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For the defunct leagues of the same name, please see United States Hockey League (1945–1951) and United States Hockey League (1961-1979).

United States Hockey League
USHL Logo (2016)
Sport Ice Hockey
Founded 1947
No. of teams 17
Country(ies) Flag of the United States United States
Most recent champion(s) Sioux Falls Stampede
Most championship(s) (overall) Waterloo Black Hawks (9)
(Clark Cup era) Omaha Lancers (7)
Official website www.ushl.com

The United States Hockey League (USHL) is the top junior ice hockey league in the United States. The USHL has 14 member teams located in the midwestern United States, consisting of players who are 20 years of age and younger. The USHL is strictly amateur, allowing former USHL players to compete in NCAA college hockey. The league is based out of Chicago, IL

The Sioux Falls Stampede won the 2006-07 USHL championship in an expanded, 12-team playoff format. The league reverted to an 8-team divisional playoff format for the 2007-08 season.

The Indiana Ice won the 2008-09 Clark Cup championship, defeating the Fargo Force 3 games to 1 in the finals. The Ice defeated the Anderson Cup champion Green Bay Gamblers in the semi-finals.

The Green Bay Gamblers won the 2009-10 Clark Cup championship, defeating the Fargo Force 3 games to 2 in the finals. The Gamblers also won the Anderson Cup that season.

USHL1

The league announced the addition of an expansion team based in Bloomington, IL, to be called the Bloomigton Thunder for the league's 2014-15 season. This team will probably replace the city's Southern Professional Hockey League team which has had difficulties in its one season in the league. The league had previously awarded and expansion team to Madison,Wisconsin to be called the Madison Capitols.

The President/Commissioner of the league, Bob Fallon stated in an interview with "The Pipeline Show" that the league was looking at the Indiana Ice returning for the 2016-17 season and the look was looking at the possibility of expanding by two teams for the 2017-18 season. He stated that the expansion would not be outside of the current footprint of the league. Putting an end to speculation that the league was looking to expand further east than Youngstown, Ohio. Specifically stating that Youngstown is the furthest eastern team within the league, and travel beyond that is not likely to happen.

The league is reported to be interested in placing a team in a new facility that is scheduled to begin construction in Coralville, Iowa late in 2016. The facility, with a working name of Iowa Sports Arena Project is planned to be completed in mid-2019. The facility is planned to also be the home of the Iowa Hawkeyes men's ice hockey program which is believed to be elevating to varsity status upon completion of the arena.

Another city on the league radar is Racine, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association are working on trying to find a location for their minor league affiliate and a proposal for a 3,800 seat arena in Racine has been mentioned. The owner of the Minnesota Wild, Craig Leipold has stated he would help bring a USHL team to Racine if the facility is built. The Bucks later chose to house their affiliate in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, Despite the decision the city was going forward with plans until on November 17, 2017 when the newly elected mayor, Cory Mason, vetoed the funding plans for the facility which was part of a ten year capital improvement plan for the city's downtown area.

Rochester, Minnesota also completed a survey on the potential of a new arena which could be home to both a USHL and a Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA affiliated NBA G-League team.[1]

On February 28, 2019 the ownership of the Central Illinois Flying Aces announced they would not be renewing the lease at the Grossinger Motors Arena and would be sitting out the 2019-20 season. The team stated it is evaluating opportunities to resume play for the 2020-21[2]

See also: List of USHL Seasons.

OperationsEdit

The USHL is the country's top junior hockey league, classified as Tier I. Like comparable entities such as the Canadian Hockey League (CHL)'s three member leagues, the USHL offers a schedule of high-level, competitive games for top players aged 16 to 20. Unlike the CHL, it does not pay a stipend to its players, who thus retain amateur status and are eligible to play in the NCAA.[3]

USHL teams, which are typically located in mid-sized cities (see map of team locations), pay for all uniforms and equipment. Players live with local families, who receive a small stipend for food expenses, and either continue school or work part-time jobs. Due to their schedules, more than 90% of games are on weekends, which many NHL and college scouts attend. Average attendance at regular season games for the 2014-15 season was 2,715 with 1,384,820 fans attending games during the season. [4]

One hockey analyst stated that the USHL's first line players are as good as their counterparts in the CHL—historically an important producer of NHL players—but that the Canadian league has better third and fourth lines. In 2006, Trevor Lewis, the 17th pick in the NHL Entry Draft, was the first USHL player to sign an NHL contract immediately after playing in the league.

At the conclusion of the 2014-15 regular season, the USHL has tallied 251 Alumni that have played in the NHL and has 347 current players with NCAA College Commitments.[5]

DraftEdit

The USHL Draft is an annual event conducted in two “phases” during the second week of May.[6] The first phase is an eight round draft of U-17 players for the upcoming season. The second phase of the draft is open to all players eligible to play junior hockey who are not already protected by a USHL team. The number of players drafted varies, as each team will draft until they have filled the 45 spots available on their roster. Undrafted players are open to try out for any team as a try-out player. Each team must reduce their roster to 23 players for the start of the season, but may carry 18 additional players on an affiliate list.[7]

United States Hockey League (1961-1979)Edit

The United States Hockey League (USHL) operated as a senior ice hockey league 1961 to 1979.[8]

The USHL welcomed the first female professional hockey player in 1969-70, when the Marquette Iron Rangers signed Karen Koch.[9]

By the late 1970s, the USHL had fallen on hard times. In the summer of 1977, clubs from the recently folded Midwest Junior Hockey League contacted the USHL. A unique merger was formed, with the three junior teams (Bloomington Junior Stars, Austin Mavericks, St. Paul Vulcans) and three remaining pro teams (Sioux City Musketeers, Waterloo Black Hawks, Green Bay Bobcats) gathered under the USHL banner. League governors decided on a two-division format, with the junior-aged teams in the Midwest Division and the professionals in the U.S. Division. The teams played an interlocking schedule that was, predictably, dominated by the professionals. The USHL's split existence would last just two seasons. The minor-pro wing of the league folded following the 1978-79 season, providing junior hockey operators with the opportunity to redefine the circuit. The 1979-80 season was the league's first as an entirely junior arrangement.[10]

The league's last season as a senior hockey league was 1978-79. During this final season the league comprised seven teams in two conferences. The U.S. Conference (with the Green Bay Bobcats, the Sioux City Musketeers and the Waterloo Black Hawks); while the Midwest Conference (with the Anoka Nordiques, the Austin Mavericks, the Bloomington Junior Stars, and the St. Paul Vulcans. All seven teams were made up with players categorized as "Senior Amateur".[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] Following the 1978-79 season the senior league teams in the U.S. Conference folded and the USHL became an all-junior league the following season.[18]

TeamsEdit

Eastern Conference
Team Founded Arena City
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 1983 Cedar Rapids Ice Arena Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Chicago Steel 1996 Fox Valley Ice Arena Geneva, Illinois
Dubuque Fighting Saints 2010 Mystique Ice Center Dubuque, Iowa
Green Bay Gamblers 1994 Resch Center Green Bay, Wisconsin
Madison Capitols 2014 Bob Suter's Capitol Ice Arena Madison, Wisconsin
Muskegon Lumberjacks 2010 L. C. Walker Arena Muskegon, Michigan
USA Hockey National Team Development Program 1996 USA Hockey Arena Plymouth, Michigan
Youngstown Phantoms 2003 Covelli Centre Youngstown, Ohio
Western Conference
Team Founded Arena City
Des Moines Buccaneers 1980 Buccaneer Arena Urbandale, Iowa
Fargo Force 2008 Scheels Arena Fargo, North Dakota
Lincoln Stars 1996 Ice Box Lincoln, Nebraska
Omaha Lancers 1986 Ralston Arena Ralston, Nebraska
Sioux City Musketeers 1972 Gateway Arena Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux Falls Stampede 1999 Denny Sanford PREMIER Center Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Tri-City Storm 2000 Viaero Event Center Kearney, Nebraska
Waterloo Black Hawks 1962 Young Arena Waterloo, Iowa
Dormant Teams
Team Founded Arena City
Central Illinois Flying Aces 2014 Grossinger Motors Arena Bloomington, Illinois
Indiana Ice 2004 Lyceum Pavilion Indianapolis, Indiana

Past teamsEdit

Team City Years
Anoka Nordiques Anoka, Minnesota 1978–79 replaced by junior Hennepin Nordiques
Austin Mavericks Austin, Minnesota 1977–79 continue as jr team
Bloomington Junior Stars Bloomington, Minnesota 1977–79 become Jr. Stars
Calumet-Houghton Chiefs Calumet, Michigan 1972–73 become Copper-Country Islanders
Central Wisconsin Flyers Stevens Point, Wisconsin 1974–76 withdrew
Chicago Warriors Chicago, Illinois 1972–75 withdrew
Copper-Country Chiefs Calumet, Michigan 1974–76 withdrew
Copper-Country Islanders Calumet, Michigan 1973–74 become Copper-Country Chiefs
Des Moines Oak Leafs Urbandale, Iowa 1968–69 city has IHL team
Duluth Port Stars Duluth, Minnesota 1968–69 (Duluth dropped out of league on December 30, 1968)[19]
Fox Valley Astros Dundee, Illinois 1965–66 withdrew
Grand Rapids Blades Grand Rapids, Michigan 1976–77 folded
Grand Rapids Bruins Grand Rapids, Minnesota 1968–69 withdrew
Green Bay Bobcats Green Bay, Wisconsin 1961–79 folded
Madison Blues Madison, Wisconsin 1973–74 (transferred to Continental Hockey League)
Marquette Iron Rangers Marquette, Michigan 1964–76 withdrew
Milwaukee Admirals Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1973–77 (transferred to IHL)
Milwaukee Metros Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1961–62 (Milwaukee folded Jan 16, 1962, due to financial trouble)[20]
Minneapolis Rebels Minneapolis, Minnesota 1961–62 withdrew
Minnesota Nationals Saint Paul, Minnesota 1967–68 (U.S. 1968 Olympic team[21])
Rochester Mustangs Rochester, Minnesota 1961–70 withdrew
Sault Ste. Marie Canadians Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 1968–72
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 1972–73
Sioux City Musketeers Sioux City, Iowa 1972–79 replaced by new junior franchise with same name
St. Paul Steers Saint Paul, Minnesota 1962–66
Thunder Bay Twins Thunder Bay, Ontario 1970–75 (transferred to OHA)
Traverse City Bays Traverse City, Michigan 1975–77
U.S. Nationals Saint Paul, Minnesota 1966–67
Waterloo Black Hawks Waterloo, Iowa 1962–69, 1970–79


Team TimelineEdit

Team Centre Arena Seasons Fate
Austin Mavericks Austin, Minnesota Riverside Arena 1979-1985 relocated to Rochester, Minnesota; renamed Rochester Mustangs (junior)
Bloomington Junior Stars Bloomington, Minnesota Bloomington Ice Garden 1979-1984renamed Minneapolis Stars
Green Bay Bobcats Green Bay, Wisconsin Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena 1979-1981fold
Hennepin Nordiques New Hope, Minnesota New Hope Ice Arena 1979-1980relocated to Waterloo, Iowa; renamed Waterloo Black Hawks
St. Paul Vulcans St. Paul, Minnesota Augsburg Ice Arena 1979-1995renamed Twin City Vulcans
Sioux City Musketeers Sioux City, Iowa Sioux City Municipal Auditorium (1979-2003) Fleet Farm Arena (2003-present) (known as Gateway Arena 2003-2019) 1979-present
Waterloo Black Hawks Waterloo, Iowa McElroy Auditorium 1979-1980relocated to Dubuque, Iowa; renamed Dubuque Fighting Saints (1980-2001)
Des Moines Buccaneers Urbandale, Iowa Buccaneer Arena 1980-present
Dubuque Fighting Saints (1980-2001) Dubuque, Iowa Five Flags Arena 1980-2001relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, renamed Tulsa Crude
Waterloo Black Hawks Waterloo, Iowa McElroy Auditorium (1980-1994) Young Arena (1994-present) 1980-present
North Iowa Huskies Mason City, Iowa North Iowa Ice Arena 1983-1999relocated to Cedar Rapids, Iowa; renamed Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Madison Capitols (1984-1995) Madison, Wisconsin Hartmeyer Ice Arena 1984-1991renamed Wisconsin Capitols
Minneapolis Stars Minneapolis, Minnesota Bloomington Ice Garden 1984-1985folded
Thunder Bay Flyers Thunder Bay, Ontario Fort William Gardens 1984-2000 fold
Rochester Mustangs (junior) Rochester, Minnesota Rochester Recreation Center 1985-2002 fold
Omaha Lancers Omaha, Nebraska Omaha Civic Auditorium 1986-2002renamed River City Lancers when relocated to Council Bluffs, Iowa
Wisconsin Capitols Madison, Wisconsin Hartmeyer Ice Arena 1991-1995
Green Bay Gamblers Green Bay, Wisconsin Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena (1994-2002), Resch Center (2002-present 1994-present
Fargo-Moorhead Bears Moorhead, Minnesota Moorhead Sports Center 1995-1996fold
Twin City Vulcans Bloomington, Minnesota Bloomington Ice Garden 1995-2000relocated to Kearney, Nebraska; renamed
Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks Fargo, North Dakota John E. Carlson Coliseum 1996-2000
Lincoln Stars Lincoln, Nebraska Ice Box (arena) 1996-present
USA Hockey National Team Development Program Ann Arbor, Michigan Ann Arbor Ice Cube 1997-2002withdrew to play in North American Hockey League
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Cedar Rapids, Iowa Cedar Rapids Ice Arena 1999-present
Sioux Falls Stampede Sioux Falls, South Dakota Denny Sanford PREMIER Center 1999-present
Chicago Steel Bensenville, Illinois Edge Ice Arena 2000-2015relocated to Geneva, Illinois with no name change
Tri-City Storm Kearney, Nebraska Viaero Event Center (known as Tri-City Arena 2000–200?
Kearney Event Center 200?–200?
FirsTier Event Center 200?–2009)
2000-present
Topeka Scarecrows Topeka Scarecrows Landon Arena 2001-2003 relocated to Chesterfield, Missouri'; renamed St. Louis Heartland Eagles
Tulsa Crude Tulsa, Oklahoma 2001-2002fold
River City Lancers Council Bluffs, Iowa Mid-America Center 2002-2004revert to Omaha Lancers name
Danville Wings Danville, Illinois David S. Palmer Arena 2003-2004relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana; renamed Indiana Ice
St. Louis Heartland Eagles Chesterfield, Missouri The Summit Center 2003-2004suspend operations for 2004-05; fold after being unable to find a new arena in St. Louis area
Indiana Ice Indianapolis, Indiana Indiana Farmers Coliseum (2004-2012), Pan American Arena (2012-2014) and Bankers Life Fieldhouse 2004-2014suspend operations pendiing construction of new arena; still waiting as of 2019-20 season
Omaha Lancers Council Bluffs, Iowa Mid-America Center 2004-2009fold
Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets Columbus, Ohio Nationwide Arena 2006-2008suspend operations; fold when unable to find suitable arena
Fargo Force Fargo, North Dakota Scheels Arena (known as Urban Plains Center 2008-2010) 2008-present
Youngstown Phantoms Youngstown, Ohio Covelli Centre 2009-present
USA Hockey National Team Development Program Ann Arbor, Michigan (2009-2015) Plymouth, Michigan (2015-present) Ann Arbor Ice Cube (2009-2015) USA Hockey Arena (2015-presnt) 2009-present
Dubuque Fighting Saints (2010) Dubuque, Iowa Mystique Ice Center 2010-present
Muskegon Lumberjacks (2010–) Muskegon, Michigan L.C. Walker Arena 2010-present
Bloomington Thunder (USHL) Bloomington, Illinois U.S. Cellular Coliseum 2014-2017renamed Central Illinois Flying Aces
Madison Capitols (2014) Madison, Wisconsin (2014-2017), Middleton, Wisconsin (2017-present) Alliant Energy Center (2014-2017) Bob Suter's Capitol Ice Arena (2017-present) 2014-present
Chicago Steel Geneva, Illinois Fox Valley Ice Arena 2015-present
Central Illinois Flying Aces Bloomington, Illinois Grossinger Motors Arena 2017-2019suspend operations

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