Celebrating its 47th season in 2021-22, the North American Hockey League is the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league boasting 29 teams in 17 states from across North America.
The NAHL is part of the USA Hockey National Junior Development Model, which includes the USHL and the US National Team Development Program. The NAHL works closely with NCAA College Hockey, the NHL, the USHL, and USA Hockey’s National Development Program in order best serve as an imperative piece in the development system for collegiate and professional hockey.
During the 2019-20 season, the NAHL set a new single-season record with 361 NCAA commitments, with over 70% of those (249) being NCAA Division I commitments, also a new single-season record. Additionally, 34% of all Division I freshman played hockey in the NAHL. Over the course of the last five seasons, 1,500+ NAHL players have made NCAA commitments and 30 have been drafted into the NHL.
All NAHL hockey teams are privately owned and operate as a business similar in structure and business operations as those involving professional hockey teams. Such operations include ticket sales, corporate sales, broadcasting, and community-based initiatives and outreach programs. NAHL athletes are provided the opportunity to develop, learn, train, grow and succeed, while playing for free.
The NAHL’s dedication to player development is demonstrated by the league’s high-profile annual exposure events like the NAHL Showcase in September, the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, and the NAHL Robertson Cup Championship, which have all evolved into hockey’s most prominent and popular of its kind and are a must-see for NCAA programs and NHL teams alike.
The NAHL is unique in the fact that a vast majority of players begin their NAHL careers without an NCAA opportunity, but earn one through the course of their development in the league.