North American Hockey League

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This article is about the junior league in the United States. For the defunct professional league, see North American Hockey League (1973–1977). For the Quebec-based professional league, see Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey.
North American Hockey League
North American Hockey League Logo.svg
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1975
CEO Mark Frankenfeld
No. of teams 24
Country  United States
Most recent champion(s) Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Most titles Compuware Ambassadors (11)
Official website www.nahl.com

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) is one of the top junior hockey leagues in the United States and is in its 39th season of operation in 2014–15. It is the only Junior A Tier II league sanctioned by USA Hockey, and 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, and is headquartered in Frisco, Texas (they are co-located in the same facility as the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars).[1]

The league 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 and 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 top two teams of the NAHL playoffs will meet in a predetermined location to play in the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament.

From its beginning in 1975, the NAHL was primarily a 6–12-team league based in the Midwest, known as The North American Junior Hockey League.[2] Jason Weber, of Livonia, Michigan, is the all-time leading scorer in the NAHL, tallying 65 goals and 115 assists for 180 points from 1990 to 1992. Other notable alumni from the NAJHL include Pat Lafontaine, Mike Modano, Doug Weight, Pat Peake, Brian Rolston, Brian Holzinger, Brian Rafalski, and Todd Marchant. In 2003, the league merged with the defunct America West Hockey League to form a 19-team league, the NAHL, which has led to the current 24 teams playing in the 2014–15 season.

Current teams[edit]

The 2014-15 season has 24 teams playing in 4 divisions:[3]

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Past teams[edit]

League changes[edit]

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.

2007–2008 season: Santa Fe Roadrunners moved to Topeka, Kansas. The Topeka Roadrunners now play at Landon Arena. The Kenai River Brown Bears started playing in the league.

2008-2009 season: The Southern Minnesota Express moved to Detroit and changed their name to the Motor City Machine.[5] However, the Express' home city of Owatonna was granted another NAHL team for 2008-09, named the Owatonna Express.[6] The Express are joined by another new Minnesota NAHL franschise, the Albert Lea Thunder.[7] 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.[8] The Fargo-Moorhead Jets are approved for dormancy. .[9]

2009-2010 season: The Janesville Jets are awarded an expansion franchise.[10] The Mahoning Valley Phantoms leave the league for the USHL.[11] The USNTDP also leave the league.[12] The Texas Tornado return to the league after taking a year off while their home arena was undergoing renovations.[13] The Motor City franchise's new ownership changes the team's nickname from Machine to Metal Jackets.[14]

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.

2014-2015 season: The Port Huron Fighting Falcons were relocated to Connellsville, Pennsylvania to become the Keystone Ice Miners, remaining in the North Division, and the Wenatchee Wild moved from the Midwest Division to the South Division. [15]

Robertson Cup winners[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nahl.com/the-nahl/contact/contact.cfm
  2. ^ http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/149.html
  3. ^ http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=5681
  4. ^ Jack McCarthy (April 24, 2003). "Freeze hockey team shuts down". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved June 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ NAHL.com, Machine Motors into Michigan, May 2, 2008
  6. ^ NAHL.com, Owatonna membership approved for 2008-09, May 19, 2008
  7. ^ Startribune.com, Albert Lea awarded NAHL franchise, May 1, 2008
  8. ^ Wenatchee World, Finally we have a hockey team, May 14, 2008
  9. ^ NAHL.com, Fargo-Moorhead ceases operations, May 19, 2008
  10. ^ NAHL.com, Jets touch down in Janesville, June 5, 2009
  11. ^ NAHL.com, Zoldan, NAHL make a deal, August 13, 2009
  12. ^ NAHL.com, NTDP to no longer compete in NAHL, February 26, 2008
  13. ^ NAHL.com, Tornado to hit the ice again in 2009-10, April 29, 2009
  14. ^ NAHL.com, Motor City changes nickname, logo, June 25, 2009
  15. ^ NAHL.com, NAHL announces teams, alignment for 2014-15 season, May 14, 2014

External links[edit]