The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights junior hockey program was formed in 2007 to build a stronger youth hockey presence in Northeast Pennsylvania. Upon the team’s formation, the Knights program quickly became a new arena for young, local athletes to develop their skills and compete at the highest levels of competition within the USA Hockey format. At the time of the program’s inception, local interest in ice hockey was on the rise; primarily due to the newly formed American Hockey League (AHL) franchise that was located in Wilkes-Barre in 1999. Exposure to professional hockey in the region and steady growth in youth, scholastic and recreational sectors of athletics provided the perfect platform on which the Knights program could begin to grow.
From day one, the Knights program developed the mission to field and cultivate teams to compete at a high level against USA Hockey Tier 1 teams throughout the US and Canada. In 2009 the Knights reached this goal, when its youth teams achieved Tier 1 status. This new status challenged the organization to provide worthwhile opportunities for its players that would encourage them to remain in northeast Pennsylvania to continue their hockey careers within the program.
In 2010, the Knights obtained their first junior hockey franchises fielding teams in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League (MJHL). Both leagues were recognized as USA Hockey Tier III Junior Hockey Leagues. Both the AJHL and the MJHL provide competitive opportunities to teams in neighboring Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Although junior hockey was relatively new to Northeast Pennsylvania in 2010, many players from the area were drawn to a new local option, as they had experienced playing in AJHL/MJHL franchises in the past in nearby Binghamton (NY), Philadelphia and New Jersey. The successful implementation of these two franchises within the Knights organization offered players from Northeast PA, the United States and the world a new alternative to obtain a high level of training and greater exposure to college and professional scouts.
In the spring of 2013, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, in their third season, won the AJHL Championship. This win was a huge stepping stone for the organization, as it reinforced the programs mission and commitment to the development of athletes within highly competitive franchises. The teams in the youth program were also excelling in league competitions and receiving national recognition for their efforts. However, the success of the program soon began to show beyond wins or losses. Since 2007, 74 Knights players have committed to NCAA Division I and 160 players have committed to Division III colleges and numerous players have been drafted to US/Canadian Major Junior teams, and have been drafted into the National Hockey League (NHL).
In 2019, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights joined the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League (EJEPL). The EJEPL was created to prepare players to become the Junior, Prep School and College recruits of the future. Many of the owners of top Junior programs, top Prep School programs and AAA Youth organizations regularly scout the EJEPL and it’s (90) partner organizations.