Western Hockey League

From Academic Kids

This article refers to the junior Western Hockey League. For other leagues with the same name, see Western Hockey League (disambiguation).

The Western Hockey League is one of the three hockey Major Junior "A" Tier I leagues which constitute the Canadian Hockey League.

The 20 teams of the WHL are divided into Western and Eastern conferences.


Eastern Conference

The eastern conference is divided into the east and central divisions, which comprises teams from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

East Division

Central Division

Western Conference

The Western Conference is divided into the B.C. and U.S. divisions, which consist of teams from British Columbia, Oregon and Washington.

B.C. Division

U.S. Division

Future Expansion Team


  • 1968: League began play as the Western Canada Hockey League with Bill Hunter as chairman of the board. There were two divisions: East (Flin Flon Bombers, Estevan Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, Brandon Wheat Kings); West (Edmonton Oil Kings, Calgary Centennials, Saskatoon Blades, Swift Current Broncos.
  • 1970: Regina Pats are granted a franchise, and play in the Eastern Division; Medicine Hat Tigers are granted a franchise, and play in the Western Division.
  • 1971: Estevan Bruins move to New Westminster, and play in the Western Division. Victoria Cougars, and Vancouver Nats granted franchises, both play in the Western Division. Swift Current and Saskatoon move to the Eastern Division.
  • 1973: Vancouver Nats move to Kamloops. Winnipeg Jets become Winnipeg Clubs.
  • 1974: Swift Current Broncos move to Lethbridge
  • 1976: League splits into three divisions: East (Brandon, Saskatoon, Flin Flon, Regina); Central (Medicine Hat, Winnipeg, Lethbridge, Calgary); West (New Westminster, Kamloops, Portland, Victoria). Edmonton Oil Kings move to Portland. Winnipeg Clubs become Winnipeg Monarchs.
  • 1977: Winnipeg Monarchs and Kamloops Chiefs fold. Billings Bighorns are granted a franchise and play in the Central Division. Seattle Breakers granted a franchise and play in the Western Division. Calgary Centennials become the Calgary Wranglers.
  • 1978: The WCHL becomes the Western Hockey League. Flin Flon Bombers move to Edmonton.
  • 1979: The WHL splits into two divisions: West (Portland, Victoria, Seattle, New Westminster) and East (Regina, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Billings, Brandon, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Great Falls) Edmonton Oil Kings move to Great Falls. Great Falls Americans fold on December 16.
  • 1980: Winnipeg Warriors granted a franchise and play in the East Division. Spokane Flyers granted a franchise and play in the West Division.
  • 1981: New Westminster Bruins move to Kamloops. Spokane Flyers fold on December 2.
  • 1982: Billings Bighorns fold. Prince Albert Raiders, Nanaimo Islanders, and Kelowna Wings are all granted franchises. Prince Albert plays in the East Division, Kelowna and Nanaimo in the West.
  • 1983: Nanaimo Islanders move to New Westminster.
  • 1984: Winnipeg Warriors moves to Moose Jaw. Kamloops Junior Oilers become the Kamloops Blazers.
  • 1985: Kelowna Wings move to Spokane. Seattle Breakers become Seattle Thunderbirds.
  • 1986: Lethbridge Broncos move to Swift Current.
  • 1987: Calgary Wranglers move to Lethbridge.
  • 1988: New Westminster Bruins move to Tri-Cities.
  • 1991: Tacoma Rockets granted a franchise and play in the Western Division.
  • 1992: Red Deer Rebels granted a franchise and play in the Eastern Division.
  • 1994: Victoria Cougars move to Prince George.
  • 1995: WHL divides into three divisions: West (Spokane, Tri-Cities, Tacoma, Seattle, Kamloops, Portland, Prince George), Central (Swift Current, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Calgary), and East (Brandon, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw). Calgary Hitmen are granted a franchise. Tacoma Rockets move to Kelowna.
  • 1996: Edmonton Ice are granted a franchise, and play in the central division. Swift Current moves to the east division.
  • 1998: Edmonton Ice move to Cranbrook, becoming the Kootenay Ice.
  • 2001: WHL divides into two conferences of two divisions each: Eastern Conference: East Division (Brandon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Prince Albert); Central Division (Red Deer, Swift Current, Lethbridge, Calgary, Medicine Hat); Western Conference: British Columbia Division (Kamloops, Kootenay, Prince George, Kelowna, Vancouver); United States Division (Portland, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Seattle). Vancouver Giants granted a franchise.
  • 2003: Everett Silvertips are granted a franchise and play in the United States division.
  • 2005: Tri-Cities Americans' plan to move to Chilliwack is voted down by the league board of governors; however, three weeks after the initial vote, the league decides to grant Chilliwack an expansion team named the Chilliwack Bruins to be ready to play in the 2006 sesaon, with the Tri-Cities Americans staying put under a new ownership group

See also

List of ice hockey leagues

External links



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