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Encyclopedia > Junior hockey

Junior hockey is a catch-all term used to describe various levels of ice hockey competition for players generally between the ages of 16 and 20 years old1. Canadian junior hockey is recognized as professional by organizations such as the NCAA as players receive a small stipend, however, the earnings for junior players are invariably far smaller than can be earned in most levels of professional hockey. Also, American junior teams are fully amateur. Ice hockey, known simply as hockey in areas where it is more common than field hockey, is a team sport played on ice. ... The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA, often said NC-Double-A) is a voluntary association of about 1200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletics programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. ...

Junior hockey teams are most prevalent in Canada and Europe. The dominant Canadian junior hockey leagues are the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which together make up the Canadian Hockey League. The CHL is considered tier I Junior 'A' hockey, and is the home for the North American game's top prospects. Top American prospects frequently play in the CHL, and there are several American CHL teams, however, the top domestic American league is the United States Hockey League. A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... The Western Hockey League is one of the three hockey Major Junior A Tier I leagues which constitute the Canadian Hockey League. ... A typical OHL hockey game. ... The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (French: la Ligue de hockey junior majeur du Québec, abbreviated QMJHL in English, LHJMQ in French) is one of the three Major Junior A Tier I hockey leagues which constitute the Canadian Hockey League. ... The Canadian Hockey League is an umbrella organization for three Canadian Major Junior A Tier I hockey leagues for players of 15 to 20 years of age. ... United States Hockey League (abbreviated USHL) is the top junior ice hockey league in United States. ...

Canadian junior leagues vary widely in talent and are generally sorted by the level of skill one will find in the league. Aside from the CHL, the top Canadian junior league is the tier II Canadian Junior A Hockey League, a level of hockey which has produced top NHL players and even Hall-of-Famers, although at a less frequent rate than the CHL. Below the CJAHL are junior 'B', 'C', and 'D' leagues, where players advance to the NHL very rarely. The Canadian Junior A Hockey League (CJAHL), an association of Canadian Junior A hockey leagues and teams, formed in November 1993, emerging from the Canada West Association of Junior A Hockey. ... The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional sports organization composed of ice hockey teams in the United States and Canada, where it is also known by its French name, Ligue Nationale de Hockey. ... The Hockey Hall of Fame is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; it is devoted to ice hockey rather than the field variety of the game. ...

In Europe, junior teams are usually associated with a professional team, and are used by professional teams to develop their own talented youngsters. The lack of an amateur draft in Europe means that the onus is on the teams to sign the most talented youngsters they can get, and the presence of an affiliated junior team provides a place for young players who aren't yet ready for the rigours of the professional game to develop. However, not all players on a European junior team are necessarily the property of their professional club, and may elect to sign elsewhere.

NCAA ice hockey conferences are not usually considered to be junior hockey, and are usually lumped seperately from junior hockey leagues.


Note 1: There are situations in Canadian junior hockey where players 15 and 21 years old can play. A 21-year old born between January 1 and the end of the season can play in the Canadian Hockey League, as can a 15-year old who is considered an "exceptional player" by the league. Examples of recent exceptional players include John Tavares and Jason Spezza. The Canadian Hockey League is an umbrella organization for three Canadian Major Junior A Tier I hockey leagues for players of 15 to 20 years of age. ... Jason Spezza, #19, young star of the Ottawa Senators. ...



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