America West Hockey League

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The America West Hockey League (AWHL) was a Tier II Junior A ice hockey league. The AWHL was formed in 1992 to offer junior ice hockey to the Rocky Mountain region of USA Hockey. It originally was called the American Frontier Hockey League (AFHL), and the name change to AWHL came in 1998. The AWHL merged with the North American Hockey League in 2003 and after the merger, the NAHL name was kept.

In the Summer of 2011, a new league called the American West Hockey League was formed in the same region as the former AWHL operating as a Tier III league. The new AWHL featured 6 teams, including the former AWHL teams Billings Bulls, Bozeman Icedogs, Great Falls Americans, and Helena Bighorns. The new AWHL would later be merged into the North American 3 Hockey League as the Frontier Division.

Teams[edit]

Billings Bulls – (Billings, MT) 1993–2003; merged into NAHL
Bismarck Bullets – (Bismarck, ND) 1993–94
Bismarck Bobcats – (Bismarck, ND) 1997–2003; merged into NAHL
Bozeman Icedogs – (Bozeman, MT) 1996–2003; merged into NAHL
Butte Irish – (Butte, MT) 1996–2002; relocated to Wichita Falls as the Rustlers
Central Texas Blackhawks – (Belton, TX) 2002–03; merged into NAHL
Central Wyoming Outlaws – (Casper, WY) 1993–98; known as Casper Outlaws from 1993–95
Fairbanks Ice Dogs – (Fairbanks, AK) 2000–03; joined from NorPac; merged into NAHL
Fernie Ghostriders – (Fernie, BC) 1999–2003; joined from KIJHL; merged into NAHL
Great Falls Americans – (Great Falls, MT) 1994–2003; known as Kings Americans 1994–95
Helena Bighorns – (Helena, MT) 2001–03; merged into NAHL
Helena Gold Rush – (Helena, MT) 1994–2000; known as Helena Ice Pirates from 1994–99
Jackson Hole Grizzlies – (Jackson, WY) 1993–97
Kimberley Dynamiters – (Kimberley, BC) 1999–2001; joined from and later returned to KIJHL
Minot Muskies – (Minot, ND) 2000–01
Phoenix Polar Bears – (Chandler, AZ) 2002–03; a member of the Western States Hockey League used for 12 interleague games to fill out the South Division schedule[1]
Pikes Peak Miners – (Colorado Springs, CO) 1993–94
Pueblo Venom – (Pueblo, CO) 1993–95; known as Pueblo Flames in 1993–94
Tupelo T-Rex – (Tupelo, MS) 2001–03
Vail Avalanche – (Vail, CO) 1993–96; relocated to Butte as the Irish
Wichita Falls Rustlers – (Wichita Falls, TX) 2002–03; merged into NAHL

Expansion[edit]

Year Teams Expansion Defunct Relocated Name Changes
1993–94 Billings Bulls
Bismarck Bullets
Casper Wranglers
Jackson Hole Grizzlies
Ogden Blades
Pikes Peak Miners
Pueblo Flames
Vail Avalanche
1994–95 Billings Bulls
Casper Wranglers
Helena Ice Pirates
Jackson Hole Grizzlies
Kings Americans
Pueblo Venom
Vail Avalanche
Helena Ice Pirates
Kings Americans
Bismarck Bullets
Ogden Blades
Pikes Peak Miners
Pueblo Flames → Pueblo Venom
1995–96 Billings Bulls
Central Wyoming Outlaws
Great Falls Americans
Helena Ice Pirates
Jackson Hole Grizzlies
Vail Avalanche
Pueblo Venom Casper Wranglers → Central Wyoming Outlaws
Kings Americans → Great Falls Americans
1996–97 Billings Bulls
Bozeman IceDogs
Butte Irish
Central Wyoming Outlaws
Great Falls Americans
Helena Ice Pirates
Jackson Hole Grizzlies
Bozeman IceDogs Vail Avalanche → Butte Irish
1997–98 Billings Bulls
Bismarck Bobcats
Bozeman IceDogs
Butte Irish
Central Wyoming Outlaws
Great Falls Americans
Helena Ice Pirates
Bismarck Bobcats Jackson Hole Grizzlies
1998–99 Billings Bulls
Bismarck Bobcats
Bozeman IceDogs
Butte Irish
Great Falls Americans
Helena Ice Pirates
Central Wyoming Outlaws
1999–2000 Billings Bulls
Bismarck Bobcats
Bozeman IceDogs
Butte Irish
Fernie Ghostriders
Great Falls Americans
Helena Gold Rush
Kimberley Dynamiters
Fernie Ghostriders
Kimberley Dynamiters
Helena Ice Pirates → Helena Gold Rush
2000–01 Billings Bulls
Bismarck Bobcats
Bozeman IceDogs
Butte Irish
Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Fernie Ghostriders
Great Falls Americans
Kimberley Dynamiters
Minot Muskies
Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Minot Muskies
Helena Gold Rush
2001–02 Billings Bulls
Bismarck Bobcats
Bozeman IceDogs
Butte Irish
Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Fernie Ghostriders
Great Falls Americans
Helena Bighorns
Tupelo T-Rex
Helena Bighorns
Tupelo T-Rex
Kimberley Dynamiters to KIJHL
Minot Muskies
2002–03 North
Billings Bulls
Bismarck Bobcats
Bozeman IceDogs
Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Fernie Ghostriders
Great Falls Americans
Helena Bighorns
South
Central Texas Blackhawks
Phoenix Polar Bears
Tupelo T-Rex
Wichita Falls Rustlers
Central Texas Blackhawks
Phoenix Polar Bears
Butte Irish → Wichita Falls Rustlers

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2002-03 America West Hockey League Standings". HockeyDB. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 

External links[edit]