch at the Aud on Friday night at 7, and then the Rochester Amerks on Saturday at 7. Utica will play at Syracuse on Sunday afternoon.

The Comets currently have eight home games left and will play their last game of the season at Syracuse on April 15th at 7 p.m. Toronto has a 15-point lead on the second place Comets and has clinched a playoff berth. Utica is in a battle for a trip to the playoffs and a high seed. Utica has 68 points followed by third place Syracuse with 66 and Rochester with 62-points. Still, clinching a playoff spot in the AHL's North Division is still a crap shoot as the bottom three teams have 59, 60, and 61-points respectively and with 11 or 12 games left in the regular season, every team is in striking distance.

The schedule for the USPHL National Championships can be viewed here for the Premier division, and here for the Elite division.

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