The Eastern Hockey League (EHL), a level 3 youth league sanctioned by USA Hockey, is based on the east coast of the United States. The National Hockey League (NHL) was established in 1917 as the successor to the National Hockey Association (NHA). The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) has always been one of the main development leagues for the NHL, although in recent years it has become a rival to the NCAA. Players from Canada, the United States, and other countries where organized and professional hockey is played make up a large majority of NHL rosters.
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) sanctions the NA3HL, a “secondary league” of the NAHL, as one of the only level 3 youth hockey leagues in North America. The CHL, or Canadian Hockey League, is comprised of three individual leagues in Canada and is known as “Major Junior Hockey”. However, in some cases, youth hockey leagues (specifically, the CHL in Canada) are not considered amateur leagues. Compared to Canada, it seems that with only a few youth hockey leagues, the United States and USA Hockey have almost nothing. The ECHL was founded by teams from the Atlantic Coast Hockey League and the All-American Hockey League in 1988. Players who play important youth hockey in Canada are currently unable to play NCAA hockey in the United States.
The NHL was organized at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal on November 26, 1917, after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the NHA. The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the best defense in the NHL, while the Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the best rookie and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded to a player who combines skill and sportsmanship; all three prizes are voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. With dozens of different youth hockey leagues in North America and hundreds of youth hockey teams, understanding it all can be a challenge for those unfamiliar with the system. Most Division 1 hockey players who play youth hockey in Canada only play in a few different leagues within the CJHL if they want to develop to play at college level (NCAA). The Pacific champion is determined by the winner of a match between the best team in Alberta Youth Hockey League and British Columbia Hockey League; this match determines who wins the Doyle Cup.
Junior hockey “C” is a level of Canadian hockey that is largely regarded as a development league for Canadian Junior A and Junior B clubs. So how many teams are there in total? The Canadian Hockey League consists of three individual leagues: The Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), and Western Hockey League (WHL). Each league has 20 teams for a total of 60 teams across all three leagues. The OHL has 20 teams located throughout Ontario; these teams are divided into two conferences with two divisions each. The QMJHL has 18 teams located throughout Quebec and two teams located in New Brunswick; these teams are divided into two divisions.
Finally, the WHL has 22 teams located throughout western Canada and parts of Washington State; these teams are divided into two conferences with four divisions each. The Canadian Hockey League is one of North America's premier development leagues for young players looking to make it to higher levels of professional hockey. With 60 teams across three different leagues, there are plenty of opportunities for players to hone their skills and make it to their dream team. Whether you're looking to make it to college or professional hockey, playing in one of these leagues can be an invaluable experience.