North American 3 Hockey League

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North American 3 Hockey League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2015-16
NA3HL logo.png
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1970s
No. of teams 48
Country United States
Most recent
champion(s)
North Iowa Bulls (2015–16)
Official website www.na3hl.com

The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) is an American Tier III junior ice hockey league that consists of 48 teams from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Sanctioned by USA Hockey, the winner of the NA3HL playoffs advance to play for the Tier III National Championship.

History[edit]

Originally formed in the early 1970s as a Junior B-level league known as the Central States Hockey League (CSHL), the league evolved into the Metro Detroit Junior Hockey League in the early 1980s. The CSHL name was used again from 1994 until 2010. The league was reclassified from Tier III Junior B to Tier III Junior A in the summer of 2007 by USA Hockey.

CSHL logo

During the 2008–09 season, it was announced that the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins would join the CSHL for the 2009–10 season, bringing the number of teams to 13. The league returned to 12 teams for 2010–11, as the Dubuque Thunderbirds franchise folded to make way for the return of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League.

On November 1, 2010, it was announced that the North American Hockey League would take control of the CSHL. The NAHL-CSHL affiliation allows for a more structured Junior hockey system to provide athletes with more opportunities to advance to college and pro hockey. At the time of the take over the league was renamed to the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL).

In May 2011, it was announced that the Granite City Lumberjacks, Minnesota Flying Aces, North Iowa Bulls and the Twin City Steel would join the league beginning with the 2011–12 season bringing the total number of teams in the NA3HL to 16.

In March 2013, the NA3HL announced that its Board of Governors has accepted the membership application for the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs, which began play in the NA3HL during the 2013–14 season. Owned by Ken Kestas, the Bulldogs played home games out of Canlan Ice Sports in Romeoville, Illinois.

Quad City Jr. Flames (Davenport, Iowa) relocated to Madison, Wisconsin in May 2013 and were renamed the Wisconsin Whalers.[1]

In May 2014, the Flint Jr. Generals were purchased and relocated to La Crosse, Wisconsin and renamed the La Crosse Freeze. The NA3HL announced that the Texas Jr. Brahmas would transfer from the Western States Hockey League and join the South Division.[2] The expansion Nashville Jr. Predators and Point Mallard Ducks (Decatur, AL) also joined the South Division bringing its total up to six teams.[2] The American West Hockey League moved to the NA3HL to form new Frontier Division.[3] The Battle Creek Revolution announced it was re-branding as the West Michigan Wolves. The Michigan Mountain Cats were sold and relocated to Jamestown, NY, and called the Southern Tier Xpress.

In April 2015, the NA3HL announced an expansion team in Evansville, Indiana, called the Thunderbolts, to play in the South Division beginning in the 2015–16 season.[4] On May 21–22 of 2015, two additional expansion teams were announced: Rochester Ice Hawks, a member of the former Minnesota Junior Hockey League, was added the West Division,[5] and the Louisiana Drillers playing out of Lafayette, Louisiana was added to the South Division.[6]

On March 4, 2016, it was formally announced that the North American Hockey League's other Tier III league, the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League (NA3EHL), would be added to the NA3HL beginning with the 2016–17 season.[7] The former NA3EHL teams are set to become two new divisions within the NA3HL. On May 21, 2016, the Missoula Bruins youth hockey organization from Missoula, Montana announced it had been approved as an expansion team in the Frontier Division of the NA3HL. The Missoula Junior Bruins replaced the Missoula Maulers of the Western States Hockey League after arena negotiations with the Maulers' owner fell through.[8]

Alumni[edit]

Many prominent college and pro hockey players have played in the CSHL at one point in their careers, including 2007 Hobey Baker finalist Eric Ehn (Metro Jets), St. Louis Blues forward and 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympian Paul Stastny (St. Louis Jr. Blues) and Chris Butler (St. Louis Jr. Blues), now in the St. Louis Blues' organization.

Current teams[edit]

Division Team Location Arena Founded Joined
Central Chicago Jr. Bulldogs Romeoville, Illinois Canlan Ice Sports Arena 2013
La Crosse Freeze La Crosse, Wisconsin Green Island Ice Arena 1998*
North Iowa Bulls Mason City, Iowa North Iowa Ice Arena 2011
Rochester Ice Hawks Rochester, Minnesota Rochester Recreation Center 1996 2015
Wisconsin Whalers Oregon, Wisconsin Oregon Ice Arena 2004*
Coastal Cape Cod Islanders Falmouth, Massachusetts Falmouth Ice Center 2008 2016
East Coast Minutemen Salem, New Hampshire Salem Icenter 2012 2016
L/A Fighting Spirit Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Androscoggin Bank Colisee 2012* 2016
Long Beach Sharks Long Beach, New York Long Beach Ice Arena 2010[9] 2016*
Maine Wild Biddeford, Maine Biddeford Arena 2013 2016
New England Stars Tyngsboro, Massachusetts Skate 3 Arena 2008 2016
Northeast Generals Canton, Massachusetts Canton Sportsplex 2015 2016
East Metro Jets Waterford, Michigan Lakeland Ice Arena 1989
Pittsburgh Vengeance Harmarville, Pennsylvania Bladerunners- Harmarville 2009
Southern Tier Xpress Jamestown, New York Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena 1985*
Toledo Cherokee Toledo, Ohio Team Toledo Ice House 1993
West Michigan Wolves Battle Creek, Michigan Revolution Arena 2010
Wooster Oilers Wooster, Ohio Alice Noble Ice Arena 2004* 2015
Frontier Billings Bulls Billings, Montana Centennial Ice Arena 1993 2014
Bozeman Icedogs Bozeman, Montana Haynes Pavilion 1996 2014
Gillette Wild Gillette, Wyoming Campbell County Ice Arena 2011 2014
Glacier Nationals Havre, Montana Havre Ice Dome 2013 2014
Great Falls Americans Great Falls, Montana Great Falls Ice Plex 2011 2014
Helena Bighorns Helena, Montana Helena Ice Arena 2004 2014
Missoula Junior Bruins Missoula, Montana Glacier Ice Rink 2016
Yellowstone Quake Cody, Wyoming Victor J. Riley Arena 2001 2014
Midwest Cincinnati Thunder Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Gardens 2007
Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts Evansville, Indiana Swonder Ice Arena 2015
Nashville Junior Predators Franklin, Tennessee A-Game SportsPlex 2014
Peoria Mustangs Peoria, Illinois Owens Recreation Center 2000
St. Louis Jr. Blues Affton, Missouri Affton Ice Rink 1987
Northeast Binghamton Jr. Senators Binghamton, New York Ice House Sports Complex 2013 2016*
Jersey Shore Wildcats Wall Township, New Jersey Jersey Shore Arena 2009 2016
Lockport Express Lockport, New York Cornerstone Arena-Heinrich 2014 2016
Roc City Royals Rochester, New York Webster Ice Arena 2014 2016
Skylands Kings Stockholm, New Jersey Skylands Ice World 2015 2016
Syracuse Stampede Morrisville, New York Morrisville Ice Plex 2011 2016
South Atlanta Capitals Sandy Springs, Georgia Center Ice Arena 2013*
College Station Spirit College Station, Texas Spirit Ice Arena 2013*
Euless Junior Stars Euless, Texas Dr. Pepper StarCenter (Euless) 2013
Louisiana Drillers Lafayette, Louisiana Planet Ice 2015
Point Mallard Ducks Decatur, Alabama Point Mallard Ice Complex 2014
Texas Jr. Brahmas North Richland Hills, Texas NYTEX Sports Centre 2010 2014
West Alexandria Blizzard Alexandria, Minnesota Runestone Community Center 2012
Breezy Point North Stars Breezy Point, Minnesota Breezy Point Hockey Center 2012
Granite City Lumberjacks Sauk Rapids, Minnesota Rhino Deck Arena East 2007 2011
New Ulm Steel New Ulm, Minnesota New Ulm Civic Center 2011*
Willmar WarHawks Willmar, Minnesota Willmar Civic Center 2007 2011*

Note: An asterisk (*) donates a franchise move. See respective team articles for more information.

Champions[edit]

The league championship trophy (previously named Hurster Cup) was renamed the Silver Cup in Spring of 2012. The winner of the Silver Cup receives a bid to compete in the USA Hockey Tier III junior hockey National Championship Tournament.

Season Silver Cup winner Tier III Nationals results
Tier III Tournament Top qualifier results Runner Up qualifier results
1988 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. B
1989 Lytes Rustlers Jr. B
1990 Metro Jets Jr. B
1991 Wayne Chiefs Jr. B
1992 Downriver Blades Jr. B
1993 Wayne Chiefs Jr. B
1994 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. B
1995 Toledo Cherokee Jr. B
1996 Motor City Chiefs Jr. B
1997 Toledo Cherokee Jr. B
1998 Motor City Chiefs Jr. B Toledo Cherokee won Tier III Jr. National Championship[10]
1999 Toledo Cherokee Jr. B
2000 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. B
2001 Metro Jets Jr. B
2002 Metro Jets Jr. B Metro Jets won Tier III Jr. B National Championship[10]
2003 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. B St. Louis Jr. Blues lost Championship game to Phoenix Polar Bears
2004 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. B St. Louis Jr. Blues won Tier III Jr. B National Championship[10]
2005 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. B St. Louis Jr. Blues won Tier III Jr. B National Championship[10]
2006 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. B[11] St. Louis Jr. Blues
3-0-0 in Round Robin, 1st of 4, Pool I
Won Semifinal (6-2 vs. Twin Cities Northern Lights)
Tier III Jr. B National Champions (5-4 vs. Toledo Cherokee)
Toledo Cherokee
3-0-0 in Round Robin, 1st of 4, Pool III
Won Semifinal (3-2 vs. Minnesota Ice Hawks)
Lost Championship game (4-5 vs. St. Louis Jr. Blues)
2007 Dubuque Thunderbirds Jr. B[12] Dubuque Thunderbirds
2-1-0 in Round Robin, 1st of 4, Pool II
Lost Semifinal (0-3 vs. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs)
St. Louis Jr. Blues
2-1-0 in Round Robin, 2nd of 4, Pool I
Won Semifinal (6-1 vs. Suffolk PAL)
Tier III Jr. B National Champions (4-0 vs. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs)
2008 Dubuque Thunderbirds Jr. A[13] Dubuque Thunderbirds
Eliminated 0-2-1 in Round Robin, 3rd of 4, Pool III
Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks
Eliminated 0-3-0 in Round Robin, 4th of 4, Pool II
2009 Dubuque Thunderbirds Jr. A[14] Dubuque Thunderbirds
2-0-1 in Round Robin, 1st of 4, Pool II
Lost Semifinal (1-5 vs. New Jersey Hitmen)
St. Louis Jr. Blues
Eliminated 0-2-1 in Round Robin, 3rd of 4, Pool III
2010 St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. A[15] St. Louis Jr. Blues
2-1-0 in Round Robin, 1st of 4, Pool III
Won Semifinal (2-1 vs. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs)
Tier III Jr. A National Champions (4-3 vs. South Shore Kings)
Dubuque Thunderbirds
Eliminated 2-1-0 in Round Robin, 2nd of 4, Pool I
2011 Chicago Hitmen Jr. A[16] Chicago Hitmen
Eliminated 0-2-1 in Round Robin, 4th of 4, Pool II
St. Louis Jr. Blues
Eliminated 2-1-0 in Round Robin, 2nd of 4, Pool I
2012 Granite City Lumberjacks Tier III[17] No representatives sent to tournament
2013 North Iowa Bulls Tier III[18] North Iowa Bulls
3-0-0 in Round Robin, 1st of 4, American Div.
Won Semifinal (3-2 vs. Helena Bighorns)
Tier III National Champions (6-2 vs. Twin Cities Northern Lights)
No runner up teams in tournament for 2013
2014 North Iowa Bulls Tier III[19] North Iowa Bulls
3-0-0 in Round Robin, 1st of 4, Pool C
Won Semifinal (5-1 vs. Northern Cyclones)
Lost Championship (1-4 vs. Boston Jr. Bruins)
Flint Jr. Generals
Eliminated 2-1-0 in Round Robin, 3rd of 4, Pool B
2015 Granite City Lumberjacks Division 1[20] Granite City Lumberjacks
Eliminated 2-1-0 in Round Robin, 3rd of 4
North Iowa Bulls
2-1-0 in Round Robin, 2nd of 4
Tier III National Champions (2-1 vs. Northern Cyclones)
2016 North Iowa Bulls Tier III Nationals not held in 2016

Former teams[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Quad City Jr. Flames To Be Renamed The Wisconsin Whalers". The Junior Hockey News. 24 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Fitts, Colin (May 24, 2014). "NA3HL Club Arrives In Nashville". The Hockey Writers. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  3. ^ "AWHL joins NA3HL". Billings Gazette. 21 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "ThunderBolts hockey team introduces owner, head coach". Evansville Courier & Press. 23 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "NA3HL approves expansion membership to Rochester Ice Hawks". Junior Hockey News. May 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ "NA3HL approves expansion membership to Louisiana Drillers". Junior Hockey News. May 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ "NA3EHL to join NA3HL for the 2016-17 season". NA3HL. March 4, 2016. 
  8. ^ "New Missoula junior hockey team approved". The Montana Standard. May 21, 2016. 
  9. ^ "page":4,"issue_id":177948} "A Team Grows in Brooklyn". Junior Hockey Magazine. October 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Junior B Silver Cup". Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  11. ^ "2006 Tier III Junior B Nationals". Pointstreak. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  12. ^ "2007 Tier III Junior B Nationals". Pointstreak. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ "2008 Tier III Junior A Nationals". Pointstreak. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  14. ^ "2009 Tier III Jr. A Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  15. ^ "2010 Tier III Jr. A Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  16. ^ "2011 Tier III Jr. A Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ "2012 Tier III Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
  18. ^ "2013 Tier III Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  19. ^ "2014 Tier III Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  20. ^ "2015 Tier III Junior Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  21. ^ "West Michigan Wolves era in NA3HL to begin in 2014-15". NA3HL. April 1, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Chicago Hitmen will not play in 2012-13". NA3HL. May 11, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Cincinnati team in NA3HL renamed the Thunder". NA3HL. April 10, 2015. 
  24. ^ "NA3HL approves sale and relocation of Cleveland to Wooster, Ohio". NA3HL. February 15, 2015. 
  25. ^ "NA3HL’s Jr. Stars purchased by Chill, Freeze ownership". NA3HL. August 4, 2015. 
  26. ^ "NA3HL approves sale and relocation of Flint to La Crosse, WI". NA3HL. May 6, 2014. 
  27. ^ "NA3HL approves sale and relocation of Mountain Cats to Jamestown, NY". NA3HL. March 10, 2014. 
  28. ^ "NA3HL’s Flying Aces purchased, relocated by NAHL Blizzard ownership". Junior Hockey News. May 24, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Mountain Cats continue to make great strides". NA3HL. April 21, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Quad City Jr. Flames to relocate to Madison, Wisconsin". NA3HL. May 2, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Queen City Steam to become the Cincinnati Swords". NA3HL. April 16, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Sugar Land Imperials purchased and relocated to College Station, TX". Junior Hockey News. May 24, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Topeka Capitals to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia". NA3HL. June 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]