North American 3 Hockey League
Current season, competition or edition:|
|No. of teams||48|
|North Iowa Bulls (2015–16)|
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.
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 Jr. 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 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.
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.
Note: An asterisk (*) donates a franchise move. See respective team articles for more information.
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|
|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|
- Battle Creek Jr. Revolution (Battle Creek, Michigan; 2010–14). Joined as an expansion team in 2010 after initially planning on joining the Northern Junior Hockey League. Renamed West Michigan Wolves in 2014.
- Chicago Force (Rolling Meadows, Illinois; 2004–10). Organization obtained a Tier II North American Hockey League franchise and named it the Chicago Hitmen. The organization would also rename its Tier III CSHL franchise to match.
- Chicago Hitmen (Rolling Meadows, Illinois; 2010–12). Organization ceased operations of both their Tier II and Tier III franchises prior to the 2012–13 season.
- Cincinnati Cobras (Cincinnati, Ohio; 1999–2006). Renamed Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones.
- Cincinnati Jr. Cyclones (Cincinnati, Ohio; 2006–07). Folded and replaced by Queen City Steam.
- Cincinnati Swords (Cincinnati, Ohio; 2013–15). Renamed Cincinnati Thunder in 2015.
- Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks (Strongsville, Ohio; 2004–15). Franchise purchased by the Wooster Oilers.
- Columbus Crush (Columbus, Ohio; 1998–2003). Became Columbus Stars.
- Columbus Jr. "B" Blue Jackets (Columbus, Ohio; 2004–07)
- Columbus Stars (Columbus, Ohio; 2003–04). Became Jr. "B" Blue Jackets.
- Dubuque Thunderbirds (Dubuque, Iowa; 2006–10). Joined from the Minnesota Junior Hockey League. Ceased operations after they were replaced by a Tier I United States Hockey League team, the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
- Dallas Jr. Stars (Euless, Texas; 2013–15). Renamed to Euless Junior Stars in 2015 by new owners.
- Flint Jr. Generals (Clayton Township, Michigan; 1998–2014). Sold and relocated to La Crosse, Wisconsin, and became the La Crosse Freeze.
- Grand Rapids Owls (Byron Center, Michigan; 1993–2010). Suspended operations prior to the start of the 2010–11 season.
- Michigan Ice Dogs (Farmington Hills, Michigan; 2003–08). Moved to the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (2008–12), then the Midwest Junior Hockey League (2012–15), and then joined the USPHL-Midwest Division for 2015–16 as the Michigan Wild.
- Michigan Mountain Cats (Farmington Hills, Michigan; 2010–14). Franchise sold and relocated to Jamestown, New York, as the Southern Tier Xpress
- Minnesota Flying Aces (Little Falls, Minnesota; 2011–16). Joined from the Minnesota Junior Hockey League in 2011, franchise purchased and relocated to Willmar, Minnesota, in 2016.
- Motor City Chiefs (Dearborn Heights, Michigan; 1985–2010). Franchise was sold and renamed Michigan Mountain Cats.
- New York Aviators (Brooklyn/Brewster, New York). Franchise joined from the NA3EHL in 2016. Relocated to Long Beach, New York, to become the Long Beach Sharks after joining the NA3HL.
- Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins (Harmarville, Pennsylvania; 2009–12). The Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins organization created a Junior A level team to compete in the CSHL in 2009. Renamed to Three Rivers Vengeance in 2012.
- Quad City Express (Davenport, Iowa; 2004–07). Renamed Jr. Flames after the American Hockey League team, the Quad City Flames.
- Quad City Jr. Flames (Davenport, Iowa; 2007–13). Relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, and renamed to the Wisconsin Whalers.
- Queen City Steam (Cincinnati, Ohio; 2007–13) Renamed Cincinnati Swords after the merger of two youth hockey programs in the Cincinnati area.
- Sugar Land Imperials (Sugar Land, Texas; 2013–16). An expansion team from 2013, the franchise was purchased and relocated to College Station, Texas, and renamed College Station Spirit in 2016.
- Three Rivers Vengeance (Harmarville, Pennsylvania; 2012–13). Renamed Pittsburgh Vengeance after one season.
- Topeka Capitals (Topeka, Kansas; 2013–15). Franchise relocated to Sandy Springs, Georgia, and renamed to Atlanta Capitals in 2015.
- Twin City Steel (White Bear Lake, Minnesota; 2011–16). Franchise relocated to New Ulm, Minnesota, and renamed New Ulm Steel in 2016.
- Wayne Wheels/Wheelers (Wayne, Michigan; 1998–2003). Renamed Michigan Ice Dogs.
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Miners (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania). Franchise joined from the NA3EHL in 2016. Relocated to Binghamton, New York, to become the Binghamton Jr. Senators. after joining the NA3HL.
- "Quad City Jr. Flames To Be Renamed The Wisconsin Whalers". The Junior Hockey News. 24 May 2013.
- Fitts, Colin (May 24, 2014). "NA3HL Club Arrives In Nashville". The Hockey Writers. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- "AWHL joins NA3HL". Billings Gazette. 21 March 2014.
- "ThunderBolts hockey team introduces owner, head coach". Evansville Courier & Press. 23 July 2015.
- "NA3HL approves expansion membership to Rochester Ice Hawks". Junior Hockey News. May 21, 2015.
- "NA3HL approves expansion membership to Louisiana Drillers". Junior Hockey News. May 22, 2015.
- "NA3EHL to join NA3HL for the 2016-17 season". NA3HL. March 4, 2016.
- "New Missoula junior hockey team approved". The Montana Standard. May 21, 2016.
- "page":4,"issue_id":177948} "A Team Grows in Brooklyn". Junior Hockey Magazine. October 2013.
- "Junior B Silver Cup". Retrieved March 25, 2016.
- "2006 Tier III Junior B Nationals". Pointstreak. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "2007 Tier III Junior B Nationals". Pointstreak. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "2008 Tier III Junior A Nationals". Pointstreak. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "2009 Tier III Jr. A Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
- "2010 Tier III Jr. A Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
- "2011 Tier III Jr. A Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "2012 Tier III Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
- "2013 Tier III Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "2014 Tier III Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "2015 Tier III Junior Nat. Championships". USA Hockey. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
- "West Michigan Wolves era in NA3HL to begin in 2014-15". NA3HL. April 1, 2014.
- "Chicago Hitmen will not play in 2012-13". NA3HL. May 11, 2012.
- "Cincinnati team in NA3HL renamed the Thunder". NA3HL. April 10, 2015.
- "NA3HL approves sale and relocation of Cleveland to Wooster, Ohio". NA3HL. February 15, 2015.
- "NA3HL's Jr. Stars purchased by Chill, Freeze ownership". NA3HL. August 4, 2015.
- "NA3HL approves sale and relocation of Flint to La Crosse, WI". NA3HL. May 6, 2014.
- "NA3HL approves sale and relocation of Mountain Cats to Jamestown, NY". NA3HL. March 10, 2014.
- "NA3HL's Flying Aces purchased, relocated by NAHL Blizzard ownership". Junior Hockey News. May 24, 2016.
- "Mountain Cats continue to make great strides". NA3HL. April 21, 2011.
- "Quad City Jr. Flames to relocate to Madison, Wisconsin". NA3HL. May 2, 2013.
- "Queen City Steam to become the Cincinnati Swords". NA3HL. April 16, 2013.
- "Sugar Land Imperials purchased and relocated to College Station, TX". Junior Hockey News. May 24, 2016.
- "Topeka Capitals to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia". NA3HL. June 16, 2015.