COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Hockey and the North American Hockey League have announced an enhanced long-term partnership agreement that will further improve the junior hockey development program in the United States.
“The North American Hockey League has been, and continues to be, an important part of the ladder of development in our country,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “We’re excited about the future and look forward to continued collaboration with the league in all areas of the game.”
As part of the enhanced partnership, USA Hockey will provide additional resources to the NAHL to continue to improve all facets of the league, including player development, coaching, officiating and overall visibility.
“We’ve been extremely proud of our role within USA Hockey. This announcement continues to move our sport forward in a very positive way,” said Mark Frankenfeld, commissioner and president of the NAHL. “The NAHL is where it is today because of our committed ownership and their focus on providing players top-quality coaching, skill development and community-supported teams in stable markets, and one-of-a-kind events that provide unparalleled exposure.”
The NAHL will continue as the only Tier II junior league within the USA Hockey landscape. Back in November, the NAHL along with the Tier I USHL, reached a new and cooperative framework on player movement between the two leagues.
“Today is a great day for hockey,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “As we continue to grow and work together on the junior hockey front, we know our cumulative efforts will result in the overall betterment of our sport.”
USA Hockey, founded on October 29, 1937, and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, provides the foundation for the sport of ice hockey in America; helps young people become leaders, sometimes Olympic heroes; and connects the game at every level while promoting a lifelong love of the sport. USA Hockey is more than a million strong, including players, coaches, officials and volunteers that span all 50 states. The National Governing Body for the sport in the United States, USA Hockey has important partnerships with the NHL, United States Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation. For more information, visit usahockey.com.
The North American Hockey League (NAHL), the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league boasting 24 teams from across North America, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey. During the 2017-18 season, the NAHL recorded a record-breaking number of 331 NCAA commitments, 70% of which were NCAA Division I commitments. In addition, nine players with NAHL experience were selected in the 2018 NHL Draft. For more information, visit nahl.com.