The New Jersey Alliance was founded in the Spring of 2009 by families for families on what we now call the “Alliance Rock”.
Local area parents were looking for a different kind of hockey program. They wanted skilled coaching, inclusiveness and a program with family-style values that focused on helping kids reach their full potential in a positive supportive environment.
Knowing Brendan Reilly as they did, they knew he was the man for the job. He was approached several times and each time he politely declined. Not to be deterred, they tried once more. On this day they knocked on Brendan’s door, kids by their side and presented their case with conviction while standing on a rock just outside the front of his home. This time, Brendan said yes. Everyone was excited about this new “alliance” and as such The New Jersey Alliance was formed.
They kicked off their first season in the fall of 2009 with just one Pee Wee B team. Despite knowing that they were sometimes called “the team in the land misfsit toys” (from the old 196o’s Christmas TV special), they trained hard and pushed through the many challenges they faced with a small group of young players that no one really believed in or wanted at the time. Then they started winning!
While the wins helped to validate the program, it was difficult to find rink space or even a league to play in regularly. Brendan then decided to meet with each and every independent team he could find. With the help of Joe Labianca and this group of forward thinking clubs they did something no one thought possible, they formed a new hockey league and called it The Garden State Youth Hockey League.
The following year the New Jersey Alliance had 4 teams, then 6 and today there are 8 with plans to continue to grow and expand the program. To that end, on February 24, 2015 Coach Reilly announced that The Garden State Youth Hockey League entered a new partnership with the EJEPL giving NJA players the opportunity to participate in elite level hockey.
It’s been an incredible journey for this family owned travel hockey club. Coach says, that the most gratifying and rewarding part of this entire experience is seeing his players go on to play higher level hockey.