The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is an association of universities and colleges in the United States. Its member instituions tend to be smaller and of a lower class of competition than those of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
During the summer of 2015 a group of schools began working with the administrators of the NAIA to gain emerging sport status for the sport of men's ice hockey. The NAIA requires a mininum of 15 teams to sponsor a sport at the varsity level to begin the process and 15 (the 15th started play with the 2016-17 season) schools that have teams playing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association are also members of the NAIA. There are also two schools based in British Columbia that are members of the NAIA that sponsor men's ice hockey. There is also a team that plays as an independent club team that is a member of the NAIA.