North American Hockey League

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North American Hockey League
North American Hockey League Logo.svg
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1975
CEO Mark Frankenfeld
No. of teams 22
Country  United States
Most recent champion(s) Minnesota Wilderness
Most titles Compuware Ambassadors (11)
Official website

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) is one of the top junior hockey leagues in the United States and is in its 40th season of operation in 2015–16. 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 22 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 Great Lakes Junior Hockey League and changed the name to the North American Hockey League in 1984.[2][3] 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 22 teams to begin play in the 2015–16 season.

Current teams

The 2015–16 season has 22 teams playing in 4 divisions:[4]


Division Team Location Arena Founded Joined
Central Aberdeen Wings Aberdeen, South Dakota Odde Ice Center 2010
Austin Bruins Austin, Minnesota Riverside Arena 2010
Bismarck Bobcats Bismarck, North Dakota V.F.W. Sports Center 1997 2003
Brookings Blizzard Brookings, South Dakota Larson Ice Center 2003*
Minnesota Magicians Richfield, Minnesota Richfield Ice Arena 2010*
Minot Minotauros Minot, North Dakota Maysa Arena 2011
Midwest Coulee Region Chill La Crosse, Wisconsin Green Island Ice Arena 2005*
Fairbanks Ice Dogs Fairbanks, Alaska Big Dipper Ice Arena 1997 2003
Janesville Jets Janesville, Wisconsin Janesville Ice Arena 2009
Kenai River Brown Bears Soldotna, Alaska Soldotna Sports Center 2007
Minnesota Wilderness Cloquet, Minnesota Northwoods Credit Union Arena 2003*
Springfield Jr. Blues Springfield, Illinois Nelson Center 1993
East Aston Rebels Aston, Pennsylvania IceWorks Skating Complex 2008*
Johnstown Tomahawks Johnstown, Pennsylvania Cambria County War Memorial Arena 1990*
New Jersey Junior Titans Middletown, New Jersey Middletown Ice World Arena 2005*
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Revolution Ice Center 2010*
South Amarillo Bulls Amarillo, Texas Amarillo Civic Center 2008*
Corpus Christi IceRays Corpus Christi, Texas American Bank Center 2001*
Lone Star Brahmas North Richland Hills, Texas NYTEX Sports Centre 1999*
Odessa Jackalopes Odessa, Texas Ector County Coliseum 2008*
Topeka RoadRunners Topeka, Kansas Landon Arena 2003*
Wichita Falls Wildcats Wichita Falls, Texas Kay Yeager Coliseum 1993* 2003

Note: An aterisk (*) donates a franchise relocation. See respective team articles from more information.

Past teams


League changes

2006–07 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.

2007–08 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.

2008–09 season: The Southern Minnesota Express moved to Detroit and changed their name to the Motor City Machine.[8] However, the Express' home city of Owatonna was granted another NAHL team for 2008–09, named the Owatonna Express.[9] The Express were joined by another new Minnesota NAHL franschise, the Albert Lea Thunder.[10] The Texas Tornado franchise went on a one-year hiatus as they awaited renovations on their arena. Wenatchee, Washington, was awarded an expansion franchise for the 2008–09 season.[11] The Fargo-Moorhead Jets were approved for dormancy.[12]

2009–10 season: The Janesville Jets were awarded an expansion franchise.[13] The Mahoning Valley Phantoms and the USNTDP left the league for the USHL.[14][15] The Texas Tornado returned to the league after taking a year off while their home arena was undergoing renovations.[16] The Motor City franchise's new ownership changed the team's nickname from Machine to Metal Jackets.[17]

2010–11 season: The NAHL Board of Governors accepted membership of several new teams to play this season in the league. The Fresno Monsters were awarded an expansion franchise. The Monsters also have a team in the Tier III Junior A Western States Hockey League. They played at the Selland Arena in Fresno, California. The Corpus Christi IceRays were awarded an expansion franchise. The IceRays purchased the franchise formerly known as the Alpena IceDiggers for their expansion team. They played in the South Division at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Chicago Hitmen joined the North Division and played 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 played in the North Division at the Perani Arena and Event Center. Port Huron joined the North Division and played at McMorran Place in Port Huron, Michigan. The Coulee Region Chill joined the Central Division and played at Onalaska OmniCenter in Onalaska, Wisconsin. The Aberdeen Wings joined the Central Division and played at the Odde Ice Center in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The Austin Bruins joined the Central Division and played at the Riverside Arena in Austin, Minnesota. The Dawson Creek Rage joined the West Division and played at EnCana Events Centre in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. The Amarillo Bulls joined the South Division and played at Amarillo Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas. The New Mexico Mustangs joined the South Division and played at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

2014–15 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.[18]

2015–16 season: On May 1, 2015 the NAHL announced that the dormant Dawson Creek Rage franchise was purchased by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights organization to be an expansion team for the 2015–16 season.[19] The Keystone Ice Miners ceased operations. The Michigan Warriors ceased operations due to the arrival of the major junior Flint Firebirds. The Soo Eagles announced they were returning to the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League citing the lack of other local teams as they were the last remaining team in Michigan. The New Jersey Junior Titans organization bought the franchise from the Eagles and relocated to Middleton, New Jersey. The Eagles originally sought membership with the NAHL for the 2012–13 season and returned to the NOJHL for the season 2015–16 season. The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees were relocated to Aston, Pennsylvania and became the Aston Rebels. A new East Division was formed composed of Aston, Johnstown, New Jersey, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Wenatchee Wild organization left the NAHL and joined the Canadian Junior A British Columbia Hockey League.

Robertson Cup winners



  3. "NAHL History". NAHL. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "North American Hockey League [1984-2015] history and statistics". HockeyDB. Retrieved June 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Jack McCarthy (April 24, 2003). "Freeze hockey team shuts down". Retrieved June 22, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Detroit Little Caesars Statistics and History". HockeyDB. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8., Machine Motors into Michigan, May 2, 2008
  9., Owatonna membership approved for 2008–09, May 19, 2008
  10., Albert Lea awarded NAHL franchise, May 1, 2008
  11. Wenatchee World, Finally we have a hockey team, May 14, 2008
  12., Fargo-Moorhead ceases operations, May 19, 2008
  13., Jets touch down in Janesville, June 5, 2009
  14., Zoldan, NAHL make a deal, August 13, 2009
  15., NTDP to no longer compete in NAHL, February 26, 2008
  16., Tornado to hit the ice again in 2009-10, April 29, 2009
  17., Motor City changes nickname, logo, June 25, 2009
  18., NAHL announces teams, alignment for 2014-15 season, May 14, 2014
  20. "Robertson Cup". NAHL. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links