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NAHL and USA Hockey announce long-term partnership agreement

February 14, 2019
USA Hockey and the North American Hockey League have announced an enhanced long-term partnership agreement that will further improve the junior hockey development program in the United States.
 
“The North American Hockey League has been, and continues to be, an important part of the ladder of development in our country,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “We’re excited about the future and look forward to continued collaboration with the league in all areas of the game.”
 
As part of the enhanced partnership, USA Hockey will provide additional resources to the NAHL to continue to improve all facets of the league, including player development, coaching, officiating and overall visibility.
 
“We’ve been extremely proud of our role within USA Hockey. This announcement continues to move our sport forward in a very positive way,” said Mark Frankenfeld, commissioner and president of the NAHL. “The NAHL is where it is today because of our committed ownership and their focus on providing players top-quality coaching, skill development and community-supported teams in stable markets, and one-of-a-kind events that provide unparalleled exposure.”
 
The NAHL will continue as the only Tier II junior league within the USA Hockey landscape. Back in November, the NAHL along with the Tier I USHL, reached a new and cooperative framework on player movement between the two leagues. 
 
“Today is a great day for hockey,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive of hockey operations for USA Hockey. “As we continue to grow and work together on the junior hockey front, we know our cumulative efforts will result in the overall betterment of our sport.”
 
Now in its 44th year of operation, the NAHL will continue as the only Tier II junior league within the USA Hockey landscape. Back in November, the NAHL along with the Tier I USHL, reached a new and cooperative framework on player movement between the two leagues, The agreement between the two leagues promotes the Ladder of Development in junior hockey, and provides for greater developmental and advancement opportunities for players.
 
Last season, the NAHL placed 331 players into NCAA schools, a new record for the league. More than 70 percent of those 331 players advanced to the NCAA Division 1 level. In 2019, the league is on pace to break that record, as it currently stands with 175 commitments, a higher number than at the same time as last year’s record-breaking season. It further reemphasizes that when it comes to players committing to play NCAA hockey while playing junior hockey, no one in North America and the United States does it better than the NAHL.
 
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