Ice Hockey Wiki
North American 3 Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1988
No. of teams 48
Country(ies) Flag of the United States United States
Most recent champion(s) North Iowa Bulls (2016)
Official website

The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) is an American Tier III Junior "A" ice hockey league that consists of 34 teams from Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri. The NA3HL is a member of USA Hockey, and the winner of the NA3HL's playoffs goes on to play for the National Championship.

League History

The league began as the a Junior B-level league known as the Central States Hockey League (CSHL), during the early 1980s it was known as Metro Detroit Junior Hockey League.[1] but returned to the CSHL name until 2010. The league moved up from Junior B to Tier III Junior A status in the summer of 2007 because it was considered to be one of the top Junior B leagues in the United States. The past four years, the St. Louis Jr. Blues proved their dominance on the national stage winning the national championship four years in a row. The Jr Blues made history during the 2006-2007 season. They were the first team to win four consecutive national titles, breaking a record that was set over 60 years ago.

CSHL logo

During the 2008-2009 season, it was announced that the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins would be joining the CSHL for the 2009-2010 season, bringing the number of teams to 13. The league will return to 12 teams for 2010-11, as the Dubuque Thunderbirds franchise folded making room for the return of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in United States Hockey League.

On November 1, 2010 it was announced that the North American Hockey League would take control of the CSHL immediately. The NAHL-CSHL affiliation allows for a more structured Jr. 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).[2][3]

In May, 2011 it was announced that the Granite City Lumberjacks, Minnesota Flying Aces, North Iowa Bulls and the Twin City Steel would be joining the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) beginning with the 2011-2012 season bringing the total number of teams in the NA3HL to 16. [4] [5]

In a press release dated June 17, 2013 the league announce plans to expand with 4 teams in South Division for the 2013-14 season (two franchises in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, one in Houston, TX, and Topeka, KS). The league also announced the formation of a West Division for the 2014-15 season (two teams in Southern California, one in San Jose, Ca, and one in Phoenix, AZ). [6]

The NA3HL and the American West Hockey League announced in March of 2014 that the AWHL was being merged into the league forming its new Frontier Division.

The league announced on April 1, 2014 that the Battle Creek Revolution were being rebranded as the West Michigan Wolves.

The league announced in May 2014 that it would add three teams to its southern division for the 2014-15 season, the Point Mallard Ducks based in Decatur, Alabama, the Texas Brahmas based in North Richland Hills, Texas to be run by the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL, and a yet to be named team based in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville.  The Flint Jr. Generals were sold to the same ownership group that owns the Coulee Region Chill.  The team is being relocated to La Crosse, Wisconsin and being renamed the La Crosse Freeze.


The league expanded to 34 teams and went to six divisions.

The league announced the addition of a franchise out of Sandy Springs, Georgia to start play with the 2015-16 season but this team apparently fell through as no further mention was made of the franchise.

The league formally announced the addition of the Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts to the league on April 3, 2015.  The team will play in the South Division and be based out of the Swonder Ice Arena. The addition of Evansville will give the South Division 7 teams and the league overall 32 teams. The team is owned by the same ownership group that owns the Point Mallard Ducks organization.

The Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks were relocating to Wooster, Ohio and were to be renamed the Wooster OIlers (the organization originally had two teams with a second in the USPHL's Midwest division, which was eventually dropped.)

The Metro Jets franchise was relocating to Fraser, Michigan from Waterford, Michigan. The team did not announce any plans to change the team's name as both cities are in the greater Detroit area.

On May 21, 2015 the league added the Rochester Ice Hawks (formerly of the recently defunct Minnesota Junior Hockey League) as an expansion team for the 2015-16 season.

On May 22, 2015 the league announce the addition of the Lafayette, Louisiana based Louisiana Drillers as an expansion team.  The team will play out of the Planet Ice of Lafayette facility in Lafayette.

on June 15, 2015 the Topeka Capitals announced they were relocating to Atlanta, Georgia and were being renamed the Atlanta Capitals.  The team will play at the Center Ice Arena.  The move was made due to the league issuing a deadline for the team to commit to the league for 2015-16. The team was at an impasse with arena management over a new lease.

In early August the Dallas Jr. Stars were renamed the Euless Jr. Stars  when the organization was sold.


The league announced that it would add the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League en masse as full members for the 2016-17 season.

On May 22, 2016 a published report on the website [1] indicated that the league had approved the addition of a team to be known as the Missoula Bruins. Missoula has been the home of the Missoula Maulers of the Amateur Athletic Union-sanctioned Western States Hockey League since 2007 (joining from the American West Hockey League in 2013 after being founded in the NorPac in 2007. Apparently, the Maulers organization had decided to disband earlier in the month due to a lease dispute with the Glacier Ice Rink's operators. [7]

On May 24, 2016 the NA3HL announced that the Minnesota Flying Aces franchise had been sold to the owners of the Brookings Blizzard and Alexandria Blizzard (Chris and Mitri Canavati). As part of the announcement of the sale, the team was relocating to the Willmar Civic Center Arena in Willmar, Minnesota for the 2016-17 season.  The team would take the name Willmar WarHawks

Also on May 24th, the league announced that the Sugar Land Imperials had been sold to the same group that purchased the Chicago Bulldogs a few days earlier, and would be relocated to College Station, Texas and would become known as the College Station Spirit.

On May 26, 2016 the Wilkes-Barre Miners announced they were returning to Binghamton, New York and would be relabeled as the Binghamton Jr Senators which is the name the team had from 2005 to 2010 when the team was a member of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.


On March 18, 2017, the Lockport Express announced they would be relocating to the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion in Niagara Falls, New York for the 2017-18 season.  The release stated that the organization would also be developing lower level teams along with the ownership of the new arena.  The release stated that it was strictly a business decision and that there were no issues with the city or arena in Lockport.  The team was renamed the Niagara Falls PowerHawks on April 6th.

It was announced in April 2017, that the West Michigan Wolves were relocating to the The Summit Sports and Ice Complex in Dimondale, Michigan just outside of Lansing, Michigan and would be renamed the Lansing Wolves.

On April 26, 2017, it was announced that the league had approved the sale and relocation of the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs to Wausau, Wisconsin for the 2017-18 season.  The team was renamed the Wausau RiverWolves and will be based out of the Marathon County Arena in Wausau.  The new owners are also the owners of the New Ulm Steel.

On May 4, 2017, the sale of the Lewiston/Auburn Fighting Spirit was announced.  The team was renamed the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques as an homage to the former Maine Nordiques who played in the North American Hockey League (1973-1977) out of the same arena.

On, May 24, 2017 the Syracuse Stampede announced they were relocating to Oswego, New York and would be renamed the Oswego Stampede.  The team will be based out of the Anthony J Crisafulli Arena in Oswego.

On May 26, 2017, the league announced the sale and relocation of the Glacier Nationals from Havre, Montana to Butte, Montana  where they will be known as the Butte Cobras based out of the Butte Community Ice Center.  The Butte Amateur Hockey Association (BAHA) were the new owners of the team.  The BAHA had recently been given ownership of the Butte Cobras franchise that has played in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) since the 2014-15 season.  The WSHL team is being moved to the NA3HL with the acquired franchise rights from the Glacier Nationals.

On May 30, 2017, it was announced that the Euless Jr. Stars were sold and would be renamed the Mid-Cities Jr. Stars.

The East Coast Minutemen apparently have been removed from the league for the 2017-18 season as they are no longer listed (noticed on July 13, 2017) on the league website, the team's website is no longer active, and the facebook and twitter pages have not posted since the end of the playoffs from the 2016-17 season.  The team was listed on the website on June 6, 2017 [8]

The Butte Cobras folded due to a lack of players around September 8, 2017.[9]

The Billings Bulls folded on September 9, 2017. [10]

In mid-September the Cincinnati Thunder relocated to Dayton, Ohio and were renamed the Dayton Falcons[11]


The league announced its divisional alignment for the 2018-19 season on April 17, 2018.  The league alignment consisted of six divisions  with the East and Midwest divisions being abandoned.  The league was at 37 teams (down from 45 for 2017-18)  The three remaining teams (Evansville Jr. ThunderboltsPeoria Mustangs , and St. Louis Jr. Blues) from the Midwest Divsion were moved to the Central Division.

The North Iowa Bulls and the recently sold and renamed Rochester Grizzlies were moved from the Central to West Division

The whole East Division from 2017-18  are no longer listed on the league website.  The Lansing WolvesMetro Jets, Pittsburgh Vengeance, Southern Tier Xpress, Toledo Cherokee, and Wooster Oilers.  It was announced on April 19th that the teams joined the United States Premier Hockey League and would form a Great Lakes Conference within the Premier Division.

The Butte Cobras are announced as returning after being sold/donated to the Butte Amateur Hockey Association and having a problem with getting a large enough roster together for the 2017-18 season.  They will play in the Frontier Division. 

The Point Mallard Ducks who were in the South Division for 2017-18 were announced as being sold and relocated to Milwaukee for the 2018-19 season.  The team will be known as the Milwaukee Power and have been added to the Central Division.[12]

On April 30, 2018 the North American Hockey League announced that the Coulee Region Chill were sold and would be relocated about 90 miles (145km) north to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin playing out of the Chippewa Area Ice Arena.  The team is being renamed to the Chippewa Steel.  In a related move the La Crosse Freeze of the North American 3 Hockey League would become the Coulee Region Chill while remaining in La Crosse, Wisconsin.[13]

The Roc City Royals would fold after the 2017-18 season and be replaced in the area by the Rochester Rivermen who are based out of the Scottsville Ice Arena in nearby Scottsville, New York[14]  However, the team would fold sometime in early September before league play began.[15] The Wisconsin Whalers also folded in early September of 2018.[16]


On April 17, 2019 the league announced some realignment of teams and new organizations expected to join the leauge for the 2019-20 season:[17]



Many prominent college and pro hockey players have played in the CSHL at one point in their careers, including 2007 Hobey Baker Award finalist Eric Ehn (Metro Jets), Colorado Avalanche forward and 2010 U.S. Olympian Paul Stastny (St. Louis Jr. Blues) and Chris Butler (St. Louis Jr. Blues), now in the Calgary Flames' organization.

Current Teams

Realigned for 2019-20

Central Division
Team Location Arena
Coulee Region Chill La Crosse, Wisconsin Green Island Ice Arena
Milwaukee Power Mequon, Wisconsin Ozaukee Ice Center
Peoria Mustangs Peoria, Illinois Owens Recreation Center
St. Louis Jr. Blues Affton, Missouri Affton Ice Rink
Wausau RiverWolves Wausau, Wisconsin Marathon Park Arena
Coastal Division
Team Location Arena
Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Androscoggin Bank Colisée
Maine Wild Biddeford, Maine Biddeford Arena
New England Knights Raynham, Massachusetts Raynham IcePlex
New England Stars Tyngsborough, Massachusetts Skate 3
Northeast Generals Attleboro, Massachusetts New England Sports Village
Frontier Division
Team Location Arena
Bozeman Icedogs Bozeman, Montana Haynes Pavilion
Butte Cobras Butte, Montana Butte Community Ice Center
Gillette Wild Gillette, Wyoming Campbell County Ice Arena
Great Falls Americans Great Falls, Montana Great Falls Ice Plex
Helena Bighorns Helena, Montana Helena Ice Arena
Missoula Bruins Missoula, Montana Glacier Ice Rink
Sheridan Hawks Sheridan, Wyoming Sheridan Ice M&M’s Center
Yellowstone Quake Cody, Wyoming Victor J. Riley Arena
Northeast Division
Team Location Arena
Danbury Colonials Danbury, Connecticut Danbury Ice Arena
Elmira Jr. Soaring Eagles Elmira, New York Murray Athletic Center Arena
Long Beach Sharks Long Beach, New York Long Beach Municipal Ice Arena
Skylands Kings Stockholm, New Jersey Skylands Ice World
South Division
Team Location Arena
Atlanta Capitals Atlanta, Georgia Center Ice Arena
El Paso Rhinos El Paso, Texas El Paso County Coliseum
Louisiana Drillers Lafayette, Louisiana Planet Ice
Mid-Cities Jr. Stars Euless, Texas Children's Health StarCenter (Euless)
Texas Jr. Brahmas North Richland Hills, Texas NYTEX Sports Centre
Texas RoadRunners College Station, Texas Spirit Ice Arena
West Division
Team Location Arena
Alexandria Blizzard Alexandria, Minnesota Runestone Community Center
Breezy Point North Stars Breezy Point, Minnesota Breezy Point Hockey Center
Granite City Lumberjacks Sauk Rapids, Minnesota Armadillo Deck Sports Arena
New Ulm Steel New Ulm, Minnesota New Ulm Civic Center
North Iowa Bulls Mason City, Iowa North Iowa Ice Arena
Rochester Ice Hawks Rochester, Minnesota Rochester Recreation Center
Willmar WarHawks Willmar, Minnesota Willmar Civic Center Arena

Withdrew After Schedule Written

Team Location Arena
Canton Cubs Canton, Massachusetts Canton Sportsplex
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights Pittston, Pennsylvania Revolution Ice Centre


Fraser Cup

  • 2022 - Rochester Grizzlies
  • 2021 - North Iowa Bulls
  • 2020 - Playoffs cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2019 - Texas Jr. Brahmas
  • 2018 - Metro Jets

Silver Cup

  • 2017 - Granite City Lumberjacks
  • 2016 - North Iowa Bulls
  • 2015 - Granite City Lumberjacks
  • 2014 - North Iowa Bulls
  • 2013 - North Iowa Bulls
  • 2012 - Granite City Lumberjacks

Hurster Cup

  • 2011-Chicago Hitmen
  • 2010-St. Louis Jr. Blues
  • 2009-Dubuque Thunderbirds
  • 2008-Dubuque Thunderbirds
  • 2007-Dubuque Thunderbirds
  • 2006-St. Louis Jr. Blues
  • 2005-St. Louis Jr. Blues
  • 2004-St. Louis Jr. Blues
  • 2003-St. Louis Jr. Blues
  • 2002-Metro Jets
  • 2001-Metro Jets
  • 2000-St. Louis Jr. Blues
  • 1999-Toledo Cherokee
  • 1998-Motor City Chiefs
  • 1997-Toledo Cherokee
  • 1996-Motor City Chiefs
  • 1995-Toledo Cherokee
  • 1994-St. Louis Jr. Blues
  • 1993-Wayne Chiefs
  • 1992-Downriver Blades
  • 1991-Wayne Chiefs
  • 1990-Metro Jets
  • 1989-Lytes Rustlers
  • 1988-St. Louis Jr. Blues

See also


  7. Maulers owner explains decision to disband local hockey team. The Missoulian (May 14, 2016).