North American Hockey League

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see also North American Hockey League (1973–1977)
North American Hockey League
North American Hockey League Logo.svg
Sport Ice Hockey
Founded 1975
Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld
No. of teams 24
Country  United States
Most recent champion(s) Amarillo Bulls
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 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.

Current teams

Locations of North American Hockey League teams

The 2013-14 season has 24 teams playing in 4 divisions:1


Central Division
Team Arena Location
Aberdeen Wings Odde Ice Center Aberdeen, South Dakota
Austin Bruins Riverside Arena Austin, Minnesota
Bismarck Bobcats V.F.W. Sports Center Bismarck, North Dakota
Brookings Blizzard Larson Ice Center Brookings, South Dakota
Minot Minotauros Maysa Arena Minot, North Dakota
Midwest Division
Team Arena Location
Coulee Region Chill Onalaska OmniCenter Onalaska, Wisconsin
Fairbanks Ice Dogs Big Dipper Ice Arena Fairbanks, Alaska
Kenai River Brown Bears Soldotna Sports Center Soldotna, Alaska
Minnesota Magicians Richfield Ice Arena Richfield, Minnesota
Minnesota Wilderness Northwoods Credit Union Arena Cloquet, Minnesota
Wenatchee Wild Town Toyota Center Wenatchee, Washington
North Division
Team Arena Location
Janesville Jets Janesville Ice Arena Janesville, Wisconsin
Johnstown Tomahawks Cambria County War Memorial Arena Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Michigan Warriors Perani Arena and Event Center Flint, Michigan
Port Huron Fighting Falcons McMorran Place Port Huron, Michigan
Springfield Jr. Blues Nelson Center Springfield, Illinois
Soo Eagles Pullar Stadium Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
South Division
Team Arena Location
Amarillo Bulls Amarillo Civic Center Amarillo, Texas
Corpus Christi IceRays American Bank Center Corpus Christi, Texas
Lone Star Brahmas NYTEX Sports Centre North Richland Hills, Texas
Odessa Jackalopes Ector County Coliseum Odessa, Texas
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees State Farm Arena Hidalgo, Texas
Topeka RoadRunners Landon Arena Topeka, Kansas
Wichita Falls Wildcats Kay Yeager Coliseum Wichita Falls, Texas

Past teams

League changes

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.3 However, the Express' home city of Owatonna was granted another NAHL team for 2008-09, named the Owatonna Express.4 The Express are joined by another new Minnesota NAHL franschise, the Albert Lea Thunder.5 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.6 The Fargo-Moorhead Jets are approved for dormancy. .7

2009-2010 season: The Janesville Jets are awarded an expansion franchise.8 The Mahoning Valley Phantoms leave the league for the USHL.9 The USNTDP also leave the league.10 The Texas Tornado return to the league after taking a year off while their home arena was undergoing renovations.11 The Motor City franchise's new ownership changes the team's nickname from Machine to Metal Jackets.12

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

References

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

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