skip navigation

USA Junior Hockey Leagues

About Junior Hockey

USA Hockey's junior program provides opportunities for players ages 16-to-20 to hone and enhance their skills and is an important part of the organization's overall efforts related to player development. 

Currently, USA Hockey oversees three junior leagues, including the United States Hockey League (USHL), North American Hockey League (NAHL) and North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The USHL is the only Tier I junior hockey league in the United States while the NAHL is the only Tier II junior league in the U.S.  The NA3HL is the only Tier III junior hockey league.

The goals of junior hockey are to promote, develop and administer the domestic USA Hockey program for junior-aged players, teams and leagues.

The principal purpose of this development program is to prepare the athlete for career advancement either in a collegiate program or a professional opportunity. Junior hockey leagues/teams are certified, annually, by the Junior Council, in the following classifications: Tier I; Tier II; Tier III; and provisional for any of the foregoing classifications.

Junior League Homepages

Sponsored by United States Hockey League

United States Hockey League

Visit Website

Tier 1

Sponsored by North American Hockey League

North American Hockey League

Visit Website

Tier 2

Sponsored by North American 3 Hockey League

North American 3 Hockey League

Visit Website

Tier 3

The goals of Junior hockey as a program of USA Hockey are as follows: 

(1) Skill Development To provide talented young players with the opportunity to develop in an organized, structured, competitive and supervised environment. 

(2) Quality Coaching To provide considerable training time, quality coaching instruction and concerned oversight. 

(3) Social Maturity To provide players with a healthy, constructive environment in which to develop socially. 

(4) Educational Advancement To provide assistance and opportunities for the accomplishment of the participant’s educational goals. 

(5) Recruiting Exposure To provide players with exposure to collegiate and professional scouts and recruiters. 

(6) Advanced Competition To provide players with exposure to national and international competition. 

(7) Protection of Amateur Status To protect, most importantly, the amateur status of all participants under the rules and guidelines established by the International Ice Hockey Federation, USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, the NCAA, the NAIA and the National Federation of High Schools.

Junior Hockey News