American Collegiate Hockey Association (logo).png

The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) is a chartered non-profit corporation that is the national governing body of non-varsity college ice hockey in the United States. The organization provides structure, regulations, promotes the quality of play, sponsors National Awards and National Tournaments.

The ACHA currently has three men's and two women's divisions and includes approximately 450 teams from across the United States. Teams offer no athletic scholarships and typically receive far less university funding.[1]

The ACHA offers an opportunity for college hockey programs that struggle with large budgets and Title IX issues, as an alternative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) structure.[2] Many schools field separate teams in both the NCAA and ACHA.

Policies and regulation[edit | edit source]

The ACHA's primary mission is to support the growth of two-year and four-year collegiate hockey programs nationwide. The ACHA identifies standards that serve to unite and regulate teams at the collegiate level. The ACHA emphasizes academic performance, institutional sanction, eligibility criteria, and standards of play and opportunities for national competition, and the ACHA promotes all aspects of collegiate hockey stressing the personal development of individual athletes as well as national recognition for member organizations. In order to do this, the ACHA has developed organizational by-laws and a Policies and Procedures Manual to provide the policy foundation for the organization as it works to fulfill its purpose. These documents are reviewed yearly at the ACHA's annual meeting.

The ACHA's policies cover team and player eligibility, rules of play, ranking procedures, national tournament procedures, and other administrative issues, although the ACHA parallels the NCAA Division III with most eligibility requirements, gameplay rules, etc. The league holds its annual meeting in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Hockey Coaches Association, in the month of April in Naples, Florida.

ACHA history[edit | edit source]

The ACHA was established on April 20, 1991. Fifteen charter members met during the Chicago Showcase in Skokie, Illinois at the North Shore Hilton. These member teams had been playing college hockey for many years but wished to legitimize its play by standardizing some of its procedures.

The members that created the organization were: Tom Keegan (ACHA), Al Murdoch (Iowa State), Joe Battista (Penn State), Jim Gilmore (Ohio), Ernie Ferrari (Stanford), Howard Jenks (California-Berkeley), Jeff Aikens (North Dakota State), Don Spencer (West Virginia), Jim Barry (Navy), Scott Fuller (Navy), Leo Golembiewski (Arizona), Ron Starr (DePaul), Cary Adams (PCHA), Jim Warden (PCHA), and Jack White (UCLA).

The inaugural year of the ACHA was the 1991-1992 season. The goal of the organization was to create an impartial governing body to monitor national tournaments, player eligibility, and general oversight. Over the years the ACHA quickly grew to over 150 teams in three men's divisions.

A Women's Division was added in 2000 with a second Women's division being added for the 2006-2007 season.

By the 2001-2002 season, marking their 10th year anniversary, the ACHA had a total of 179 teams registered with 33 teams in Division 1, 100 teams in Division 2, 18 teams in Division 3, and 20 teams in the Women's Division.

By the 2002-2003 season that number raised to over 250 teams, with Division 3 adding over 80 teams alone.

By the 2003-2004 season the number raised to 278 teams: 40 teams in D-1, 124 teams in D-2, 87 teams in D-3, and 27 teams in the Women's Division.

By the summer of 2007 ACHA membership had reached 360 teams (M1-54, M2-190, M3-139, W1-32, W2-8), that cover 48 of the 50 states.

During the summer of 2009 the University of Alaska Fairbanks established a Women's Division 2 team becoming the 49th state in the ACHA. Hawaii is currently the only state without an ACHA team.

Every year since 2003, the Men's Division 1 Showcase has been an event that features some of the top teams in the ACHA.

ACHA partners with to broadcast many of the league's games and National Tournaments.[3]

In 2017, the ACHA adopted a new hosting format for holding the annual National Championship Tournament for all Men's & Women's Divisions. Then ACHA Executive Director Michael Walley championed an idea to hold all of the ACHA's National Championship Tournaments in 1 major U.S. city, in partnership with that city's National Hockey League team. The inaugural year saw the 2017 ACHA National Championship Tournament Festival held in Columbus, Ohio, in partnership with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets. Then ACHA Executive Director Michael Walley assumed the role of Tournament Director for the inaugural tournament. In July 2017, after undergoing a nationwide search, Russ Slagle was selected by the ACHA's Board of Directors and appointed to fill the vacant staff position of ACHA National Tournament Director.

Membership[edit | edit source]

A map of all ACHA D1 men's hockey teams.

A map of all ACHA D2 men's hockey teams.

A map of all ACHA D3 men's hockey teams.

A map of all ACHA D1 women's hockey teams.

A map of all ACHA D2 women's hockey teams.

The ACHA includes both Men's and Women's Divisions. The Men's side is made up of three Divisions: 1, 2, and 3. Division 3 was the last to be established in 1999. Each division has its own distinguishing set of guidelines which are explained below. The Women's side has two divisions. Division 1 began in 2000 and Division 2 is the most recent addition to the ACHA with its inception in 2006.

Despite most teams non-varsity status, the caliber of ACHA play can be quite high, especially in Division 1. Many large universities that do not sponsor hockey at the NCAA varsity level have become powerhouses, such as Ohio University and Illinois. Additionally, several universities that do sponsor NCAA varsity hockey teams also field an ACHA-affiliated teams. Of all non-varsity sports activities, the ACHA-affiliated hockey teams generally garner the most attention at their universities, such as Missouri State and Kentucky where it is the third largest spectator sport. The same can be said for the Arizona who draws the third largest fan base behind football and basketball.

All ACHA teams are members of USA Hockey and the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA).

Men's Divisions[edit | edit source]

  • ACHA Men's Division 1 comprises 57 teams. There are seven conferences along with Independent teams that compete annually for the Murdoch Cup, which is awarded to the Men's ACHA Division 1 National Champion. Twenty teams compete in the National Tournament. These top-twenty teams are ranked/selected by way of computer rankings, and as determined by auto-berths from the seven regular-season Conference champions. At Nationals, teams ranked 1-12 all receive first-round bye's, with teams ranked 13-20 matching up 20 vs 13 (etc.), for the rights to play in the second-round in pre-determined bracket slots.


  • ACHA Men's Division 2 is currently the largest division in the ACHA, it includes approximately 200 teams in 12 conferences and Independents. These teams are divided into four Regions (Central, Northeast, Southeast and West). A total of 16 teams qualify for the National Tournament, four from each region. Each month of the season a ranking of the top 15 teams in region is released. After the final ranking in February the top two seeds from each region earn an automatic berth into Nationals. Seeds 3-10 compete in their respective single-elimination Regional Tournaments, with the two teams who win both of their games also earning a Nationals berth. The National Tournament is a pool play format with the winners of each pool advancing to the semifinals. The semifinal match-ups are the winner of Pool A vs. Pool C and Pool B vs. Pool D.


  • ACHA Men's Division 3 consists of approximately 140 teams in ten conferences and Independents. These teams are also divided into four Regions (Atlantic, North, Pacific and South). A total of 16 teams qualify for the National Tournament in the same manner as Division 2. The National Tournament has also been conducted in the same manner as Division 2 since 2010. Before that it was single elimination and every team played four games. The one exception is the semifinals match-ups. The winner of Pool A plays the winner of Pool B and the winner of Pool C plays the winner of Pool D.


Women's Divisions[edit | edit source]

ACHA Women's Division 1 includes 23 teams for the 2016–17 season, with all but independents Liberty and McKendree playing in one of the three WD1 conferences. Eight teams qualify for the national tournament each season: automatic bids are awarded to the playoff champions of the Central Collegiate Women's Hockey Association and the Western Women's Collegiate Hockey League, with the remainder of the field determined by taking the highest-placing teams from the last of a series of weekly rankings (the rankings are calculated through a computer component and the consolidated opinion of the WD1 competition committee, with each weighted 50 percent). At nationals, the eight teams are paired off by ranking (1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc.) for a best-of-three first round, with the winners of those series advancing to the semifinals.


ACHA Women's Division 2 includes 41 teams for the 2016–17 season, with 27 standing as a member of one of four conferences. All teams are sorted into either the East Region (22 teams) or the West Region (19 teams). At the end of the year, the top six teams from each region in the final edition of a quarterly ranking (calculated similarly to the WD1 rankings, with an exception being that each region has its own competition committee) are invited to the ACHA National Tournament. The WD2 tournament differs from WD1 in that teams are divided into pools and play a round robin to determine the semifinalists.

East Region Conferences

West Region Conference

International competition[edit | edit source]

Players are selected from Men's ACHA schools to represent USA hockey in two different international competitions. The first is the ACHA Division 2 & Division 3 Selects Teams and the other is the World University Games team.[4]

The 27th edition of the World University Games will take place in Trentino, Italy from December 11-21, 2013. The event will mark the seventh consecutive time that the ACHA will represent the United States.[5] The World University Games team is composed mostly of Division 1 players and some Division 2 players.

The Division 2 & Division 3 Selects Teams alternate going over to Europe each year during the Holiday Break to play European teams. For the 2012-13 season it was the Division 3 teams turn to go to Europe. They played teams in Germany, Austria and Slovenia. For the 2013-14 season the Division 2 team will head off to Europe. The players are chosen from a round robin tournament in the spring usually in Pennsylvania. The tournament pits each conference's elite players against each other.

Logos[edit | edit source]

The original ACHA logo was created by Dave Kammerdeiner of the West Virginia University Art Department under the direction of Don Spencer for a cost of $50.

In August 2003, the ACHA held an official contest to design a new logo, with the winning school receiving free registration for the 2003-2004 season. The University of Washington's Husky Hockey team won the contest, with former graphic-design intern Tom Eykemans designing the new version of the logo (as shown above).

Men's champions[edit | edit source]

Division 1[edit | edit source]

ACHA Founded in 1991 - First ACHA Nationals held at Penn State University.

Year National Champion Runner-Up Location Host
1989–1990 Penn State Iowa State Athens, OH Ohio University
1990–1991 North Dakota State Arizona Tucson, AZ University of Arizona
1991–1992 Iowa State Michigan-Dearborn State College, PA Penn State University
1992–1993 North Dakota State Penn State Fargo, ND North Dakota State
1993–1994 North Dakota State Eastern Michigan Ames, IA Iowa State University
1994–1995 Ohio Penn State Tucson, AZ University of Arizona
1995–1996 Ohio Iowa State Athens, OH Ohio University
1996–1997 Ohio Iowa State Ann Arbor, MI Eastern Michigan University
1997–1998 Penn State Ohio Ames, IA Iowa State University
1998–1999 Vacated (Iowa State[6] ) Penn State Newark, DE University of Delaware
1999–2000 Penn State Eastern Michigan Minot, ND Minot State University
2000–2001 Penn State Delaware Tucson, AZ University of Arizona
2001–2002 Penn State Illinois Laurel, MD Towson University
2002–2003 Penn State Ohio Athens, OH Ohio University
2003–2004 Ohio Penn State Ames, IA Iowa State University
2004–2005 Illinois Penn State Bensenville, IL Robert Morris University (Illinois)
2005–2006 Rhode Island Penn State West Chester, PA West Chester University
2006–2007 Oakland Penn State Youngstown, OH Kent State University
2007–2008 Illinois Lindenwood Rochester, NY Monroe County Sports Commission
2008–2009 Lindenwood Illinois Gates Mills, OH Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
2009–2010 Lindenwood Iowa State Bensenville, IL Robert Morris University (Illinois)
2010–2011 Davenport Lindenwood Newark, DE University of Delaware
2011–2012 Delaware Oakland Strongsville, OH Kent State & Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
2012–2013 Minot State Lindenwood Bensenville, IL Robert Morris University (Illinois)
2013–2014 Arizona State Robert Morris (IL) Newark, DE University of Delaware
2014-2015 University of Central Oklahoma Stony Brook University Cleveland, Ohio John Carroll University
2015–2016 Lindenwood Iowa State Bensenville, IL Robert Morris University (Illinois)
2016–2017 Central Oklahoma Ohio Columbus, OH Columbus Blue Jackets, OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks, & Greater Columbus Sports Commission
2017-2018 Adrian College Illinois Columbus, OH Columbus Blue Jackets, OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks & Greater Columbus Sports Commission
Team Titles Years
Penn State 6 1990, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Ohio 4 1995, 1996, 1997, 2004
North Dakota State 3 1991, 1993, 1994
Lindenwood 3 2009, 2010, 2016
Central Oklahoma 2 2015, 2017
Illinois 2 2005, 2008
Adrian College 1 2018
Arizona State 1 2014
Minot State 1 2013
Delaware 1 2012
Davenport 1 2011
Oakland 1 2007
Rhode Island 1 2006
Iowa State 1 1992

Division 2[edit | edit source]

Year National Champion Runner-Up Host/Location
1991–1992 Toledo Kentucky DePaul University
1992–1993 Buffalo State Northern Iowa Iowa State University
1993–1994 Ferris State Colorado State Siena College
1994–1995 Colorado State Indiana Colorado State University
1995–1996 Western Michigan Life University University of South Florida
1996–1997 Life University Penn State University of Missouri
1997–1998 Life University Indiana Rutgers University
1998–1999 Life University Michigan State University of Utah
1999–2000 Miami (OH) Indiana Indiana University
2000–2001 Life University Weber State Indiana University
2001–2002 Life University Michigan New York University
2002–2003 Colorado Stony Brook University of Southern California
2003–2004 Oakland New York University University of Maryland
2004–2005 Michigan State Oakland Oakland University
2005–2006 Oakland Liberty Rochester County Sports Commission
2006–2007 Michigan State Davenport Colorado State University
2007–2008 Davenport Indiana Florida Gulf Coast University
2008–2009 Davenport Florida Gulf Coast Grand Valley State University
2009–2010 Davenport Central Connecticut State Super East Collegiate Hockey League
2010–2011 Grand Valley State Michigan State San Jose State University
2011–2012 Florida Gulf Coast Grand Valley State Florida Gulf Coast University
2012–2013 Michigan State Grand Valley State Saint Louis University
2013–2014 New Hampshire Florida Gulf Coast Northeastern University
2014–2015 New York University Northern Arizona University University of Utah
2015–2016 Florida Gulf Coast Liberty University West Chester University
2016–2017 NYU Liberty University Columbus, OH
2017–2018 Florida Gulf Coast Lindenwood University Columbus, OH
Team Titles Years
Life University 5 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002
Davenport 3 2008, 2009, 2010
Florida Gulf Coast 3 2012, 2016, 2018
Michigan State 3 2005, 2007, 2013
Oakland 2 2004, 2006
NYU 2 2015, 2017
New Hampshire 1 2014
Grand Valley State 1 2011
Colorado 1 2003
Miami (OH) 1 2000
Western Michigan 1 1996
Colorado State 1 1995
Ferris State 1 1994
Buffalo State 1 1993
Toledo 1 1992

Division 3[edit | edit source]

Year National Champion Runner-Up Host/Location
1999–2000 Butler Georgia Tech US Naval Academy
2000–2001 Wyoming South Dakota State Georgia Tech
2001–2002 Robert Morris (PA) Wyoming Georgia Tech
2002–2003 Muskegon College Hope College Muskegon Community College
2003–2004 Calvin College Georgia Arizona State University
2004–2005 Colorado Florida Gulf Coast California University (PA)
2005–2006 Wright State Northwood Fort Myers, FL
2006–2007 Kennesaw State Albany Fort Wayne, IN
2007–2008 California University (PA) San Diego State Rochester, MN
2008–2009 Saginaw Valley State Florida Gulf Coast Rochester, NY
2009–2010 Saginaw Valley State Hope College Fort Myers, FL
2010–2011 College of the Canyons Hope College Holland, MI
2011–2012 Adrian College Davenport Vineland, NJ
2012-2013 Adrian College Michigan-Flint Springfield, MO
2013-2014 Adrian College Hope College Coral Springs, FL
2014-2015 Michigan State Spartans Florida Gulf Coast University Pelham, AL
2015–2016 Oakland Aquinas College Grand Rapids, MI
2016–2017 Aquinas College Calvin College Columbus, OH
2017-2018 Hope College Oakland Columbus, OH
Team Titles Years
Adrian College 3 2012, 2013, 2014
Saginaw Valley State 2 2009, 2010
Hope College 1 2018
Aquinas College 1 2017
Oakland 1 2016
Michigan State 1 2015
College of the Canyons 1 2011
California University (PA) 1 2008
Kennesaw State 1 2007
Wright State 1 2006
Colorado 1 2005
Calvin College 1 2004
Muskegon College 1 2003
Robert Morris (PA) 1 2002
Wyoming 1 2001
Butler 1 2000

Women's champions[edit | edit source]

Division 1 champions[edit | edit source]

Year National Champion Runner Up Location
2000–2001 St. Cloud State Arizona State Wentzville, MO
2001–2002 Wisconsin St. Cloud State Alpharetta, GA
2002–2003 Michigan State Wisconsin Muskegon, MI
2003–2004 Wisconsin Rhode Island East Lansing, MI
2004–2005 Robert Morris (IL) Michigan State Buffalo, NY
2005–2006 Lindenwood University Robert Morris (IL) Wentzville, MO
2006–2007 Robert Morris (IL) Lindenwood University Amherst, MA
2007–2008 Lindenwood University Robert Morris (IL) Bensenville, IL
2008–2009 Lindenwood University Robert Morris (IL) Rochester, NY
2009–2010 Lindenwood University Michigan State Blaine, MN
2010–2011 Michigan State Northeastern University Kalamazoo, MI
2011–2012 Northeastern Minnesota Wooster, OH
2012–2013 Minnesota Liberty Ashburn, VA
2013–2014 Miami University Massachusetts Newark, DE
2014-2015 Liberty University Miami Redhawks York, PA
2015–2016 Miami University Grand Valley State Kalamazoo, MI
2016–2017 Miami University Liberty Columbus, OH
2017–2018 Liberty Adrian College Columbus, OH
Team Titles Years
Lindenwood 4 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010
Miami University 3 2014, 2016, 2017
Liberty 2 2015, 2018
Michigan State 2 2003, 2011
Robert Morris (IL) 2 2005, 2007
Wisconsin 2 2002, 2004
Minnesota 1 2013
Northeastern 1 2012
St. Cloud State 1 2001

Division 2 champions[edit | edit source]

Year National Champion Runner Up Location
2006–2007 St. Scholastica Minnesota-Duluth Amherst, MA
2007–2008 Rainy River College Minnesota-Duluth Bensenville, IL
2008–2009 Rainy River College St. Scholastica Rochester, NY
2009–2010 Northeastern Rainy River College Blaine, MN
2010–2011 Rainy River College West Chester Kalamazoo, MI
2011–2012 Wisconsin-Stout Alaska Wooster, OH
2012–2013 West Chester Penn State Ashburn, VA
2013–2014 Iowa State Penn State Newark, DE
2014-2015 North Dakota State West Chester York, PA
2015–2016 Minnesota-Duluth Rainy River CC Kalamazoo, MI
2016–2017 Lakehead North Dakota State Columbus, OH
2017–2018 Lakehead Minot State Columbus, OH
Team Titles Years
Rainy River CC 3 2008, 2009, 2011
Lakehead 2 2017, 2018
Minnesota-Duluth 1 2016
North Dakota State 1 2015
Iowa State 1 2014
West Chester 1 2013
Wisconsin-Stout 1 2012
Northeastern 1 2010
St. Scholastica 1 2007

Notable players in professional leagues[edit | edit source]

Player Position ACHA Team Years Professional Teams Years
Daniel Walcott[7] D Lindenwood (M1) 2012–2013 Selected #140 overall in the 5th round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers 2014
Michael Lebler[8] F Iowa State (M1) 2007–2011 EHC Black Wings Linz (Erste Bank Eishockey Liga) 2011–present
Anton Lidemar[9] F Lindenwood (M1) 2009–2010 Başkent Yıldızları SK (Turkish Hockey SuperLig) 2010–2011
Adam Kubalski[10] G UCLA (M2) 2003–2007 KH Sanok, KH Zagłębie Sosnowiec, KTH Krynica (Polish Hockey Superleague) 2007–2010
Justin Depretis[11] F Penn State (M1) 2001–2006 Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Wichita Thunder (CHL), Indiana Ice Miners (MAHL), Flint Generals (IHL) 2006–2009
Tom Boudreau[12] F Robert Morris-Illinois (M1) 2001–2005 Huddinge IK (Swedish Division 1), Indiana Ice Miners (MAHL), Reading Royals (ECHL), Bakersfield Condors (ECHL), Wichita Thunder (CHL), Jersey Rockhoppers (EPHL), Mississippi Surge (SPHL), Dayton Gems (CHL) 2006–2011
Curtiss Patrick[13] D Penn State (M1) 2001–2004 Johnstown Chiefs (ECHL), Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Wichita Thunder (CHL) 2004–2009
Glenn Detulleo[14] F Iowa State (M1) 2000–2001 Essen Mosquitoes (Oberliga), Berlin Capitals (Oberliga), Missouri River Otters (UHL), Quad City Mallards (UHL), Kalamazoo Wings (IHL), Elmira Jackals (UHL), Wichita Thunder (CHL), Mississippi RiverKings (CHL), Huntsville Havoc (SPHL) 2003–present
Mark Scally[15] G Penn State (M1) 1996–2000 Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Asheville Smoke (UHL), Johnstown Chiefs (ECHL), Texas Wildcatters (ECHL), Asheville Aces (SPHL), Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL) 2000–2006
Nick Pappas[16] F Penn State (M1) 1982–1985 Virginia Lancers (ACHL, AAHL), Skövde IK (Swedish Division 1), Hvidovre Ligahockey (AL-Bank Ligaen) 1986-1990

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  7. Player Profile: Daniel Walcott. Retrieved on June 28, 2014.
  8. Player Profile: Michael Lebler. Retrieved on March 5, 2012.
  9. Player Profile: Anton Lidemar. Retrieved on March 5, 2012.
  10. Player Profile: Adam Kubalski. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.
  11. Player Profile: Justin Depretis. Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.
  12. Player Profile: Tom Boudreau. Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.
  13. Player Profile: Curtiss Patrick. Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.
  14. Player Profile: Glenn Detulleo. Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.
  15. Player Profile: Mark Scally. Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.
  16. Player Profile: Nick Pappas. Internet Hockey Database. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.

External links[edit | edit source]

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