In 1973, New Mexico got its first professional ice hockey team: The Albuquerque Six-Guns.
The team played in the Central Hockey League for a single season before being disbanded.
The Land of Enchantment has had several high-level hockey teams over the years.
In this article, I’ll show you what hockey teams are in New Mexico, 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 Montana, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In New Mexico:
While New Mexico doesn’t have an NHL team, its top hockey team is the University of New Mexico Men’s ice hockey team (a D3 college team in the ACHA). The top junior hockey team is a Tier II team: New Mexico Ice Wolves of the NAHL.
Does New Mexico Have a Hockey Team?
So, what is New Mexico’s top hockey team?
New Mexico 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 (2.1 million people).
The top hockey team in New Mexico is the University of New Mexico Men’s ice hockey team—a D3 college hockey team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). The top junior ice hockey team is the New Mexico Ice Wolves of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), which is a Tier II junior league.
Does New Mexico Have an NHL Team?
So, will you find an NHL hockey team in New Mexico?
Unfortunately, no. New Mexico’s population is about 2.1 million people which is too small for an NHL team, let alone any major sports team.
New Mexico 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 New Mexico Root For?
New Mexico is a smaller state, so it’s a long way off from having its own NHL team. However, The Land of Enchantment still has an active NHL fanbase.
The most popular NHL team for New Mexicans is the Colorado Avalanche. This is primarily because the Avalanche (in Denver, CO) is the (second) closest NHL team to the state’s capital and has been around since the 90s.
The “runner-up” team would likely be the Arizona Coyotes since they’re the closest geographical team to Albuquerque (6-hour, 20-minute drive). Then, the Dallas Stars would be the third favorite overall.
What Hockey Teams Are in New Mexico?
Wondering what hockey teams are in New Mexico? The Land of Enchantment has a few high-level hockey teams as seen below:
New Mexico doesn’t have a team in the National Hockey League (NHL).
New Mexico doesn’t have a team in the American Hockey League (AHL).
New Mexico used to have two professional hockey teams in the Central Hockey League (CHL). The first pro team was the Albuquerque Six-Guns. They played out of the Tingley Coliseum for one season in 1973-74
The second team was based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico within the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL). In 2001, the CHL and WPHL merged. In total, the team played for 13 years between 1996 and 2009.
New Mexico doesn’t currently have a team in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
D2 College Hockey
While New Mexico is better known for its junior hockey teams, it has one lower-level varsity college hockey team that competes within the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA): the University of New Mexico Men’s ice hockey team (D3).
New Mexico has a couple of junior ice hockey teams that play within the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL):
- New Mexico Ice Wolves (NAHL – Tier II)
- New Mexico Ice Wolves (NA3HL – Tier III)
New Mexico used to have another junior ice hockey team that played in Rio Rancho, NM. The New Mexico Mustangs was a Tier II Junior A hockey team that played within the North American Hockey League (NAHL) between 2010 and 2012.
The state also had a previous Tier III junior ice hockey team based in Rio Rancho called the New Mexico Renegades. They played in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) between 2009 and 2014.
Is There High School Hockey in New Mexico?
Yes, there’s high school hockey in New Mexico. While you can find high school hockey teams in different regions in the state, there isn’t a single governing body for high school hockey in the state.
The top high school hockey league in New Mexico is the Rio Grande High School Hockey League (RGHSHL). This league is based out of Albuquerque, NM and includes teams from 3 states: New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.
There are six teams in the multistate league:
- Albuquerque Bears High School Hockey (Albuquerque, NM)
- Big Texan Bulls (Amarillo, TX)
- Durango Demons High School Hockey (Durango, CO)
- Los Alamos Hilltoppers (Los Alamos, NM)
- Rio Rancho Cougars (Rio Rancho, NM)
- Telluride Miners High School Hockey (Telluride, CO)
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).