North American Hockey League
|No. of teams||24|
|Most recent champion(s)||Amarillo Bulls|
|Most titles||Compuware Ambassadors (11)|
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) is one of the top junior hockey leagues in the United States and is in its 38th season of operation in 2013-14. It is currently the only Junior A Tier II league, sanctioned by USA Hockey. The NAHL currently acts as an alternative to the United States Hockey League (USHL). The NAHL is the oldest and largest junior hockey league in the United States.
The league currently consists of four divisions with a total of 24 teams. The teams span the United States from Pennsylvania in the East to Washington in the West; from Alaska in the North to Texas in the South. The teams play a 60-game regular season, starting in mid-September and ending in early April. The winner of each division will meet in Frisco, Texas (where the NAHL is headquartered) to play in the 2014 Robertson Cup Championship Tournament.
From its beginning in 1975, the NAHL was primarily a 6-12 team league based in the Midwest. In 2003 the league merged with the defunct America West Hockey League to form a 19-team league, which has led to the current 24 teams playing in the 2013-2014 season.
The 2013-14 season has 24 teams playing in 4 divisions:
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2011)|
- Alaska Avalanche (Moved to Johnstown, PA, renamed Tomahawks)
- Albert Lea Thunder (Moved to Amarillo, TX, renamed Bulls).
- Alexandria Blizzard (Moved to Brookings, SD)
- Alpena IceDiggers (moved to Corpus Christi, TX, renamed IceRays).
- Billings Bulls (Joined the NorPac).
- Bozeman Icedogs (Joined the NorPac).
- Central Texas Blackhawks (renamed Central Texas Marshals).
- Chicago Freeze (folded after 2002-03 due to "increased operation costs and low attendance").
- Chicago Hitmen Folded on May 11, 2012
- Cleveland Jr. Barons.
- Dawson Creek Rage Ceased operations after 2011-2012 season
- Detroit Compuware Ambassadors.
- Danville Wings (Moved to USHL).
- Dayton Gems dissolved after 21 games, roster dispersed amongst remaining teams.
- Dearborn Heights Nationals (Relocated to become St. Louis Sting).
- Detroit Jr. Red Wings (later Detroit Freeze).
- Detroit Freeze (Moved to Chicago, became Chicago Freeze).
- Fargo-Moorhead Jets.
- Fernie Ghostriders (Franchise rights were sold to a Kalamazoo, Michigan based group in 2003; joined the KIJHL)
- Fresno Monsters (Relocated to Wenatchee Washington, become the Wenatchee WIld)
- Gaylord Grizzles (Moved to Grand Rapids, became Bearcats).
- Grand Rapids Bearcats (Became Rockets. Moved to Lansing, became Capital Centre Pride)
- Helena Bighorns (Joined the NorPac).
- Kalamazoo Jr. Wings (Moved to Danville).
- Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings (Ceased operations after 2012-13 season).
- Lone Star Cavalry (Moved to Santa Fe, NM, renamed RoadRunners).
- Marquette Rangers (Moved to Flint, renamed Michigan Warriors).
- Minnesota Blizzard (Name changed to Alexandria Blizzard).
- Motor City Metal Jackets (Moved to Jamestown, NY, renamed Ironmen).
- New Mexico Mustangs (Moved to Richfield, MN, renamed Minnesota Magicians)
- North Iowa Outlaws (Moved to Onalaska, WI, renamed Coulee Region Chill).
- Owatonna Express (Moved to Odessa, TX, renamed Jackalopes)
- Pittsburgh Forge (moved to Toledo, became Toledo IceDiggers).
- Royal Oak Royals (moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan Ice Dogs).
- Saginaw Jr Gears (moved to Gaylord, became Grizzles).
- Santa Fe RoadRunners (Moved to Topeka).
- Southern Minnesota Express (Relocated to become Motor City Machine).
- Springfield Spirit (Relocated to become Wasilla Spirit).
- St. Louis Bandits (Moved to Cloquet, MN, renamed Minnesota Wilderness)
- St. Louis Sting (Moved to Springfield).
- Texarkana Bandits (Relocated to become St. Louis Bandits).
- Texas Tornado (Relocated to become Lone Star Brahmas).
- Toledo IceDiggers (Moved to Alpena, MI).
- USA Hockey National Team Development Program (Moved to USHL).
- Wasilla Spirit (Name changed to Alaska Avalanche).
- Wenatchee Wild (Moved to Hidalgo, TX, renamed Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Will return with the Fresno membership)
- Wichita Falls Rustlers (Name changed to Wichita Falls Wildcats).
- Youngstown Phantoms/Mahoning Valley Phantoms (Moved to USHL).
2006–2007 season: Bozeman Icedogs, Billings Bulls, and Helena Bighorns left the league for the Northern Pacific Hockey League. Cleveland Jr. Barons were granted inactive status for the season. Wasilla Spirit changed name to Alaska Avalanche. Minnesota Blizzard changed name to Alexandria Blizzard. Texarkana Bandits moved to Chesterfield, Missouri and changed name to St. Louis Bandits. Marquette Rangers were added to the league.
2008-2009 season: The Southern Minnesota Express moved to Detroit and changed their name to the Motor City Machine. However, the Express' home city of Owatonna was granted another NAHL team for 2008-09, named the Owatonna Express. The Express are joined by another new Minnesota NAHL franschise, the Albert Lea Thunder. The Texas Tornado franchise will go dark for a year as they await renovations on their arena. Wenatchee, Washington has been awarded an expansion franchise for the 2008-09 season. The Fargo-Moorhead Jets are approved for dormancy. .
2009-2010 season: The Janesville Jets are awarded an expansion franchise. The Mahoning Valley Phantoms leave the league for the USHL. The USNTDP also leave the league. The Texas Tornado return to the league after taking a year off while their home arena was undergoing renovations. The Motor City franchise's new ownership changes the team's nickname from Machine to Metal Jackets.
2010-2011 season: The NAHL Board of Governors accepted membership of several new teams to play this season in the league. The Fresno Monsters are awarded an expansion franchise. The Monsters played in the Tier III A Western States Hockey League before getting switched over to the North American Hockey League for the 2010-2011 season. They will play at the Selland Arena in Fresno, California. The Corpus Christi IceRays are awarded an expansion franchise. The IceRays were known as the Alpena IceDiggers and Toledo in the North America Hockey League [the same league, no new league change, just name change]. They will play in the South Division at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Chicago Hitmen joined the North Division and will play starting this season at West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The Marquette Rangers moved to Flint, Michigan and changed their name to Michigan Warriors. The Michigan Warriors will play in the North Division at the Perani Arena and Event Center. Port Huron joined the North Division and will play starting this season at McMorran Place in Port Huron, Michigan. The Coulee Region Chill joined the Central Division and will play at Onalaska OmniCenter in Onalaska, Wisconsin. The Aberdeen Wings joined the Central Division and will play at the Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The Austin Bruins joined the Central Division and will play at the Riverside Arena in Austin, Minnesota. The Dawson Creek Rage joined the West Division and will play at EnCana Events Centre in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. The Amarillo Bulls joined the South Division and will play at Amarillo Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas. The New Mexico Mustangs joined the South Division and will play at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Robertson Cup winners
- 2013 - Amarillo Bulls
- 2012 - Texas Tornado
- 2011 - Fairbanks Ice Dogs
- 2010 - Bismarck Bobcats
- 2009 - St. Louis Bandits
- 2008 - St. Louis Bandits
- 2007 - St. Louis Bandits
- 2006 - Texas Tornado
- 2005 - Texas Tornado
- 2004 - Texas Tornado
- 2003 - Pittsburgh Forge
- 2002 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 2001 - Texas Tornado
- 2000 - Danville Wings
- 1999 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1998 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1997 - Springfield Jr. Blues
- 1996 - Springfield Jr. Blues
- 1995 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1994 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1993 - Kalamazoo Jr. K Wings
- 1992 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1991 - Kalamazoo Jr. K Wings
- 1990 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1989 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1988 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1987 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1986 - Compuware Ambassadors
- 1985 - St. Clair Shores Falcons
- 1984 - St. Clair Shores Falcons
- 1983 - Paddock Pools
- 1982 - Paddock Pools
- 1981 - Paddock Pools
- 1980 - Paddock Pools
- 1979 - Paddock Pools
- 1978 - Paddock Pools
- 1977 - Paddock Pools
- 1976 - Little Caesars
- Jack McCarthy (April 24, 2003). "Freeze hockey team shuts down". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
- NAHL.com, Machine Motors into Michigan, May 2, 2008
- NAHL.com, Owatonna membership approved for 2008-09, May 19, 2008
- Startribune.com, Albert Lea awarded NAHL franchise, May 1, 2008
- Wenatchee World, Finally we have a hockey team, May 14, 2008
- NAHL.com, Fargo-Moorhead ceases operations, May 19, 2008
- NAHL.com, Jets touch down in Janesville, June 5, 2009
- NAHL.com, Zoldan, NAHL make a deal, August 13, 2009
- NAHL.com, NTDP to no longer compete in NAHL, February 26, 2008
- NAHL.com, Tornado to hit the ice again in 2009-10, April 29, 2009
- NAHL.com, Motor City changes nickname, logo, June 25, 2009