The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) was established in 1991 as the national governing body of non-varsity or non-scholarship college ice hockey in the United States. The ACHA is comprised of five divisions (Men's Division 1, 2, and 3; Women's Division 1 and 2) with over 500 teams from across the nation representing 49 different states. Since 1999, all ACHA teams are members of USA Hockey. The ACHA's primary mission is to support the growth of collegiate hockey programs nationwide and has identified principles which serve to unite and regulate teams at the collegiate level. The ACHA emphasizes academic performance, institutional sanction, eligibility criteria, standards of play, and opportunities for national and international competition. The ACHA promotes all aspects of collegiate hockey stressing the personal development of individual athletes, both on and off on the ice. The players in the ACHA - over 11,000 young men and women each year - are true student-athletes, paying for their education while playing purely for the love of the game and for the opportunity to represent their school. Each year, about 65% of ACHA teams participate in charitable activities and annually raise over $1 million for local causes and charities. Many ACHA graduates have gone on to play professional hockey at several levels, while other ACHA alumni have achieved post-graduate jobs in hockey or other professional sports. For the vast majority of ACHA players, the opportunity to play competitive college hockey establishes a solid foundation for success in life.
The American Hockey League (AHL), founded in 1936, is the primary professional development league for the players, coaches, trainers, executives and officials of the National Hockey League (NHL). Currently operating in 30 cities across the United States and Canada, the AHL is the first experience in professional hockey for most young players and sees more than 300 players graduate to the NHL every season from an environment that nurtures their development as pro athletes. AHL players provide on-ice and off-ice outreach to thousands of youth hockey players to promote the game and life values such as sportsmanship and integrity. Players and coaches make more than 1,000 visits annually to schools, hospitals, libraries and other locations; donate countless items such as food, coats, holiday gifts and hockey equipment through various drives; and raise more than $5 million each year for charitable community efforts.
The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is the world's largest development hockey league, with 52 Canadian and eight American teams participating in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League. CHL players graduate from high school at a rate higher than the Canadian national average. CHL teams pay for all education costs of players while playing in the CHL, and each player receives dedicated academic advisors. Every CHL player is eligible for a scholarship from their respective team upon graduating from the CHL, representing a financial contribution of nearly $7 million annually by CHL team ownership. The CHL has policies and programs in place to positively impact the health, safety and diversity of its players, including a concussion management program, a drug education and anti-doping program, and policies on diversity, gambling, social media, hazing, harassment and bullying.
The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) is a national organization comprised of all 10 Junior A hockey leagues in Canada. The CJHL represents 132 teams and more than 3,000 players. The CJHL is a proud partner of Hockey Canada and is the only approved Junior A league in Canada. The CJHL is a leader and advocate for supporting the positive values that hockey provides and seeks to be an integral partner in the career development of all players associated with our member leagues. The CJHL strives to develop athletic and academic excellence in a high performance setting by providing athletes with unique experiences and more options for better futures.
The Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) is a International women's professional ice hockey league, established in 2007 and currently comprised of Seven franchises. The league was created with two goals in mind - to create a place for the highest-level women's hockey players to continue to compete and hone their skills, and to create a future for the sport of women's hockey. CWHL Players are engaged with their communities through coaching, leadership initiatives and special events (skills clinics, hockey camps) with the objective of initializing themselves as leaders and role models for the next generation of players and fans, especially young women and girls.
College Hockey Inc. impacts NCAA hockey through extensive marketing and informational efforts designed to raise the college game's profile among fans and prospective student-athletes. College Hockey Inc. serves as a resource for aspiring young players, encouraging them to learn all that they can about the many benefits of college hockey, both on and off the ice. Most notably, more than 90% of NCAA hockey players will earn their degrees, which is consistently at or near the top of all NCAA student-athlete graduation rates. In addition, more than $45 million in scholarships are awarded to male and female hockey student-athletes. College Hockey Inc. is a non-profit organization made possible by resources provided by USA Hockey through a grant from the National Hockey League.
The ECHL is a 27-team professional ice hockey league based in the United States and Canada that serves as a developmental league for the National Hockey League (NHL). The ECHL and the AHL are the only minor leagues recognized by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association, meaning any player signed to an entry-level NHL contract and designated for assignment must report to a club in either the ECHL or the AHL. ECHL teams and players are actively involved in developing youth hockey players in their local communities by way of youth camps and junior ECHL teams. These camps and teams aim not only to improve athletic abilities but to influence personal character. ECHL teams bring value to their communities beyond 36 home games - including nearly $4 million in philanthropic contributions annually, amplified by thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions throughout the year.
Hockey Canada is the national governing body for grassroots hockey in the country, with a mission to Lead, Develop, and Promote Positive Hockey Experiences. The organization works in conjunction with the 13 provincial branches, the Canadian Hockey League and U Sports in growing the game at all levels. Hockey Canada oversees the management of programs in Canada from entry-level to high performance teams and competitions, including world championships and the Olympic Winter Games. Hockey Canada is also Canada's voice within the International Ice Hockey Federation. Hockey Canada programming continues to foster age appropriate environments for all players and encourages cross-ice activities, multi-sport participation, physical literacy, and fun. The organization is providing greater access to the sport through its First Shift Program and The Big Play, to reduce registration and equipment costs. Hockey Canada also has robust programs and initiatives making a positive social impact, including: Respect in Sport, which promotes respect and educates leaders on the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment; the National Coaching Certification, which provides tools and resources to coaches to promote positive experiences for players and families; and a Female Guide to Hockey, which helps girls use hockey to benefit their education.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is a worldwide governing body for ice hockey and in-line hockey, based in Zurich, Switzerland. Currently, the IIHF has 76 member national associations. It manages international ice hockey tournaments - Olympic Games, World Championships and Qualifications men and woman at all levels - and maintains the IIHF World Ranking. IIHF has a mission to govern, develop and promote hockey throughout the world, including both international ice and in-line hockey. The Federation - which takes seriously the principles of good governance, accountability, transparency - promotes friendly relations among the member national associations for the good of the sport. IIHF aids in the development of young players, as well as coaches and game officials. To support positive development in the sport, IIHF has established committees which include Player Safety; Ethics and Integrity; Women's Hockey; Youth and Junior Development; and Environmental and Social Activities, which recently developed a manual for environmentally sustainable events.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a member-led organization dedicated to providing a pathway to opportunity for college athletes. The NCAA prioritizes academics, well-being, safety and fairness so college athletes can succeed on the ice, in the classroom and for life. Members include 1,123 colleges and universities, 98 voting athletics conferences, 39 affiliated organizations and 500,000 student-athletes. NCAA member institutions provide $2.9 billion in athletic scholarships annually. 60 institutions sponsor NCAA Division I men's hockey, while 35 sponsor NCAA Division 1 women's hockey, with both culminating in a national championship each year at the NCAA Frozen Four. More than 90% of the Division I NCAA hockey playing student-athletes will earn their degree which is consistently at or near the top of all NCAA student-athlete graduation rates. More than $45 million in scholarships are awarded annually at the Division I level to aspiring young men and women pursuing their hockey development while receiving a world-class education. NCAA Hockey also encompasses 119 institutions that sponsor men's or women's hockey at the NCAA Division III level and six institutions sponsoring the sport at the Division II level.
The National Hockey League, founded in 1917, is celebrating its Centennial anniversary in 2017. The year-long celebration pays tribute to 100 years of NHL hockey by honoring the past, commemorating the present, and celebrating its future. Comprised of 31 Member Clubs, with 24 teams in the U.S. and 7 teams in Canada, the NHL is represented by players from more than 20 countries across team rosters. Each year, the NHL entertains hundreds of millions of fans around the world, broadcasting games in more than 160 countries and engaging fans across the League's digital assets, including nine social media platforms and on NHL.com in eight languages. Together with the NHLPA, the NHL provides player education in-season and at rookie-orientation on life skills, mental health, substance abuse, violence prevention, inclusivity, financial literacy, health and wellness, and more. The NHLPA and NHL have built the Core Development Program in order to promote and facilitate healthy and productive lives for all Players during their NHL careers, and a seamless transition out of playing hockey into the next phase of their lives. In addition, through the Industry Growth Fund, the NHLPA and the NHL created Learn to Play, a grassroots hockey program for boys and girls ages 5-9, which provides both an affordable entry into the game as well as an incredible experience; and Future Goals, a hockey-themed STEM education initiative designed to help students achieve academically, while also providing alternative forms of the game such as floor hockey to school and community programs. The NHLPA and NHL are joint partners in social responsibility initiatives including Hockey Fights Cancer - which has raised more than $18 million for cancer organizations since 1998 - and Hockey is for Everyone, which supports underrepresented and marginalized communities and works to ensure their safety and inclusion in the game. In 2010 the league launched NHL Green, an initiative which promotes environmentally sustainable practices and technologies throughout the hockey community to combat climate change and improve access to the game. Since inception the NHL has become the 1st and only pro sports league to issue a sustainability report and balance its carbon footprint. The NHL Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Hockey League, supports nonprofit organizations and causes aligned with the core values of the sport and contributes to noteworthy causes embraced by NHL Clubs, players and alumni.
The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), established in 1967, is a labor organization whose members are the players in the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHLPA works on behalf of the players in varied disciplines such as labor relations, product licensing, marketing, international hockey and community relations, all in furtherance of its efforts to promote its members and the game of hockey. Since 1999, the Players' NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund has contributed over $23 million to grassroots hockey programs in 33 countries, providing more than 70,000 deserving children the opportunity to play hockey and benefit from the sport's commitment to teamwork, discipline and physical fitness. Together with the NHL, the NHLPA provides player education in-season and at rookie-orientation on life skills, mental health, substance abuse, violence prevention, inclusivity, financial literacy, health and wellness, and more. The NHLPA and NHL have built the Core Development Program in order to promote and facilitate healthy and productive lives for all Players during their NHL careers, and a seamless transition out of playing hockey into the next phase of their lives. In addition, through the Industry Growth Fund, the NHLPA and the NHL created Learn to Play, a grassroots hockey program for boys and girls ages 5-9, which provides both an affordable entry into the game as well as an incredible experience; and Future Goals, a hockey-themed STEM education initiative designed to help students achieve academically, while also providing alternative forms of the game such as floor hockey to school and community programs. The NHLPA and NHL are joint partners in social responsibility initiatives including Hockey Fights Cancer - which has raised more than $18 million for cancer organizations since 1998 - and Hockey is for Everyone, which supports underrepresented and marginalized communities and works to ensure their safety and inclusion in the game.
The National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) is an American women's professional ice hockey league, established in 2015 comprised of four founding franchises. All NWHL Players are college graduates; the majority have careers off the ice - including nurses, teachers, engineers, financial analysts and coaches. The NWHL hosts youth hockey clinics featuring their Players on and off the ice with girls of all skill levels; sparking an early love and excitement for the game while teaching the importance of being active and how this promotes a healthy mind, body and spirit. The league is committed to creating safe and inclusive spaces while maintaining competitive equity in women's professional hockey. The NWHL recognizes all forms of gender expression, and in 2016 created a Policy of the Participation of Transgender Athletes after Harrison Browne became the first transgender player in North American pro sports.
The NAHL is USA Hockey's Tier II junior hockey league, featuring 23 teams in 12 states. Now celebrating its 42nd season, the NAHL provides development opportunities for student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing on to collegiate and professional hockey. In the past five years, over 1,200 NAHL players have made NCAA commitments and 17 NAHL players have been selected in the NHL Draft. The NAHL is committed to player development and player safety. The NAHL employs a full time director of player safety to ensure a safe and competitive environment for players. The NAHL family also includes the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), a 47-team USA Hockey-certified Tier III junior hockey league and the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), a 50-team USA Hockey-certified youth Tier I league with teams competing in the 18U, 16U and 15U levels. All told, the NAHL oversees over 120 teams with more than 2,500 players. The NAHL is the League of Opportunity, providing more players than any other entity of its kind with the chance to play and develop social maturity in a structured, safe and competitive environment.
U Sports is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. Currently 35 member schools participate in men's ice hockey and 33 member school participate in women's ice hockey. Working with the Canadian Hockey League, the CHL Education Package encourages Major Junior alumni to pursue post-secondary education, while having the option to continue their hockey careers. Each year of CHL hockey earns a player one year of tuition at a U SPORTS school, allowing players the ability to further their education in a positive environment. Across U SPORTS, hockey programs are teaming up to help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. As hockey is a sport that is inclusive for all, student-athletes have identified mental health awareness as a crucial issue to address, and have used hockey games as an avenue to create discussion around it. To celebrate the outstanding work of hockey student-athletes, U SPORTS recognizes players nationally and regionally through National All Star status, Academic All Canadians as well as through Community Service Awards.
USA Hockey is the National Governing Body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States and is the official representative to the United States Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation. USA Hockey is represented in all 50 states and includes one million-plus players, coaches, officials, parents and volunteers. The organization's primary emphasis is on the support and development of grassroots hockey programs, and its coaching certification program which embeds education as a priority of the organization. USA Hockey is breaking down barriers to playing hockey, providing extensive information about the values the sport teaches that last a lifetime (confidence, pride, focus and responsibility, time management); the physical fitness and health benefits learned by playing hockey; the safety, cost and time commitment necessary to play; and basic equipment education. USA Hockey's American Development Model (ADM) is an age-appropriate hockey development model that encourages cross-ice activities, multi-sport participation, alternative forms of the game, making the sport fun, physical literacy, the importance of behavioral, cognitive and biological development - and includes training programs and resources for consistent execution. USA Hockey advances and promotes disabled hockey through six disciplines: sled, deaf/hard of hearing, special, standing amputee, warrior and blind. The organization has also been at the forefront in advancing girls' and women's hockey, with participation numbers having nearly tripled from 1998.
The United States Hockey League (USHL) is the only Tier I junior hockey league in the United States. Following four consecutive seasons with 30 or more NHL Draft picks and a record season with over 400 NCAA Division I college commits, the USHL continues to establish itself as the world's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. Over 95% of USHL players earn NCAA Division 1 opportunities and more than 90% of NCAA Division 1 student-athletes earn a degree. USHL players are required to perform community service and to sign a Player Conduct and Expectations document that specifies league requirements in education and employment; drug and alcohol use; harassment and bullying; and non-discrimination. The USHL adopted USA Hockey's SafeSport program requires all coaches, staff and billet families to complete training related to creating an environment free from abuse and misconduct with policies governing sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, threats and harassment, and hazing. In youth sports, the organizations "Little USHL" provides low-cost try-hockey programming for boys and girls while educating families on the merits of participation in the sport.
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