|No. of teams||11|
|Country|| Canada |
| El Paso Rhinos |
|Most titles||Phoenix Polar Bears (7)|
The Western States Hockey League (WSHL) is an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)-sanctioned, junior ice hockey league. Established in 1993, the WSHL was previously sanctioned by USA Hockey from 1994 to 2011. Teams play approximately 50 games in the regular season schedule, mimicking what players would experience at the collegiate level.
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 league was founded by Dr. Don Thorne and the Thorne Cup championship trophy was named in his recognition. The Anaheim Jr. Ducks won the first Thorne Cup Championship that season and was the last franchise from the inaugural season still in existence as the Long Beach Bombers until 2019.The Long Beach franchise was sold and the Bombers brand was then used as an expansion team called the Barrhead Bombers.
Current commissioner Ron White took over operation of the WSHL in 1995 and continued to expand the league footprint. 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 joined the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and dropped its USA Hockey sanctioningleading 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 (UHU) 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.
The WSHL has had numerous teams participate and win the USA Hockey and UHU 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. [ citation needed ]The event averages in excess of 80 scouts in attendance, all of whom are looking to bolster their roster for the following season.
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. However, unlike the USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II NAHL, the UHU-sanctioned WSHL operates similar to the Canadian Junior Hockey League's Junior "A" status and continues to charge player tuition to help pay for team travel expenses.In the 2015–16 season, the WSHL grew to its largest membership with 29 teams across 14 states. In 2018, the league expanded into western Canada with a Provinces Division in the WSHL that had originally been announced to play as its own league called the Western Provinces Hockey Association (WPHA). After one season, the WSHL's association with the WPHA dissolved and removed the teams that had been directly operated by the owners of the WPHA. The WPHA then joined the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League, an independent junior league primarily based in Ontario.
In April 2020, the WSHL lost the Fresno Monsters, Las Vegas Thunderbirds, Northern Colorado Eagles, Ogden Mustangs,Ontario Avalanche, Pueblo Bulls, San Diego Sabers, Southern Oregon Spartans, and the Utah Outliers to the United States Premier Hockey League, another independent junior hockey organization. The Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers then left on May 19, 2020, to join to the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). On May 26, 2020, the WSHL announced it would be dormant for the 2020–21 season due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, stating the league was already they have begun preparing to return for the 2021–22 season. In June 2020, the El Paso Rhinos also left for the NA3HL for the 2020–21 season with the intention of joining the NAHL for the 2021–22 season.
In January 2021, the league stated that it still intended to return for a 2021–22 season with an expansion team called the Vancouver Devils based in Fraser Valley, British Columbia.In August, the league gave an update with six new teams and five returning teams split into two divisions: Northwest and Provincial.
As of August 9,2021 [update] :
|Northwest||Bellingham Blazers||Bellingham, Washington||Bellingham Sportsplex||2016|
|Rogue Valley Royals||Medford, Oregon||The RRRink||2019|
|Seattle Totems||Mountlake Terrace, Washington||Olympic View Arena||2012|
|Utah Altitude||Kearns, Utah||Utah Olympic Oval||2021|
|Vancouver Devils||Vancouver, British Columbia||Summit Center||2021|
|Vernal Oilers||Vernal, Utah||Western Park Arena||2021|
|Provincial||Barrhead Bombers||Barrhead, Alberta||Barrhead Arena||2021|
|Cold Lake Aeros||Cold Lake, Alberta||Cold Lake Energy Centre||2018|
|Edmonton Eagles||Enoch, Alberta||Enoch Recreation Centre||2021|
|Hinton Timberwolves||Hinton, Alberta||Murray Rec Center||2019|
|Vegreville Vipers||Vegreville, Alberta||Wally Fedun Arena||2021|
|Season||Thorne Cup champion||Runner-up||National Tournament result|
|1994–95||Anaheim Jr. Ducks|
|1995–96||Anaheim Jr. Ducks|
|1999–00||Ventura Mariners||Tier III Junior B National Champions|
|2001–02||Phoenix Polar Bears||Tier III Junior B National runner-up|
|2002–03||Phoenix Polar Bears||Tier III Junior B National Champion|
|2003–04||Phoenix Polar Bears|
|2004–05||Phoenix Polar Bears|
|2005–06||Fort Worth Texans||Phoenix Polar Bears|
|2006–07||Phoenix Polar Bears||El Paso Rhinos|
|2007–08||El Paso Rhinos||Phoenix Polar Bears|
|2008–09||Phoenix Polar Bears||El Paso Rhinos|
|2009–10||Phoenix Polar Bears||Boulder Bison|
|2010–11||Idaho Jr. Steelheads||El Paso Rhinos||Tier III Junior A National runner-up (Rhinos)|
|2011–12||Idaho Jr. Steelheads||Dallas Ice Jets|
|2012–13||Idaho Jr. Steelheads||Bay Area Seals||UHU National Champion (Steelheads)|
|2013–14||El Paso Rhinos||Idaho Jr. Steelheads||UHU National Champion (Rhinos)|
|2014–15||Idaho Jr. Steelheads||El Paso Rhinos||No National Championship competed this year|
|2015–16||Idaho Jr. Steelheads||Colorado Jr. Eagles|
|2016–17||Wichita Jr. Thunder||Idaho Jr. Steelheads|
|2017–18||El Paso Rhinos||Ogden Mustangs|
|2018–19||El Paso Rhinos||Ogden Mustangs|
|2019–20||Not awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic|
Full list of teams that have played in the WSHL.
Bold = Current franchise
As part of the approval of the WSHL to Tier II status in 2015, the WSHL Board of Governors also announced the formation of the Western Prospects League (WPL), a United Hockey Union approved Tier III development league for the WSHL.In its only season (2015–16), the WPL played with four Tier III prospect teams under Tier II organizations (the Casper Coyotes, Cheyenne Stampede, El Paso Rhinos, and Ogden Mustangs) with occasional games against non-WSHL affiliated teams.
In 2016, the UHU approved of two other Tier III leagues, the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League (CPJHL) and the National College Prospects Hockey League (NCPHL). Several of the WSHL organizations then announced affiliations with some of the NCPHL teams to act as a developmental team and the WPL appears to have been disbanded.
|2015–16||Casper Coyotes Tier III||18–3–0–0|
The Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) is an amateur women's soccer league in the United States and Canada. It is on the second level of women's soccer in the United States soccer pyramid, below National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). The WPSL is the longest active women's soccer league as it enters its 23rd season in 2021 - The 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The WPSL is also the largest women's soccer league in the United States, North America and world with 135 active teams.
Junior hockey is a level of competitive ice hockey generally for players between 16 and 21 years of age. Junior hockey leagues in the United States and Canada are considered amateur and operate within regions of each country.
The El Paso Rhinos are a junior ice hockey organization based in El Paso, Texas. Their home games are played at the County Events Center located within the El Paso County Coliseum complex. The Rhinos are members of the South Division of the Tier III junior North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). The organization was a originally member of the Amateur Athletic Union-sanctioned Western States Hockey League from 2006 to 2020. They plan on adding a Tier II team to the South Division of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) in the 2021–22 season.
The Northern Pacific Hockey League (NPHL) was an American Tier III junior ice hockey league sanctioned by USA Hockey. Its championship trophy was the Cascade Cup.
The Southern Oregon Spartans were a junior ice hockey team that played their home games at The RRRink in Medford, Oregon.
The Superior RoughRiders were a junior ice hockey organization based in Superior, Boulder County, Colorado. The team played in the Western States Hockey League at the Sport Stable in Superior. The Superior RoughRiders are owned by the RoughRiders Hockey Club.
The Fresno Monsters are a junior ice hockey team based in Fresno, California. The team is a member of the United States Premier Hockey League and plays in the Premier Division. The Monsters' home venue is Selland Arena, previously the home facility to the now defunct Fresno Falcons of the West Coast Hockey League and ECHL.
The West Sound Warriors were a junior ice hockey that played at the Bremerton Ice Center in Bremerton, Washington. Formerly, the team was a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III ice hockey team that played in the Northern Pacific Hockey League (NorPac/NPHL) and the United States Premier Hockey League-USP3 (USPHL-USP3). In the 2017–18 season, the team was an AAU-sanctioned junior team in the Western States Hockey League. The WSHL franchise was sold to a new ownership group in Bremerton after the one season and became the West Sound Admirals.
The Long Beach Bombers were an Amateur Athletic Union-sanctioned Tier II junior ice hockey team in Western Division of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL). The team played their home games at The Rinks – Lakewood Ice in Lakewood, California.
The San Diego Sabers are a junior ice hockey team and are a member of United States Premier Hockey League. The team is based in Carlsbad, California, and plays at the Carlsbad Icetown. The team was the fourth team to be known as the San Diego Gulls from 2008 to 2015 until it gave up the nickname to the American Hockey League San Diego Gulls before the 2015–16 season.
The Idaho Jr. Steelheads, also called the Idaho IceCats, were a junior ice hockey team based in McCall, Idaho. The team played in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) and home games were held at Manchester Ice & Event Centre in McCall. The team previously played some home games at Idaho Ice World and CenturyLink Arena in Boise, the latter being the home of the ECHL Idaho Steelheads. The team had been one of the most successful in the WSHL, winning five Thorne Cup championships over six seasons and appeared in seven straight between 2010 and 2017.
The Midwest Junior Hockey League (MWJHL) was an American junior ice hockey league. The MWJHL were members of the United Hockey Union and sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). On March 10, 2015, the league announced it would be joining the United States Premier Hockey League as part of a new Midwest Division beginning in the 2015–16 season.
The Ogden Mustangs are a junior ice hockey team based in Ogden, Utah. The Mustangs are members of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) and play their home games at The Ice Sheet at Ogden. Before joining the USPHL in 2020, the Mustangs and its predecessors were longtime members of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL).
The United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) is an American ice hockey league. Founded in 2012, the USPHL has grown to over 60 organizations from across the United States fielding teams in the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC), Premier, Elite, EHF, 18U, 16U, 15U, and High Performance youth divisions.
The Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques were a Tier III Junior "A" ice hockey team from Lewiston, Maine. The team was a member of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) since 2016 and played home games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée since 2015. The franchise relocated several times under the operation of the Fighting Spirit organization before it was sold to the Colisée owner, Jim Cain, in 2017.
The United Hockey Union (UHU), founded in 2012, is a group of ice hockey leagues in North America. The UHU is overseen and insured by the Amateur Athletic Union. Neither body is recognized by USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, or the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The Tahoe Icemen were an Amateur Athletic Union-sanctioned junior ice hockey team in the Western States Hockey League and based in South Lake Tahoe, California. Home games were at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.
The Oklahoma City Ice Hawks, formerly the Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers, are a Tier III junior ice hockey team, based in Edmond, Oklahoma, in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The Ice Hawks compete in the USA Hockey-sanctioned North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) after playing as a member of the United Hockey Union-sanctioned Western States Hockey League (WSHL) from 2014 to 2020. Their home games are played at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena.
The Las Vegas Thunderbirds are a junior ice hockey team in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). The Thunderbirds play their home games at City National Arena.
The Pueblo Bulls are a junior ice hockey team in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). The Bulls play their home games at the Pueblo Ice Arena beginning with the 2019–20 season.