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Hockey Leagues Ranked In Order

By Swikriti Kandel / 17 May 2023 07:47 AM

Player Having An Eye Contact With The Puck At An NHL Game On 15 May 2023
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Here is the list of Hockey Leagues ranked in order. They are National Hockey League (NHL), KHL, AHL, CHL, NAHL, USHL, OHL, and many more.

National Hockey League at the topmost position followed by Kontinental Hockey League.

NHL is among the world's oldest and most reputed ice hockey championships. Hundreds of players try their chance to get drafted by one of the teams.

The National Hockey League has secured the limelight and become popular among fans. However, there are several well-accomplished championships other than NHL.

Those are yet to be recognized and come into the headlines for their offerings. There are multinational championships like the Kontinental Hockey League and Alps Hockey League.

Likewise, there are several collegiate leagues like NCAA and ACHA and junior leagues like OHL and QMJHL, which we will discuss in this article.

Hockey Leagues In USA

Hockey leagues in USA are National Hockey League, American Hockey League, North American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League, and so on.

The United States has been a hub for ice hockey sports for centuries. Americans started playing it professionally after an artificial rink was built in 1894.

It earned a spotlight in the 1990s and it became one of the top four major sports in the United States. ECHL, AHL, and other hockey championships are flourishing in the States.


NHL Was Established In 1971 In Montreal, Canada
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National Hockey League is a major professional hockey league in North America. It comprises 25 American teams and 7 Canadian teams.

NHL was founded on 26 November 1917 following the suspension of the National Hockey Association(NHA). The headquarter was formerly based in Montreal but has now shifted to New York, U.S.

It is a top-ranked championship throughout the world. The federation offers the Presidents' Trophy (regular season) and Stanley Cup (playoffs) for their winners.

Montreal Canadiens have the most NHL titles to this date. Boston Bruins received the 2023 President's Trophy but the winner of the 2023 Stanley Cup is yet to be determined.

Hockey Leagues In United States

Hockey leagues in United States comprise multiple professional and amateur championships like AHL, NCAA, ECHL, NHL, EHL, and many more.

Some of the popular leagues of the States are listed below:

  • National Hockey League (NHL)
  • American Hockey League (AHL)
  • East Coast Hockey League (ECHL)
  • Eastern Hockey League (EHL)
  • United States Hockey League (USHL)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
  • Premiere Hockey Federation (PHF)
  • Great Lakes Hockey League (GLHL)
  • All-American Hockey League (AAHL)


American Hockey League is a professional championship formed by integrating the International Hockey League and the Canadian-American Hockey League. 

It was formally established in 1938 although it started operating in 1936. It comprises 26 American and 6 Canadian teams based on four divisions: Atlantic, North, Central, and Pacific.

The headquarters of the championship is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. The championship offers Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for the regular season and Calder Cup for the playoff winner.

Hershey Bears hold the most titles and the recent regular season winner is Calgary Wranglers. The competition for the 2023 Calder Cup is ongoing.

AHL Came Into Operation In 1936 But It Was Formally Established In 1938
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North American Hockey League or NAHL is the Tier II junior hockey league in the U.S. It was founded in 1975 and the headquarters lies in Addison, Texas.

Only amateur athletes from age 16 to 21 can participate. Those not selected for the CHL(Canadian Hockey League) or USHL roster can try their luck in the NAHL.

The championship has 32 teams competing from four divisions: Central, East, Midwest, and South.  New Jersey Titans are the recent winner and Compuware Ambassadors hold the most titles.


ECHL or East Coast Hockey League is a mid-level professional championship established in 1988. It comprises 28 teams: 26 American and 2 Canadian.

It falls in the tier below the AHL and has affiliations from 28 NHL teams. Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup are awarded respectively to the winners of regular and postseason.

Alaska Aces, Hampton Roads Admirals, and South Carolina Stingrays have the highest number of ECHL titles. Florida Everblades is the recent winner of the Kelly Cup.

North American 3 Hockey League

North American 3 Hockey League or NA3HL is a tier III junior championship. It was set up in the early 1970s as Central States Hockey League aka CSHL.

The championship has 34 teams, and the trophy awarded to the winner is the Fraser Cup. Also, the victor gets a bid to compete in the USA Hockey Tier III National Hockey Championship.

Granite City Lumberjacks was the winner of the 2023 season. The trophy was collected by Rochester Grizzlies in 2022 and North Iowa Bulls in 2021.


Southern Professional Hockey League is an independent yet professional minor league. It was established in 2004 and is based in North Carolina.

The championship consists of 10 teams and the winner of the regular season is awarded William B. Coffey Trophy. President's Cup is provided to the playoff champion.

Knoxville Ice Bears and Pensacola Ice Flyers have the maximum number of titles. Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs were the champions in the 2023 regular season.

Canadian Hockey League

Canadian Hockey League or CHL is an umbrella organization founded in 1975. It oversees three major junior ice hockey leagues in Canada.

CHL is a regulating body for Major Junior Hockey and Dan MacKenzie serves as its president. It is a top-ranked championship that supplies new players to professional leagues.

Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are the three teams that the CHL governs.

CHL Governs 3 Major Junior Ice Hockey Championships Of Canada
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Every member leagues have its own regular and playoff seasons. In the 2021-22 season, 60 teams participated in the trio leagues. They represented 9 Canadian provinces and 4 American States.

The winning teams from each member league and the host team compete for the Memorial Cup. Besides that, 5 individual and 10 annual awards are presented. Saint John Sea Dogs are the most recent winner of the contest. 

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League or QMJHL is a major junior championship. It has teams from Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

QMJHL was established in 1969 by Robert Lebel and is regulated by the CHL. 18 teams from the East, West, and Maritimes divisions compete in the championship.

QMJHL Is One Of The Three Members That Is Under The Control of CHL
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Jean Rougeau's Trophy is handed to the regular season champion. Likewise, the playoff winners are presented with President's Trophy(Gilles-Courteau Trophy).

QMJHL is one of the leagues that prepares young players for professional matches. The league has attained the Memorial Cup 14 times.

Alumni of the championship include Pat LaFontaine, Guy Lafleur, and Martin Brodeur. The retired number includes the jersey of Guy Lafleur(4) and Sidney Crosby(87).

Best Hockey Leagues In The World

Best hockey leagues in the world are National Hockey League, Kontinental Hockey League, American Hockey League, and so on.

National Hockey League is a reputed one with millions of fans worldwide. It is followed by the international pro ice hockey championship titled Kontinental Hockey League.

KHL Is A Multinational League Between Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia
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Swedish Hockey League and American Hockey League also sum up the list. Other championships that are popular worldwide are as follows:

  • National Hockey League
  • Kontinental Hockey League
  • Swedish Hockey League
  • Liiga
  • Czech Extraliga
  • National League A
  • Deutsche Eishockey Liga
  • American Hockey League
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • Ontario Hockey League

College Hockey Leagues

College hockey leagues consists of National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA), U Sports, NAIA, and ACHA.

College athletics has attracted the youth due to scholarship opportunities. It also provides a space for enthusiasts to enhance their athletic skills.

The first intercollegiate ice hockey game was held between Yale and Johns Hopkins University in 1896. Some of the ice hockey college leagues are listed below:

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
  • U Sports
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
  • American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA)

NCAA Provides Collegiate Scholarships For The Players
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NCAA was set up in 1948 for the men's ice hockey championship. To be eligible for the competition, one has to undergo a process to test their qualification and amateur status.

Founded in 1961, U Sports regulates Canadian university athletics. It helps the athletes to hone their skills but does not award scholarships as the NCAA does.

NAIA was established in 1940 and it included ice hockey from 1968 to 1984. Schools and colleges gradually shifted towards NCAA leaving the NAIA behind.

ACHA has about 450 teams from the United States and Canada. It aims to be an organization of collegiate-affiliated non-varsity programs to promote quality in ice hockey.

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