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Iowa High School Hockey League/Midwest High School Hockey League

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History of the Iowa/Midwest High School Hockey League

High school hockey teams from around Iowa came together in the fall of 1976 to organize the Iowa High School Hockey League. Prior to that time, the Des Moines Metro High School League boasted 6 club teams. Other established teams were playing in Ames, Mason City and Sioux City. Two Waterloo teams, Columbus and Warriors, were granted Varsity status in the fall of 1975—the only teams to ever be granted such status in the League’s history. In all, eleven teams were placed in two divisions: Dowling, Hoover-Roosevelt, Urbandale and Valley, all from Des Moines, joined Sioux City and the two Waterloo teams to form Division I; fledgling teams from Ames, Ankeny, Mason City and Des Moines Lincoln made up Division II.

Waterloo Columbus Sailors captured both titles in the inaugural 1976-1977 season with a 10-2-0 regular-season record, and bested the Des Moines Dowling Maroons 5-2 in the championship game of the state tournament at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

As the League matured, teams were combined into one division for the 1979-1980 season. In the fall of 1980 the League was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization to be called the Iowa High School Hockey League, Inc.

The League saw many milestones during the 1980s. On February 23, 1982, the Waterloo Warriors and Columbus faced off at McElroy Auditorium in front of 3,800 high school hockey fans. Columbus edged the Warriors 3-2.

The first All-Star game was held January 21, 1986, at the North Iowa Recreational Center in Mason City. This marked the first of nine years in a row that the event would be held in conjunction with the United States Hockey League All-Star game.

The Jr. Varsity program served to develop players for Varsity-level play until the 1989-1990 season when it became a formal program structured after the Varsity program, complete with statistics, standings and awards presented at a year-end tournament.

The end of the 80s saw the League welcome teams from outside the state when the Omaha Gladiators and Omaha Jr. Lancers joined the League for the 1989-1990 season. That same year, the League began its affiliation with USA Hockey. Previous to this point, the League was governed by rules established by the National Federation of State High School Associations. This new affiliation allowed the League to compete for the first time in the Chicago Showcase, a tournament that featured the top high school teams from across the United States, enabling the League to showcase its talent on a national stage.

As more out-of-state teams joined the League, officials felt that a name change was in order. After 30 years as the Iowa High School Hockey League, a more inclusive moniker, “Midwest High School Hockey League” debuted in 2006-2007.

The League also abandoned paper score sheets and signed on with the Pointstreak Scoring Network, a complete web-based scoring and statistics application.

The practice of rotating the Varsity and Jr. Varsity tournaments among the teams’ home rinks ended in 2009 with centralized tournaments in Ames.

Two important non-League events occurred at the end of the 2009-2010 season:

1. Despite the Chicago Showcase being renamed America's Showcase and moving to Pittsburgh, the League continued to actively participate in this prestigious event. In 2018 the Showcase returned to middle America - St. Louis, Missouri.

2. USA Hockey inaugurated the High School National Championships. The League’s first representative was regular-season champion, Des Moines Capitals. MHSHL teams have proven to be contenders every year they have participated. The Omaha Jr. Lancers hosted this rotating tournament in 2014.

In 2018 the MHSHL reached its highest post-season success in the League’s history, when the Sioux City Metros captured the USA Hockey High School Division 2 National Championship in Plymouth, Minnesota. (Division 2 teams are comprised of players from multiple high schools.) The Metros made their way through the 16-team field of top high school teams from around the country to reach the title game where they overcame a 2-0 deficit, edging Monarch, Colorado, 3-2.

Consistent management has enabled the League to function successfully. Team-appointed Representatives make up the League’s Board of Directors who elect an Executive Committee to act on behalf of the Board and the League.

The goals of the League are to organize and maintain an ongoing program for high school hockey players that improves proficiency and encourages sportsmanship while acknowledging the importance of academics and individual development. Thus, the slogan:

“Competitive high school hockey scoring big on family and academic values.”

For a complete history of the Iowa/Midwest High School Hockey League,
including year-by-year team and individual statistics, record book, team timelines, alumni and award winners go to:

www.mhshl.com

 

Scott ClemmensenSCOTT CLEMMENSEN, Des Moine Valley-Dowling - 1992-1994, Des Moines Capitals - 1994-1995: Scott went on to play for the USHL Des Moines Bucccaneers from 1995-97 before moving on to a celebrated collegiate career at Boston College from 1997 through 2001. Scott then began a 14-year career in professional hockey moving between the NHL and AHL. Most of his NHL goaltending was spent with the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers for a total of 191 NHL games in net.

 

Jed OrtmeyerJED ORTMEYER, Omaha Jr. Lancers - 1993-1997: Jed went on to star for the USHL Omaha Lancers from 1997-99 before going on to a standout collegiate career at the University of Michigan from 1999 through 2003. Jed then forged a career in the National Hockey League when he joined the New York Rangers in 2003-04. He played parts of nine seasons in the NHL for Nashville, San Jose and Minnesota in addition to the Rangers, appearing in a total of 345 games.