Whether you were watching, playing or just following along, this list of all-time Illinois USA Hockey National Champions and Runners-Up is sure to bring back some memories.
A LITTLE USA HOCKEY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
The growth of hockey in the United States can be charted in a small way by the number of youth national champions hailing from new states as the years progress.
Between 1949 and 1972, all of the national champions hailed from either Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan or Minnesota. The 1970s saw Illinois, New York and Washington join the list and then New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Wisconsin won their first titles in the 1980s.
From 1990 to 2008, ten new states joined the champions list. Alaska, California, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania had teams win titles in the ’90s and then Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Texas and Vermont won championships since 2000.
The 2010 tournament was a boom year for states winning their first titles. Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada and Oklahoma brought home championships that year to add their states to the list.
In 2011, Maine won its first and second ever national titles and was joined by Virginia as states breaking through on the national stage. In 2012, Idaho, Tennessee and South Dakota brought home the first national championship in state history. North Carolina burst on to the scene in 2013 with its first two national titles.
While the hockey strong communities continue to have strong showings on the national stage, the surge of hockey from non-traditional markets is starting to produce new champions.*
ILLINOIS RANKS 4TH IN TOTAL NUMBER OF CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES
Since 1976 Illinois has won 31 national championship titles and claims 31 runners-up finishes. Overall Illinois ranks 4th in national championship titles after Michigan (118), Massachusetts (84) and Minnesota (32).
*Portions of this article taken from USAHockey.com