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There had not been any senior hockey in the general area since the early 1980's when the old Central Hockey League folded (Teams were from Athabasca, Whitecourt, Fox Creek, Swan Hills, Barrhead and Slave Lake). Prior to that, the Northwest Hockey League operated in the 1970's (Teams were from Jasper, Edson, Hinton, Grande Cache, Whitecourt, Fox Creek, Mayerthorpe). During the fall of 1994, there was increasing interest in forming senior hockey again in the area. Teams from Whitecourt, Swan Hills, Edson, Hinton, and Fox Creek played a series of exhibition games to determine the interest in forming a new league. During the summer of 1995, two marathon meetings were held in Whitecourt where the league was formalized with the following teams - Edson Ice, Hinton Heat, Whitecourt Cats, Mayerthorpe Hitmen, Fox Creek Bandits, Slave Lake Winterhawks, Swan Hills Knights and Sangudo Raiders(?). The NCHL was formed and teams were ready to start the 1995-1996 season. George Vanberg was elected President, a position he would hold for the next 20+ years. Others who were instrumental in the league's formation were Diane Dickson (Whitecourt), Noel Perrin (Edson), Grant Drewniak (Slave Lake), Darren Myshak (Swan Hills) and Kirk Holtet (Fox Creek).

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