Did you know Nebraska got its first professional hockey team back in 1939?
That was over 80 years ago!
The Omaha Knights were a minor league pro hockey team that played within the American Hockey Association from 1939 to 1942. They took a short break during WWII before returning to the United States Hockey League from 1945 to 1951.
Two famous former Knights players include Gordie Howe and Terry Sawchuk.
While the original Omaha Knights are long gone, the Cornhusker State has had several high-level hockey teams over the years.
In this article, I’ll show you what hockey teams are in Nebraska, 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 Oregon, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In Nebraska:
While Nebraska doesn’t have an NHL team, its top hockey teams are the University of Nebraska at Omaha (NCAA D1) and Midland University (ACHA D1) men’s ice hockey teams. The top junior hockey teams are the Lincoln Stars, Omaha Lancers, and Tri-City Storm of the USHL (Tier I).
Does Nebraska Have a Hockey Team?
So, what is Nebraska’s top hockey team?
Nebraska 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 (1.9 million people).
The top hockey teams in Nebraska are the University of Nebraska at Omaha (D1 National Collegiate Athletics Association) and Midland University (D1 American Collegiate Hockey Association).
The top junior ice hockey teams are the Lincoln Stars, Omaha Lancers, and Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League (USHL), which is America’s top junior hockey league (Tier I junior hockey).
Does Nebraska Have an NHL Team?
Wondering if you’ll find an NHL hockey team in Nebraska?
Unfortunately, no. Nebraska’s population is about 1.9 million people which is too small for an NHL team, let alone any major sports team.
Nebraska has had three professional ice hockey teams compete over the years (and a handful of varsity college and junior hockey teams).
What NHL Team Does Nebraska Root For?
Nebraska is a smaller state in terms of population, so it’s a long way off from having its own NHL team. However, The Cornhusker State still has an active NHL fanbase.
The most popular NHL team for Nebraskans is the Colorado Avalanche. This is primarily because the Avalanche (in Denver, CO) is geographically the closest U.S. NHL team to the state.
The “runner-up” team would likely be the Chicago Blackhawks.
What Hockey Teams Are in Nebraska?
So, what hockey teams are in Nebraska? The Cornhusker State has a few high-level hockey teams as seen below:
Nebraska doesn’t have a team in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Nebraska doesn’t currently have a team in the American Hockey League (AHL). However, they used to have an AHL team between 2005 and 2007. The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights played their home games at the Omaha Civic Auditorium as the affiliated minor league team for the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
Nebraska used to have one professional hockey team in the Central Hockey League (CHL): The Omaha Knights. The Knights started playing out of the Ak-Sar-Ben Arena in Omaha, Nebraska in 1959 as a part of the International Hockey League (IHL).
In 1963, the team moved into the Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL). In 1968, the league was renamed the Central Hockey League (CHL). The team continued to play in the CHL until 1975.
Nebraska doesn’t currently have a team in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
D1, D3 College Hockey
While Nebraska is better known for its top-tier junior hockey teams, the state has a handful of mid to high-level varsity college hockey teams as well.
Nebraska has a total of four college hockey teams that compete within the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA):
- University of Nebraska at Omaha (NCAA Men’s D1)
- Midland University (ACHA Men’s D1)
- University of Nebraska (ACHA Men’s D3)
- University of Nebraska at Omaha (ACHA Men’s D3)
Nebraska has a few of the top junior ice hockey teams in America. The Cornhusker state has three junior hockey teams that play within the United States Hockey League (USHL):
- Lincoln Stars (USHL – Tier I)
- Omaha Lancers (USHL – Tier I)
- Tri-City Storm (USHL – Tier I)
Is There High School Hockey in Nebraska?
Yes, there is high school hockey in Nebraska. While the Cornhusker State doesn’t have a single governing body for all high school hockey, the top league is a multistate league: the Midwest High School Hockey League. However, there’s also a high school league in Omaha run by the Omaha Hockey Club called the Omaha High School Hockey League (OHSHL).
The Midwest High School Hockey League includes teams from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. In the Midwest High School Hockey League, there are 13 varsity teams:
- Kansas City
- DM Oak Leafs
- Sioux City
- Mason City
- DM Capitals
- Quad City
- Cedar Rapids
In the Midwest High School Hockey League, there are 13 junior varsity teams:
- Kansas City JV
- DM Oak Leafs JV
- Omaha JV
- Sioux City JV
- Lincoln JV
- Mason City JV
- DM Capitals JV
- Dubuque JV
- Quad City JV
- Fremont JV
- Ames JV
- Waterloo JV
In the Omaha High School Hockey League (OHSHL) there are 13 varsity teams:
- Creighton Prep
- Omaha Metro
- Millard West
- Millard South
- Capitals West
- Elkhorn United
- Millard North
- Capitals East
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).