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This is the 2020-21 North American Hockey League season. This is the league's 36th season under this name and its 46th dating back to its founding as the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League in 1975 when the Michigan Junior Hockey League and the Wolverine Junior A Hockey League merged.

Restart of Play[]

On June 19th the league issued a release stating that it was intending to begin play in September as usual with the NAHL showcase in Blaine, Minnesota and play a full schedule and playoffs and that tryout camps would begin in July. However a delayed start of the season with a reduced schedule may be used if the circumstances warrant.[1] On July 27th the league announced a planned start date of October 9th with a full schedule planning on being played.[2]

On November 24th the Midwest Division had play halted until at least December 31st due to complication associated with the recently issued order by the state of Minnesota.[3]

Membership Changes[]

On October 15, 2019 the league announced the addition of a team to be based in Wichita Falls, Texas for the 2020-21 season.[4]On November 26, 2019 the league announced the team would be named the Wichita Falls Warriors.[5]

On February 28, 2020 the Topeka Pilots were announced as relocating to Kansas City area[6] and on May 6th announced the team would assume the Kansas City Scouts name.[7] The team plans on playing at the Kansas City Ice Center in Shawnee, Kansas for the 2020-21 season pending the completion of a new arena.

On May 6, 2020 the league announced that effective immediately the St. Cloud Blizzard would be renamed the St. Cloud Norsemen.[8] The team cited a lack of lead time to change the team identity for the 2019-20 season.

On May 11, 2020 the league announced the relocation of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights to Danbury, Connecticut where they will be renamed the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.[9]

On June 16, 2020 the El Paso Rhinos were added to the North American 3 Hockey League for the 2020-21 season from the Western States Hockey League. They will also join the league for the 2021-22 season.[10] On March 4, 2021 it was announced the team would also be inactive for the 2021-22 playing season, citing logistic issues with getting ready for 2021-22 and that they would focus on getting ready to begin play with the 2022-23 season.[11]

On August 24th the Corpus Christi IceRays announced they would be taking a one year leave of absence.[12]

On August 26th, the Kansas City Scouts announced they would be sitting out the 2020-21 season due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations.[13]

Also on August 26th, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs were reportedly relocating to Marshall, Minnesota for the 2020-21 season due to quarantine and testing restrictions in the state of Alaska making playing in Alaska not feasible.[14] The team will be based out of the Red Baron Arena and Expo for the season.[15] The team would return to the Big Dipper Ice Arena on April 22nd for the balance of the season.[16]

A few days later it was reported that the Kenai River Brown Bears were also relocating to an undisclosed location in Minnesota. The New Mexico Ice Wolves also announced that they would be relocating to El Paso, Texas due to restrictions in place in the state of New Mexico.[17]. They would end up using the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas as their home for part of the season. The Kenai River Brown Bears would later be announced as relocating operations to Anoka, Minnesota and would play their games at the Breezy Point Hockey Center in Breezy Point, Minnesota which lost their North American 3 Hockey League team after last season.[18] The Ice Wolves would return to the Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque with a game on April 8th[19] and remain there for the balance of the season. The Brown Bears would return to the Soldotna Sports Center with a game on April 23rd and play the balance of their home games there.[20]

On September 16, 2020 the Springfield Jr. Blues announced they would be suspending operations for the 2020-21 season citing the state of Illinois not allowing gatherings of 50 or more.[21]

Over the weekend of September 19-20, 2020 word was announced that the Jamestown Rebels were going dormant for the 2020-21 season. Based on the state of New York not allowing spectators at events this year and that USA Hockey would not sanction play in the state meaning it would not cover insurance for the teams in the state.[22] The Rebels announcement was being held off as the team owner was trying to find a temporary home in either South Dakota or Wisconsin.[23]

On March 5, 2021, the league announced the Board of Governors approval of the relocation of the Amarillo Bulls to Mason City, Iowa to be based out of the Mason City MPA. The ownership of the team already operates a team in the North American 3 Hockey League out of the arena. The former Amarillo Bulls will also take the name North Iowa Bulls.[24] On June 1st the NA3HL franchise was announced as being renamed the Mason City Toros.[25]

On March 22, 2021, the league announced the addition of the Anchorage Wolverines to the league for the 2021-22 playing season. The team will be a member of the Midwest Division. It appears the team is to be based out of the Sullivan Arena.[26]

On May 21, 2021, the league announced that the Kansas City Scouts (NAHL) had been sold and would be relocated to Amarillo, Texas taking the name Amarillo Wranglers as an homage to the former Amarillo Wranglers of the late 1960's and early 1970's and replacing the Amarillo Bulls who relocated to Mason City, Iowa for the 2021-22 season. The team will be based out of the Amarillo Civic Center.[27] The team will take to the ice for the 2021-22 season. as opposed to the Scouts who were planning on returning to play with the 2022-23 season.

Teams[]

Future and Dormant Teams[]

Standings[]

Central Division[]

Team GP W L OL SL GF GA Pts %
Aberdeen Wings 56 51 4 0 1 251 75 103 .920
Bismarck Bobcats 56 29 21 3 3 173 151 64 .571
Minnesota Wilderness 56 25 27 1 3 136 168 54 .482
Minot Minotauros 56 23 25 6 2 150 199 54 .482
Austin Bruins 56 22 26 5 3 159 187 52 .464
St. Cloud Blizzard 56 22 33 0 1 151 206 45 .402

Midwest Division[]

Team GP W L OL SL GF GA Pts %
Janesville Jets 48 31 13 4 0 183 144 66 .688
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 48 25 19 2 2 165 163 54 .563
Minnesota Magicians 48 24 21 3 0 144 153 51 .531
Kenai River Brown Bears 48 22 24 1 1 155 168 46 .479
Chippewa Steel 48 14 29 2 3 116 169 33 .344

East Division[]

Team GP W L OL SL GF GA Pts %
Johnstown Tomahawks 54 39 10 2 3 220 144 83 .769
Maine Nordiques 56 35 19 2 0 169 163 72 .643
New Jersey Titans 54 27 20 2 5 197 174 61 .565
Maryland Black Bears 54 25 21 6 2 146 159 58 .537
Northeast Generals 60 20 32 6 2 164 217 48 .400
Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks 54 20 27 6 1 148 187 47 .435

South Division[]

Team GP W L OL SL GF GA Pts %
Shreveport Mudbugs 56 38 11 2 5 205 139 83 .741
Lone Star Brahmas 56 38 16 2 0 172 132 78 .696
Wichita Falls Warriors 56 30 19 1 6 171 161 67 .598
Amarillo Bulls 56 29 18 3 6 159 166 67 .598
New Mexico Ice Wolves 56 21 30 3 2 147 184 47 .420
Odessa Jackalopes 56 12 36 4 4 117 190 32 .286

Robertson Cup Playoffs[]

Format[]

The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. The first place team plays the fourth place team and the second place team plays the third place team in a best-of-five series over two weekends (May 18-31). The division semifinal winners meet in a best-of-five series over two weekends (June 3-14). The division winners advance to the Robertson Cup tournament. The event will be held at the Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minnesota June 18 to 22, 2021. The teams are seeded 1 to 4 and are paired off 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in best-of-three series. The semifinal winners meet in a single championship game on June 22nd. The NAHL Top Prospects tournament will also part of the championship weekend.

Bracket[]

  Division Semifinals
(Best-of-Five)
Division Finals
(Best-of-Five)
Robertson Cup Semifinals
(Best-of-Three)
Robertson Cup Final
(Single Game)
                                     
C1  Aberdeen Wings 3  
C4  Minot Minotauros 2  
  C1  Aberdeen Wings 3  
  C2  Bismarck Bobcats 0  
C2  Bismarck Bobcats 3
C3  Minnesota Wilderness 0  
  1  Aberdeen Wings 2  
  4  Minnesota Magicians 0  
M1  Janesville 1  
M4  Kenai River Brown Bears 3  
  M4  Kenai River Brown Bears 2
  M3  Minnesota Magicians 3  
M2  Fairbanks Ice Dogs 0
M3  Minnesota Magicians 3  
  1  Aberdeen Wings 2
  2  Shreveport Mudbugs 4
S1  Shreveport Mudbugs 3  
S4  Amarillo Bulls 1  
  S  Shreveport Mudbugs 3
  S  Wichita Falls Warriors 0  
S2  Lone Star Brahmas 0
S3  Wichita Falls Warriors 3  
  2  Shreveport Mudbugs 2
  3  Maine Nordiques 0  
E1  Johnstown Tomahawks 2  
E4  Maryland Black Bears 3  
  E4  Maryland Black Bears 0
  E2  Maine Nordiques 3  
E2  Maine Nordiques 3
E3  New Jersey Titans 1  
Legend
  • C1, C2, C3, C4 – The teams from the Central Division
  • E1, E2, E3, E4 – The teams from the East Division
  • M1, M2, M3, M4 – The teams from the Midwest Division
  • S1, S2, S3, S4 – The teams from the South Division

Central Division Semifinals[]

Midwest Division Semifinals[]

East Division Semifinals[]

South Division Semifinals[]

Central Division Final[]

Midwest Division Final[]

East Division Final[]

South Division Final[]

Robertson Cup[]

The semifinal round and the championship game will be held June 18 to June 22 at the Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minnesota. The semifinal pairings are based upon regular season point percentage with the teams matched up 1st (Aberdeen) vs 4th (Minnesota) and 2nd (Shreveport) vs 3rd (Maine).

Semifinals[]

(Best-of-three - June 18-20)

Championship Game[]

(Single game - June 22nd)

References[]

  1. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29653
  2. http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29749
  3. https://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/midwest-division-play-paused/n-5653774
  4. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=27723
  5. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=28162
  6. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29100
  7. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29519
  8. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29502
  9. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29523
  10. https://www.aberdeennews.com/sports/professional/wings/nahl-approves-el-paso-texas-team-for-2021-22/article_2b1ce9be-b00a-11ea-8401-6bcd813acc2e.html
  11. https://www.kcscouts.com/271-2
  12. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29793
  13. http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29801
  14. https://thejuniorhockeynews.com/nahl-fairbanks-moves-to-marshall-minnesota/
  15. https://marshsports.com/fairbanksicedogs/
  16. http://nahl.com/game-center/#/game-summary/31188
  17. https://thejuniorhockeynews.com/nahl-has-two-more-temporary-relocations/
  18. https://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/weekly-sports-league-and-franchise-report/n-5642224
  19. http://nahl.com/game-center/#/game-summary/30956
  20. http://nahl.com/game-center/#/game-summary/31176
  21. http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=29842
  22. https://thejuniorhockeynews.com/nahl-jamestown-goes-dark/
  23. https://www.juniorhockey.com/news/news_detail.php?news_id=94040
  24. http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=31228
  25. http://www.na3hl.com/news/story.cfm?id=32028
  26. http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=31385
  27. http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=31948