Hockey is a popular game played between two teams, in which the players hit the ball into the opponent’s goal post with a stick called as the hockey stick. There are variants of this game namely field hockey, ice hockey, inline hockey, roller hockey and sledge hockey.The ice hockey and the field hockey are the popular forms of this game. Ice hockey is played mostly in the United States and Canada. In this particular article, we will discuss in details about the hockey league hierarchy with following hierarchical levels:
- Minor hockey
- Junior hockey
- High school hockey
- College hockey
- Minor league professional hockey
- National hockey league
National hockey league
National hockey league is one of the premier professional ice hockey league in the world and one of the reputed sports league in Canada and the United States. This is a non-profit association, which operates the professional hockey league of thirty franchised clubs. Out of the 30 member clubs, 23 are located in the United States and 7 are in Canada.
The National hockey league has been founded in the year 1909 and it started with a total of 4 teams. After a series of expansions and contractions, the league is now comprised of 30 active franchises.
The list of teams coming under the National hockey league are as follows:New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.
Minor league professional hockey
The minor league professional hockey holds the second position in the hockey league hierarchy. These leagues operate at the semi-professional levels and prepares the teenagers for their move into the professional leagues.
The current minor leagues are American Hockey League (AHL), Central Hockey League (CHL), East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), Federal Hockey League (FHL), andLigue Nord-Americaine de Hockey (LNAH).
The American Hockey League is the most prominent of the minor hockey leagues in North America. It comprises of 30 teams and is headquartered inSpringfield, Massachusetts.
College ice hockey is played between the colleges. In the United States, all the college hockey leagues are organized and managed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
In Canada, the college hockey league operate under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA).
High school hockey
High school hockey leagues are subordinate to the college hockey and are sponsored by the State High School Association.
The junior hockey leagues are organized on a franchise system and are played at the high school or college level. Junior hockey is played by the athletes of age between 16 and 20 years old.
In the United States, minor hockey is regarded as the last level of the hockey league hierarchy. Minor hockey is played by the athletes under 16 years of age.