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Western States Hockey League

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Western States Hockey League
WshlLogo
Sport
Founded 1993
No. of teams 29
Country(ies) Flag of the United States United States
Most recent champion(s) Idaho Jr. Steelheads (2014-15)
Most championship(s) Phoenix Polar Bears (7)
Official website WSHL

The Western States Hockey League (WSHL) is a Junior 'A' Tier III hockey league that has teams located in the mid-west and western United States. It started its first season in 1994 as a Junior B league with six teams. The WSHL currently has 13 teams in two divisions, Western and Mid-West.

HistoryEdit

Year one consisted of six teams, spanning Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah, with all member clubs playing a 30-game schedule operating as Tier III Junior B teams. The Anaheim Jr. Ducks won the first-ever Thorne Cup Championship that year and is the only franchise from the inaugural season still in existence, now operating as the Long Beach Bombers.

Western States Shootout logo

Current Commissioner Ron White took over operation of the WSHL in 1995 and continued to expand it over time eventually growing to the current 28 teams stretching across 14 states, making it the second largest junior hockey league in North America. In 2007 the WSHL upgraded their league status from the Tier III Junior B level to Junior A to attract higher quality prospects. In 2011 the league would join the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and dropped its USA Hockey sanctioning[1] leading to the loss of its most successful franchise, the Phoenix Polar Bears, while adding many new teams. After the WSHL's success without USA Hockey the United Hockey Union was formed under the AAU sanctioning along with the Northern States Hockey League (NSHL) and the Midwest Junior Hockey League (MWJHL). The UHU leagues continued to operate with Tier III Junior A player requirements. In 2015, the WSHL Board of Governors announced the approval of the league to start competing as a Tier II-level player league for a higher caliber of play beginning in the 2015–16 season. Prior to the announcement the only Tier II-level league in the United States was the North American Hockey League. As part of the approval to Tier II status, the Board of Governors also announced the formation of the Western Prospects League, a UHU approved Tier III development league for the WHL.[2]

The WSHL has had numerous teams attend and win the USA Hockey National Championship over the years and most recently, the El Paso Rhinos were crowned the United Hockey Union National Champions in 2014. The WSHL has had great success in moving players on to the college hockey ranks through the “Western States Shootout”, an annual all-league showcase held every December in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event averages in excess of 80 scouts in attendance, all of whom are looking to bolster their roster for the following season.

The 2014–15 regular season featured 28 teams competing across four divisions, all playing a 46-game regular season schedule, which mimics what players would experience at the collegiate level. Hockey politics in Texas extended into the legal realm and resulted in the Polar Ice House closing its doors. This facility was the home arena of the Dallas Ice Jets and a new expansion franchise, the Texas Attack. With the loss of their ice rink both teams had to bow out of the 2014–15 season and there has been no announcement if the teams will return.

The San Diego Gulls announced they were changing their name to the San Diego Sabers to allow for the new American Hockey League team in town to take the San Diego Gulls moniker.

On June 1, 2015 the league announced the addition of an expansion team to begin play for the 2015-16 season based in Vancouver, Washington.  The team has some of the same ownership as the Lake Tahoe Icemen The later announced it would be called the Vancouver Rangers.  According to the release the league is hoping to add a couple more teams in the northwest region for the 2016-17 season.

Teams Edit

Division Team City Arena Joined
Midwest
Dallas Snipers Euless, Texas Dr. Pepper StarCenter 2011
El Paso Rhinos El Paso, Texas Sierra Providence Event Center 2006
Oklahoma City Blazers Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Blazers Ice Centre 2014
Springfield Express Springfield, Missouri Mediacom Ice Park 2005
Tulsa Jr. Oilers Tulsa, Oklahoma Oilers Ice Center 2012
Wichita Jr. Thunder Wichita, Kansas Wichita Ice Center 2012
Mountain Casper Coyotes Casper, Wyoming Casper Ice Arena 2014
Cheyenne Stampede Cheyenne, Wyoming Cheyenne Ice and Events Center 2004
Colorado Evolution Denver, Colorado Big Bear Ice Arena 2014
Colorado Jr. Eagles Fort Collins, Colorado NoCo Ice Center 2013
Ogden Mustangs Ogden, Utah The Ice Sheet 2002
Salt Lake City Moose Salt Lake City, Utah Accord Ice Rink 2011
Superior RoughRiders Superior, Colorado Bouler Valley Ice at Superior 2007
Western Arizona Redhawks Peoria, Arizona Peoria Polar Ice 2009
Fresno Monsters Fresno, California Gateway Ice Center 2009
Las Vegas Storm Las Vegas, Nevada Las Vegas Ice Center 2014
Long Beach Bombers Lakewood, California Glacial Garden Skating Arena 1994
Ontario Avalanche Ontario, California The Center Ice Arena 2012
Phoenix Knights Gilbert, Arizona AZ Ice Gilbert 1999
San Diego Sabers Escondido, California Iceoplex Escondido 2001
Valencia Flyers Valencia, California Ice Station Valencia 2001
Northwest Butte Cobras Butte, Montana Butte Community Ice Center 2014
Idaho Jr. Steelheads McCall, Idaho Manchester Ice & Event Centre 2009
Missoula Maulers Missoula, Montana Glacier Ice Rink 2013
Seattle Totems Mountlake Terrace, Washington Olympic View Arena 2012
Southern Oregon Spartans Medford, Oregon The RRRink 2012
Tahoe Icemen South Lake Tahoe, California South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena 2012
Vancouver Rangers Vancouver, Washington Mountain View Ice Arena 2015
Whitefish Wolverines Whitefish, Montana Stumptown Ice Den 2014

Thorne Cup Champions Edit

Team History Edit

Teams that have played in the WSHL include:

Notable alumniEdit

Sin Bad Sailors

1996 - 1997

  • Eddie Garrison - Phoenix Desert Rats, Empire State Cobras

Bay Cities Bombers

  • Matt Wolf - Oswego State
  • Anthony Massoto - Colgate University
  • Manu Manu - Johnson & Wales College
  • Chris Fratterigo - Fitchburg State

2000-2001

  • Mike Heindi - German Elite Pro League
  • Malk Tatavosian - Concordia College

2001-2002

  • Cory Anderson - Johnson & Wales College
  • Aman Kler - Johnson & Wales College

2002-2003

  • Mark Schnider - Nichols College
  • Shane Mohr - OPJHL: Brampton Capitals, Milton Icehawks

2004-2005

  • Kyle Cook - Nichols College

Idaho Rattlers

2006-2007

  • Blaise Leal - UMBC

Phoenix Polar Bears

  • David Lehman - WHL: Moose Jaw Warriors, USHL: Des Moines Buccaneers
  • Edwin Trebian - NAHL: Central Texas Blackhawks, CHL: Oklahoma Blazers, Arizona Sundogs
  • Derek Tijan - NAHL: Minnesota Blizzard
  • Blane Pohl - NAHL: Central Texas Blackhawks

2001-2002

  • Kilby Griff - Hamline University
  • Jason Stellino - Hamline University
  • Jason Loughrey - NAHL Springfield Jr. Blues

2002-2003

  • Dustin Droscher - CHL: Fort Worth Brahmas
  • Dusty Collins - Univ. of Northern Michigan, AHL: Springfield Falcons. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 5th round in 2004, 163rd overall
  • Tyler Haskins - USHL: Sioux City Musketeers, OHL: Guelph Storm, Toronto St. Michael Majors, Saginaw Spirit. Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 5th round in 2004, 162nd overall
  • Aaron Quinton - University of Oklahoma ACHA Div. 1

2004-2005

  • Hartley Krulicki - Univ. of Manitoba
  • Joe Lorentz - Hamline University
  • Max Mobley - NAHL: North Iowa Outlaws
  • Stephen Mcleod - NAHL: North Iowa Outlaws
  • Lee Joos - NAHL: Minnesota Blizzard
  • Ryna Shelfoe - NAHL: Minnesota Blizzard
  • Ryan Bezdicek - NAHL: Fargo Jets
  • Alex Brownlee - WHL: Regina Pats
  • Curtis Kelner - WHL: Calgary Hitmen, Spokane Chiefs
  • Brian Cooke - Wayne State

San Diego Surf

  • David Brito - Sacred Heart University, WCHL: San Diego Gulls

2002-2003

  • Joey Perricone - WHL: Moose Jaw Warriors
  • Warren Ruibinoff - Lakeforest University

2006-2007

  • Itan Chavira - USHL: Ohio Blue Jackets

Valencia Vipers/Flyers

2004-2005

  • Rene Huegli - Switzerland Professional Hockey
  • Lavrenty Kazaryan - NAHL: Helena Bighorns
  • Joey Howard - USHL: Topeka Scarcrows
  • Blake Miller - Finlandia University
  • Coby Robinson - American International College

Dallas Titans

2004-2005

  • Martin Winzer - NAHL: Santa Fe Roadrunners, CHL: Tulsa Oilers
  • Joel Rechlicz - NAHL: Santa Fe Roadrunners, UHL: Chicago Hounds, UHL: Kalamazoo Wings, AHL: Albany River Rats, NHL: New York Islanders

El Paso Rhinos

2006-2007

  • Zach Jaraczerski - St. Norbert College
  • Tad Norris - NAHL: Kenai River Brown Bears
  • Corey Jendras - NAHL: Topeka Roadrunners
  • Daniel Barnes - OPJHL: Vaughan Vipers

Tulsa Rampage

2006-2007

  • Billy Strain - Nichols College
  • Dennis Capa - UMASS Boston
  • Joshua Erhardt - NAHL: Alaska Avalanche
  • Kent Kirby - Nichols College
  • Connor Nunnally - Nichols College
  • Dan Swanson - Concordia College

Cajun Catahoulas

2005-2006

  • Cary Chiampi - OPJHL: Oswego Admirals

Fort Worth Texans

2004-2005

  • Austin Smith - Drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 5th round in 2007, 128th overall

Ventura Mariners

  • Ryan Weber - University of Findlay Div 1 NCAA
  • Keoni Huegli- Switzerland Professional Hockey
  • Brandon Crawford-West - USHL: Tri-City Storm, Miami (Ohio) University
  • Stephen Schofield - Fitchburg State
  • Ricardo Hernandez - Buffalo State
  • Cyle McCorkle - Buffalo State
  • Rocky Reeves - Buffalo State
  • Jason Davis - Buffalo State

Utah Junior Grizzlies

1997-1998

  • Rich Dempsey -ACHA Div 1. Kent State University
  • George Avery - WCHL Idaho Steelheads, CHL Lubbock Cotton Kings, CHL Amarillo Rattlers
  • Nate Gorney - ACHA Div 1.
  • Gergely Majoross - Alban Vola Fe Vita H.C.- Austria
  • Szabolcs Fekete - Alban Vola FeVita H.C. - Austria

Utah Golden Eagles

2001-2002

  • Matt Trojovsky - WHL: Swift Current Broncos,
  • Mike Pope - Fredonia State, OPJHL: Trenton Sting

Utah Lightning

1996-1997

  • Ryan Hrankowski - Univ. of Minnesota-Crookston

New Mexico Breakers

  • Jeremy Bechdel - Neumann College
  • Scott Meehan - New England College
  • Kurtis Dukelow - New England College

Flagstaff Mountaineers

  • Vince Malts - QMJHL: Hull Olympiques, ECHL: Arkansas Riverblades, Pee-Dee Pride, Charlotte Checkers, Augusta Lynx, Bakersfield Condors, UHL: Rockford Icehogs, Elmira Jackals, Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 7th round in 1998
  • Dean Vandervort - Cortland State
  • Ed Harding - ECHL: Assistant Coach Arkansas RiverBlades, QMJHL: Assistant Coach Lewiston MAINiacs

Nevada Rattlers

2001-2002

  • Joe Dramise - UMASS Dartmouth
  • PJ Miles - Northeastern University

Salt Lake Maple Leafs

2001-2002

  • Clark Minken - Neumann College
  • Mike Bernardy - USHL: Indianapolis Ice, St. Norbert College

League StaffEdit

  • Don Thorne - Chairman of the Board
  • Ron White - Commissioner/President
  • M.F. Schurman - Deputy Commissioner/Vice President
  • Laura Ellis - Secretary
  • Carl Brown - Director of Publicity
  • Arthur Kitano - Referee in Chief

League Web Site Edit

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Western States Hockey League. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


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