In 1983, Montana got its first professional ice hockey team: The Montana Magic.
The Magic was a pro hockey team that played out of the Montana Entertainment Trade and Recreation Arena in Billings, MT. The team played in the Central Hockey League for a single season before being disbanded.
While the Montana Magic has long come and gone, the Treasure State has had several high-level hockey teams over the years.
In this article, I’ll show you what hockey teams are in Montana, what college and junior teams compete in the state, and what pro teams they’ve had over the years.
Pssssst! Are you curious about hockey teams in other U.S. states? You can learn more by checking out our other posts: What Hockey Team Is in Florida, What Hockey Team Is in Nebraska, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In Montana:
While Montana doesn’t have an NHL team, its top hockey teams are the University of Montana, University of Providence, and Montana State University men’s ice hockey teams (D3 college hockey in the ACHA). The top junior hockey teams are the Great Falls Americans, Bozeman Icedogs, Helena Bighorns, and Butte Cobras of the NA3HL.
Does Montana Have a Hockey Team?
So, what is Montana’s top hockey team?
Montana only has a few high-level ice hockey teams. However, the state doesn’t have an NHL team as it’s a smaller U.S. state (1.1 million people).
The top hockey teams in Montana are the University of Montana, University of Providence, and Montana State University men’s D2 college hockey teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA).
The top junior ice hockey teams are the Bozeman Icedogs, Butte Cobras, Great Falls Americans, and Helena Bighorns of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), which is a Tier III junior league.
Does Montana Have an NHL Team?
Wondering if you’ll find an NHL hockey team in Montana?
Unfortunately, no. Montana’s population is about 1.1 million people which is too small for an NHL team, let alone any major sports team.
Montana has had two professional ice hockey teams compete over the years (and a handful of varsity college and junior hockey teams).
What NHL Team Does Montana Root For?
Montana is a smaller state (fourth smallest population), so it’s a long way off from having its own NHL team. However, The Treasure State still has an active NHL fanbase.
The most popular NHL team for Montanans is the Colorado Avalanche. This is primarily because the Avalanche (in Denver, CO) has geographically been the closest U.S. NHL team to the state (until the Seattle Kraken came into the league in 2021).
“Runner-up” teams would likely include the Minnesota Wild or the Arizona Coyotes. However, there is also a decent Alberta NHL team fan base in Montana for the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
What Hockey Teams Are in Montana?
So, what hockey teams are in Montana? The Treasure State has a few high-level hockey teams as seen below:
Montana doesn’t have a team in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Montana doesn’t have a team in the American Hockey League (AHL).
CHL / CnHL
Montana used to have two professional hockey teams. The first pro team was the Montana Magic of the Central Hockey League (CHL). They played out of the Montana Entertainment Trade and Recreation Arena in Billings, Montana for one season in 1983-84.
Some notable ex-NHL players from the Montana Magic are Alain Vigneault, Reggie Leach, Blair MacDonald, Stan Weir, and Don Murdoch.
Montana’s second professional hockey team was also based in Billings, Montana within the Continental Hockey League (CnHL). The Billings Marlboros played their home games out of the MetraPark Arena for one season in 1985-86.
Montana doesn’t currently have a team in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
D2, D3 College Hockey
Montana has a handful of mid to high-level varsity college hockey teams that competes within the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA):
- University of Montana (ACHA Men’s D2)
- University of Providence (ACHA Men’s D2)
- Montana State University (ACHA Men’s D2)
- Montana State University (ACHA Men’s D3)
While Montana is better known for its college hockey, it has a number of junior ice hockey teams that play within the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL):
- Bozeman Icedogs (NA3HL – Tier III)
- Butte Cobras (NA3HL – Tier III)
- Great Falls Americans (NA3HL – Tier III)
- Helena Bighorns (NA3HL – Tier III)
Is There High School Hockey in Montana?
Yes, there’s high school hockey in Montana. While you can find high school hockey teams in different regions of the state, there’s a single governing body that the majority of high school hockey falls under the Montana Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA).
The MAHA runs the Montana High School League (MTHSL) and the Big Sky High School League (BSHSL).
In MTHSL, there are six teams:
In BSHSL, there are nine teams:
- Miles City
- Great Falls
Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023).