United States Hockey League
|Current season, competition or edition:
2017–18 USHL season
|No. of teams||17|
|Most titles||(Clark Cup era) Omaha Lancers (7)
(overall) Waterloo Black Hawks (9)
The United States Hockey League (USHL) is the top junior ice hockey league in the United States. The USHL has 17 member teams located in the Midwestern United States, consisting of players who are 20 years of age and younger. The USHL is strictly amateur, allowing former players to compete in NCAA college hockey.
The Chicago Steel won the 2016–17 Clark Cup Championship, beating the Western Conference Champion Sioux City Musketeers 3-games-to-2. The Musketeers won the Anderson Cup as the 2016–17 regular season champions, their third in franchise history.
- 1 Operations
- 2 Draft
- 3 Teams
- 4 History
- 5 Awards
- 6 Alumni
- 7 League records
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The USHL is the country's top junior hockey league, classified as Tier I. Like comparable entities such as the Canadian Hockey League (CHL)'s three member leagues, the USHL offers a schedule of high-level, competitive games for top players aged 16 to 20. Unlike the CHL, it does not pay a stipend to its players, who thus retain amateur status and are eligible to play in the NCAA.
Teams are subject to strict roster rules. In 2017–18 they may have no more than four overage skaters (players who have turned 20 in the first year of the season) and are limited to a maximum of five import players, three international players and two Canadian skaters. Starting in 2018–19, non-American goaltenders will count as two import players in a move designed to give more development time to American goalies, who are also exempt from the overage rule.
USHL teams, which are typically located in mid-sized cities (see map of team locations), pay for all uniforms and equipment. Players live with local families, who receive a small stipend for food expenses, and either continue school or work part-time jobs. Due to their schedules, more than 90% of games are on weekends, which many NHL and college scouts attend. Average attendance at regular season games for the 2014–15 season was 2,715 with 1,384,820 fans attending games during the season.
One hockey analyst stated that the USHL's first line players are as good as their counterparts in the CHL—historically an important producer of NHL players—but that the Canadian-based league has better third and fourth lines. In 2006, Trevor Lewis, the 17th pick in the NHL Entry Draft, was the first USHL player to sign an NHL contract immediately after playing in the league..
At the conclusion of the 2014–15 regular season, the USHL has tallied 251 Alumni that have played in the NHL and has 347 current players with NCAA College Commitments. According to the league, approximately 95 percent of its players will eventually land a Division I college scholarship.
The USHL Draft is an annual event conducted in two "phases" during the second week of May. The first phase is an eight-round draft of U-17 players for the upcoming season. The second phase of the draft is open to all players eligible to play junior hockey who are not already protected by a USHL team. The number of players drafted varies, as each team will draft until they have filled the 45 spots available on their roster. Undrafted players are open to try out for any team as a try-out player. Each team must reduce their roster to 23 players for the start of the season, but may carry 18 additional players on an affiliate list.
Defunct professional teams
Defunct junior teams
|Austin Mavericks||Austin, Minnesota||1977–85|
|Danville Wings||Danville, Illinois||2003–04|
|Dubuque Fighting Saints||Dubuque, Iowa||1980–2001|
|Fargo-Moorhead Bears||Fargo, North Dakota||1995–96|
|Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks||Fargo, North Dakota||1996–2000|
|Green Bay Bobcats||Green Bay, Wisconsin||1958–81|
|Hennepin Nordiques||Minneapolis, Minnesota||1979–80|
|Minneapolis Stars||Minneapolis, Minnesota||1977–85|
|North Iowa Huskies||Mason City, Iowa||1983–99|
|Ohio Junior Blue Jackets||Columbus, Ohio||2006–08|
|Rochester Mustangs||Rochester, Minnesota||1985–2002|
|St. Louis Heartland Eagles||Chesterfield, Missouri||2003–04|
|Twin Cities/St. Paul Vulcans||St. Paul/Bloomington, Minnesota||1977–2000|
|Thunder Bay Flyers||Thunder Bay, Ontario||1984–2000|
|Topeka ScareCrows||Topeka, Kansas||2001–03|
|Tulsa Crude||Tulsa, Oklahoma||2001–02|
|Madison/Wisconsin Capitols||Madison, Wisconsin||1984–95|
Timeline of junior league teams
- 1979–80 The USHL becomes an all-junior league with seven teams in two divisions. North Division: Hennepin Nordiques, Bloomington Jr. Stars, Green Bay Bobcats, and St. Paul Vulcans. South Division: Austin Mavericks, Sioux City Musketeers, and Waterloo Black Hawks.
- 1980–81 Des Moines Buccaneers enter the league. Waterloo Black Hawks move to Dubuque and become the Fighting Saints. Hennepin Nordiques move to Waterloo and become the Black Hawks. North Division: Austin, Bloomington, Green Bay, and St. Paul. South Division: Des Moines, Dubuque, Sioux City, and Waterloo.
- 1981–82 Green Bay folds. The remaining seven teams merge into one division.
- 1983–84 North Iowa Huskies enter league.
- 1984–85 Madison Capitols and Thunder Bay Flyers enter league. Bloomington changes name to Minneapolis Stars.
- 1985–86 Minneapolis folds. Austin relocates to Rochester and renamed Mustangs.
- 1986–87 Omaha Lancers enter league.
- 1991–92 Madison changes name to Wisconsin Capitols.
- 1994–95 Green Bay Gamblers enter league.
- 1995–96 Wisconsin folds. Fargo-Moorhead Bears enter league. St. Paul changes name to Twin Cities Vulcans.
- 1996–97 Fargo-Moorhead Bears disband. Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks enter league. Lincoln Stars enter league. League returns to divisional play. North Division: Fargo-Moorhead, Green Bay, North Iowa, Rochester, Thunder Bay, Twin Cities. South Division: Des Moines, Dubuque, Lincoln, Omaha, Sioux City, Waterloo.
- 1997–98 USA Hockey National Team Development Program plays 24-game schedule in the USHL.
- 1998–99 USHL agrees to play full-season schedule with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program as part of a two-year agreement. League moves to three-division format. East Division: Dubuque, Green Bay, Team USA, and Waterloo. Central Division: Des Moines, North Iowa, Rochester, Thunder Bay, and Twin Cities. West Division: Fargo-Moorhead, Lincoln, Omaha, and Sioux City.
- 1999–00 Sioux Falls Stampede enters league. North Iowa relocates to Cedar Rapids and renamed the RoughRiders. League moves to two-division format. West Division: Des Moines, Fargo-Moorhead, Lincoln, Omaha, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, Twin Cities. East Division: Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Green Bay, Rochester, Thunder Bay, USA Development, Waterloo.
- 2000–01 Thunder Bay ceases operations. Fargo-Moorhead moves to Bensenville, Illinois and becomes the Chicago Steel. Twin Cities relocates to Kearney, Nebraska and is renamed the Tri-City Storm. Team USA plays 34-game league schedule.
- 2001–02 Dubuque Fighting Saints relocate to Tulsa, Oklahoma and become the Tulsa Crude. Topeka, Kansas gains an expansion team called the Topeka ScareCrows.
- 2002–03 Rochester ceases operations. Tulsa ceases operations. Omaha relocates to Council Bluffs, Ia., and changes its name to the River City Lancers.
- 2003–04 Danville Wings enter the league. Topeka moves to St. Louis and becomes the Heartland Eagles.
- 2004–05 Danville moves to Indianapolis and becomes the Indiana Ice. St. Louis suspends operations. River City Lancers change name back to Omaha Lancers.
- 2006–07 Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets join the league after purchasing the membership of the former Thunder Bay Flyers.
- 2007–08 Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets cease operations at the conclusion of the season.
- 2008–09 Fargo Force join the league.
- 2009–10 United States National Development Team (Team USA) rejoins league as fully competitive member. Youngstown Phantoms expansion team added. Omaha Lancers relocate back to Omaha, Ne.
- 2010–11 Dubuque Fighting Saints rejoin league through expansion in the Western Division and Muskegon Lumberjacks join league as an expansion team in the Eastern Division.
- 2011–12 Division realignment with Dubuque moving to East and Waterloo moving to the West.
- 2013 USHL announced on August 5 that the Madison Capitols from Madison, Wisconsin will rejoin the USHL as an expansion team for the 2014–15 season, playing in the Eastern Division.
- 2014 USHL announced on April 1 that an expansion franchise, the Bloomington Thunder, from Bloomington, Illinois, would start play in 2014–15, playing in the Eastern Division.
- 2014 USHL announces that the Indiana Ice granted "dormancy" status for the 2014–15 season while the team focuses on locating a permanent home facility in the Indianapolis area. As of the conclusion of the 2016-17 season the team remains in dormancy as the team continues to locate a permanent home facility.
- 2015 Chicago Steel move to Geneva, Illinois, starting with the 2015–16 season. The Steel previously played in Bensenville, Illinois, from 2000 to 2014.
- 2017 Bloomington Thunder rebrand as the Central Illinois Flying Aces
Precursors to this league were:
- American Amateur Hockey League (1947–52)
- Central Hockey League (1952–53)
- Minnesota Hockey League (1953–55)
- United States Central Hockey League (1955–61)
American Amateur Hockey League
The United States Hockey League was established as the American Amateur Hockey League in 1947 and began play for the 1947–48 season. When the league began operations it had five teams in and around the twin cities arena along with a team in Rochester. The league was made up three clubs from St. Paul which were 7-Up, Koppy's and Tally's. Two from Minneapolis Jersey's and Bermans. Along with a team from Rochester called the Rochester Mustangs. After the 1947–48 season the St. Paul Tally's dropped out of the league and left the five remaining members to make up the league for the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons. For the 1950–51 season the St. Paul 7-Up and St. Paul Koppy's merged and became St. Paul 7-Up/Koppy's. The Minneapoils Bermans dropped out of the league and new team called the Twin City Fords were added to give the American Amateur Hockey League four teams for 1950–51 season. The Rochester Mustangs were the only club to return for the fifth and final season of the American Amateur Hockey League in 1951–52. Gone were the St. Paul 7-Up/Koppy's, Twin City Fords and the Minneapolis Jerseys. Replaced by the St. Paul Saints, Hibbing Flyers, Minneapolis Millers, Eveleth Rangers and the first club based outside of the state of Minnesota the Sioux City Iowa Sunhawks. Which gave the league six clubs for 1951–52.
Central Hockey League
The American Amateur Hockey League was renamed the Central Hockey League for the 1952–53 season. Only five of the clubs who had made up the American Amateur Hockey League for 1951-52 season returned. Those clubs were the Rochester Mustangs, St. Paul Saints, Minneapolis Millers, Hibbing Flyers and the now called Eveleth-Virginia Rangers. Gone were the Sioux City Sunhawks.
Minnesota Hockey League
After a year as the Central Hockey League the league was renamed the Minnesota Hockey League and would be called this for the 1953–54 and 1954–55 seasons. Only two teams who had made up the Central Hockey League returned to make up the Minnesota Hockey League for the 1953–54 season. Those teams were the Rochester Mustangs and the Hibbing Flyers. Gone were the St. Paul Saints. Minneapolis Millers and the Eveleth-Virginia Rangers. The Grand Forks Red Wings were added and gave the league three teams for 1953–54 season. The Rochester Mustangs were the only team to return for the second and final season of the Minnesota Hockey League. Gone were Hibbing and Grand Forks. The league added two teams in Minneapolis called the Culbersons and Bungalows and a team in St. Paul called the Saints to give the league four teams for 1954–55.
United States Central Hockey League
After two seasons as the Minnesota Hockey League the league became the United States Central Hockey League and would be called this for five years 1956 to 1960. Only three of the four teams who had made up the Minnesota Hockey League for the 1954–55 season returned. those teams were the Rochester Mustangs along with both Minneapolis clubs the Culbersons and the Bungalows. Gone were the St. Paul Saints who replaced by a team called the St. Paul Peters. These four clubs would make up the USCHL for the 1955–56 and 1956–57 seasons. For the 1957–58 season the St Paul Peters were replaced by a team called St. Paul K.S.T.P. The Rochester Mustangs were the only team to return for the 1958–59 season. Gone were St. Paul K.S.T.P along with both Minneapolis clubs the Culbersons and the Bungalows. The league returned to four teams when it replaced these clubs with the St. Paul Capitols, Minneapolis Millers and the Des Moines Ice Hawks, marking the league's return to Iowa. For the fifth and final season of the USCHL the St Paul Capitols dropped out and the league expanded to five teams and into new territory with a team in Michigan with the addition of the Marquette Sentinels and Wisconsin with the addition of the Green Bay Bobcats.
By the late 1970s, the USHL had fallen on hard times. In the summer of 1977, clubs from the recently folded Midwest Junior Hockey League contacted the USHL. A unique merger was formed, with the three junior teams (Bloomington Junior Stars, Austin Mavericks, St. Paul Vulcans) and three remaining pro teams (Sioux City Musketeers, Waterloo Black Hawks, Green Bay Bobcats) gathered under the USHL banner. League governors decided on a two-division format, with the junior-aged teams in the Midwest Division and the professionals in the U.S. Division. The teams played an interlocking schedule that was, predictably, dominated by the professionals. The USHL's split existence would last just two seasons. The minor-pro wing of the league folded following the 1978–79 season, providing junior hockey operators with the opportunity to redefine the circuit. The 1979–80 season was the league's first as an entirely junior arrangement.
The league's last season as a senior hockey league was 1978–79. During this final season the league comprised seven teams in two conferences. The U.S. Conference (with the Green Bay Bobcats, the Sioux City Musketeers and the Waterloo Black Hawks); while the Midwest Conference (with the Anoka Nordiques, the Austin Mavericks, the Bloomington Junior Stars and the St. Paul Vulcans). All seven teams were made up with players categorized as "Senior Amateur". Following the 1978–79 season the senior league teams in the U.S. Conference folded and the USHL became an all-junior league the following season.
- Most points in a season – 98 by Green Bay Gamblers in 2011–12 and Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2012–13.
- Most wins in a season – 48 by Des Moines Buccaneers in 1998–99 season.
- Most losses in a season – 48 by Omaha Lancers in 1986–87 season.
- Most road wins in a season – 25 by Green Bay Gamblers in 2011-12 season.
- Longest winning streak – 19 by Des Moines Buccaneers between November 1, 1998 and January 6, 1999.
- Most points in a season – 135 by Tim Ferguson of Sioux City Musketeers in 1985–86 season.
- Most goals in a season – 67 by Rod Taylor of Sioux City Musketeers in 1986–87 season.
- Most assists in a season – 79 by Tim Ferguson of Sioux City Musketeers in 1985–86 season.
- Most PIMs in a season – 316 by Chad Stauffacher of Green Bay Gamblers in 1996–97 season.
- "Fallen Departs As USHL President and Commissioner To Seek New Challenges". JuniorHockey.com. November 4, 2017.
- Allen, Kevin (February 6, 2007). "Youngsters hoping to realize hockey dreams". USA Today. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- http://ushlstats.stats.pointstreak.com/attendance.html?leagueid=49&seasonid=12983 .
- http://www.ushl.com/page/show/1209183-alumni-in-the-nhl | date=April 11, 2015 | Access Date=April 12, 2015
- Alex Lantz (January 25, 2015). "The drive to be the best". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- "Capitol's Move to Hartmeyer nixed; Capitol Ice Arena named as new home," from Wisconsin State Journal, 9/11/2017
- 1968–69 United States Hockey League [USHL] standings at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- Santa's Village by Phillip L. Wenz, Published by Arcadia Publishing, 2007 ISBN 0-7385-4149-4, ISBN 978-0-7385-4149-5
- 1961–62 United States Hockey League [USHL] standings at. Hockeydb.com (January 16, 1962). Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- St Paul Vulcans Hockey History. Vintageminnesotahockey.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- United States Hockey League [USHL] seasons at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- www.marquetteironrangers.com. www.marquetteironrangers.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
-  Archived September 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Sioux City Musketeers hockey team of the USHL at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- Green Bay Bobcats hockey team of the USHL at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- Anoka Nordiques hockey team of the USHL at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- Waterloo Black Hawks hockey team of the USHL at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- Austin Mavericks hockey team of the USHL at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- Bloomington Junior Stars hockey team of the USHL at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- St. Paul Vulcans hockey team of the USHL at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- 1978–79 United States Hockey League [USHL] standings at. Hockeydb.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
- USHL 2006–07 Media Guide
- USHL website
- Semi-Pro season standings 1947–1960
- Semi-Pro season standings 1961–1979
- Amateur season standings 1979–2007
- USHL Team Logos 1961–1979
- History of former USHL member Green Bay Bobcats
- History of former USHL member Marquette Iron Rangers
- History of former USHL member St. Paul/Twin City Vulcans
- History of former USHL member Rochester Mustangs
- List of USHL (junior league) alumni who are playing in the NHL or currently under NHL contract