The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) is an American Tier III junior ice hockey league that consists of teams from Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Sanctioned by USA Hockey, for most of the league's existence, the winner of the NA3HL playoffs would advance to play for the Tier III National Championship, however, this has not been held since 2015.
|North American 3 Hockey League|
|Current season, competition or edition:|
|No. of teams||36|
|Metro Jets (2018)|
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.
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.
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. The expansion Nashville Junior Predators and Point Mallard Ducks (Decatur, AL) also joined the South Division bringing its total up to six teams. The American West Hockey League moved to the NA3HL to form new Frontier Division. 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. 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, and the Louisiana Drillers playing out of Lafayette, Louisiana was added to the South Division.
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. The former NA3EHL teams became 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.
Prior to the 2017–18 season, the Lockport Express relocated to become the Niagara Falls PowerHawks, the Syracuse Stampede relocated to become the Oswego Stampede, and the West Michigan Wolves relocated to become the Lansing Wolves. The Chicago Jr. Bulldogs, Euless Jr. Stars, and L/A Fighting Spirit franchises were sold; the Bulldogs were relocated as the Wausau RiverWolves, the Jr. Stars re-branded as the Mid-Cities Jr. Stars, and the Fighting Spirit re-branded as the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques. The Cincinnati Thunder, which had already been playing out of Dayton, re-branded as the Dayton Falcons. The Butte Cobras, formerly of the Western States Hockey League, purchased the Glacier Nationals franchise in order to join the NA3HL. The schedule was set with 47 teams, however, the Butte Cobras and Billings Bulls would both fold prior to playing a game, while the Dayton Falcons, Nashville Junior Predators, and Jersey Shore Wildcats were also removed from the schedules during the season.
In April 2018, the NA3HL announced the entire East Division had left the league including the reigning champions, the Metro Jets. The Butte Cobras were also announced as returning and the Point Mallard Ducks were purchased and relocated to become the Milwaukee Power.
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.
|Central||Coulee Region Chill||La Crosse, Wisconsin||Green Island Ice Arena||1998*|
|Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts||Evansville, Indiana||Swonder Ice Arena||2015|
|Milwaukee Power||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Wilson Ice Arena||2014*|
|Peoria Mustangs||Peoria, Illinois||Owens Center||2000|
|St. Louis Jr. Blues||Affton, Missouri||Affton Ice Rink||1978||1987|
|Wausau RiverWolves||Wausau, Wisconsin||Marathon County Arena||2013||2017*|
|Wisconsin Whalers||Oregon, Wisconsin||Oregon Ice Arena||2004*|
|Coastal||Cape Cod Islanders||Falmouth, Massachusetts||Falmouth Ice Center||2008||2016|
|Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques||Lewiston-Auburn, Maine||Androscoggin Bank Colisee||2012*||2016|
|Long Beach Sharks||Long Beach, New York||Long Beach Ice Arena||2010||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|
|Frontier||Bozeman Icedogs||Bozeman, Montana||Haynes Pavilion||1996||2014|
|Butte Cobras||Butte, Montana||Butte Community Ice Center||2011||2014*|
|Gillette Wild||Gillette, Wyoming||Campbell County Ice Arena||2011||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|
|Northeast||Binghamton Jr. Senators||Binghamton, New York||Ice House Sports Complex||2013||2016*|
|Niagara Falls PowerHawks||Niagara Falls, New York||Hyde Park Arena||2014||2016*|
|Oswego Stampede||Oswego, New York||Anthony J Crisafulli Memorial Skating Rink||2011||2016*|
|Skylands Kings||Stockholm, New Jersey||Skylands Ice World||2015||2016|
|South||Atlanta Capitals||Sandy Springs, Georgia||Center Ice Arena||2013*|
|College Station Spirit||College Station, Texas||Spirit Ice Arena||2013*|
|Louisiana Drillers||Lafayette, Louisiana||Planet Ice Skating and Hockey Arena||2015|
|Mid-Cities Junior Stars||Euless, Texas||Dr. Pepper StarCenter||2013|
|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*|
|North Iowa Bulls||Mason City, Iowa||North Iowa Ice Arena||2011|
|Rochester Grizzlies||Rochester, Minnesota||Rochester Recreation Center||1996||2015|
|Willmar WarHawks||Willmar, Minnesota||Willmar Civic Center||2007||2011*|
Note: An asterisk (*) donates a franchise move. See respective team articles for more information.
The league championship trophy is the Fraser Cup. It was originally called the Hurster Cup during the league's time as the Central States Hockey League. In 2012, the cup was then renamed to the Silver Cup. In 2017, the league again renamed the championship to the Fraser Cup after long-time NAHL, NA3HL, and NAPHL Director of Hockey Administration, Robert ‘Fraser’ Ritchie. The winner of the Cup typically receives a bid to compete in the USA Hockey Tier III junior hockey National Championship Tournament, however, the tournament has not been held since 2015.
|Season||Playoffs 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|
|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|
|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|
|2005||St. Louis Jr. Blues||Jr. B||St. Louis Jr. Blues won Tier III Jr. B National Championship|
|2006||St. Louis Jr. Blues||Jr. B||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)
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||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||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||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||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)
Eliminated 2-1-0 in Round Robin, 2nd of 4, Pool I
|2011||Chicago Hitmen||Jr. A||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||No representatives sent to tournament|
|2013||North Iowa Bulls||Tier III||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||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||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|
|2017||Granite City Lumberjacks||Tier III Nationals not held in 2017|
|2018||Metro Jets||Tier III Nationals not held in 2018|
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.Battle Creek Revolution
The Battle Creek Revolution was a professional ice hockey team which played in the All American Hockey League. The team played its home games at Revolution Arena in Battle Creek, Michigan. The team was initially announced to play in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League for the 2008–09 season before the league folded in August 2008.
The organization also created a junior hockey team called the Battle Creek Jr. Revolution that played its first season in the North American 3 Hockey League in the 2010–11 season.Bozeman Icedogs
The Bozeman Icedogs are a Tier III Junior ice hockey team located in Bozeman, Montana. The team is a member of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The Icedogs play home games at the Haynes Pavilion located at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.Cape Cod Islanders
The Cape Cod Islanders are a Tier III junior ice hockey team from Falmouth, Massachusetts. They are a member of the North American 3 Hockey League and plays at the Falmouth Ice Arena.Glacier Ice Rink
The Glacier Ice Rink is a two-sheet ice arena located in Missoula, Montana. It is operated by the Missoula Area Youth Hockey Association (MAYHA), a non profit organization whose mission is to "provide recreational opportunities for learning and playing the game of hockey and other ice skating activities for children and adults in our community." The rink is open 10 months a year and offers youth and adult hockey leagues, hockey tournaments and public skating sessions. Glacier Ice Rink is also home to the Missoula Figure Skating Club, the Missoula Curling Club, the Missoula Referees Association, and the Women's Hockey Association of Missoula (WHAM).
From 2007 to 2016, it was also home to the Missoula Maulers junior hockey team before the team owner and MAYHA had a contract dispute and the team was shut down. The Maulers' owner Michael Burks had installed all the bleachers at the ice rink with his own funding, so after failing to negotiate a new contract, he removed the bleachers, forcing Glacier Ice Rink to raise funds for replacement seating.The Maulers were quickly replaced with an expansion team in the North American 3 Hockey League named the Missoula Jr. Bruins with new owners Jason and Liz DiMatteo.Great Falls Americans
This article is about the current NA3HL team. For the original WHL franchise of same name, see: Great Falls Americans (WHL).The Great Falls Americans are a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior A ice hockey team from Great Falls, Montana, playing at the Great Falls IcePlex in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The players, ages 16–20, carry amateur status under Junior A guidelines and hope to earn a place on a Canadian major junior, collegiate or minor professional team.Helena Bighorns
The Helena Bighorns are a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) based in Helena, Montana United States. The team plays their home games at the 1,600-seat Helena Ice Arena.
The Helena Bighorns were members of the NorPac from 2007 to 2011. In 2011, the American West Division of the NorPac league broke away to form the American West Hockey League. In March 2014, the NA3HL accepted the AWHL as a new Frontier Division.Jason Cirone
Jason Gerardo Cirone (born February 21, 1971 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian-born Italian ice hockey centre. He played for the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL and is the former head coach of the Metro Jets of the North American 3 Hockey League. He is currently head coach of the Midland University Men's hockey team in Fremont, Nebraska.Mid-Cities Junior Stars
The Mid-Cities Jr. Stars are a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior ice hockey team playing in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The team plays their home games at Dr. Pepper StarCenter in Euless, Texas.Missoula Maulers
The Missoula Maulers were a junior ice hockey team from Missoula, Montana. The team played in the Northern Pacific Hockey League, the American West Hockey League, and the Western States Hockey League. out of Missoula's Glacier Ice Rink.Michael Burks is the club's principal owner and president of operations. In 2016, Burks and the operators of the Glacier Ice Rink had a lease dispute and Burks decided to shut down the team rather than continue to fight the operators for a better contract. The Maulers were quickly replaced at the Glacier Ice Rink by a North American 3 Hockey League expansion team, named the Missoula Jr. Bruins, owned by Jason and Liz DiMatteo.NYTEX Sports Centre
The NYTEX Sports Centre is a 2,400 seat multi-purpose arena in North Richland Hills, Texas. It is home to the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League and the Texas Jr. Brahmas in the North American 3 Hockey League. The facility was designed by architect Kent Holcomb and built in 1999 as the Blue Line Ice Complex before being renamed in June 2006. It is owned by NYTEX Sports, a management firm based in New York City and Texas.New England Stars (junior hockey)
The New England Stars are a Tier III Junior "A" ice hockey team. The Stars play at the Skate 3 Arena located in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts as members of the North American 3 Hockey League.Oswego Stampede
The Oswego Stampede are a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The team plays out of Anthony J Crisafulli Memorial Skating Rink in Oswego, New York. The Stampede are owned by CNY Sports Management Inc. and coached by Mike Beavis.Peoria Mustangs
The Peoria Mustangs are a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III ice hockey team in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The team plays their home games at the Owens Center in Peoria, Illinois. The players, ages 16–20, carry amateur status under Junior A guidelines and hope to earn a spot on higher levels of junior ice hockey in the United States and Canada, Canadian major junior, collegiate, and eventually professional teams.St. Louis Jr. Blues
The St. Louis Jr. Blues are a Tier III ice hockey team in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The team plays their home games at the Affton Ice Rink in Affton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.Texas Jr. Brahmas
The Texas Junior Brahmas are a Tier III junior ice hockey team based in North Richland Hills, Texas, that plays in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) South Division. The team plays in the NYTEX Sports Centre and is owned by NYTEX Sports. NYTEX Sports also owns the NYTEX Sports Centre and the North American Hockey League's Lone Star Brahmas, with whom the Jr. Brahmas share the NYTEX Sports Centre.Willmar WarHawks
The Willmar WarHawks are a Tier III ice hockey team playing in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The team plays their home games at the Willmar Civic Center located in Willmar, Minnesota. NA3HL teams play a 48-game regular season, in addition to showcase and post-season games.Wisconsin Whalers
The Wisconsin Whalers are a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior A ice hockey team in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The team plays home games at the Oregon Ice Arena in Oregon, Wisconsin.Yellowstone Quake
The Yellowstone Quake is a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III junior ice hockey team playing in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The team plays their home games at Victor Riley Arena in Cody, Wyoming. The franchise is a non-profit corporation operated by the Park County Junior A Hockey Program.
Junior ice hockey leagues in North America
|Canadian Hockey League|
|United Hockey Union|