The United States Hockey League is a Junior hockey league that has operated in this format since 1979. It is currently classified as a US Junior A Tier I hockey league, which is the highest junior hockey category in the US, and is currently the only league in that category in the US.
The USHL has a very unusual lineage; it is the byproduct of a 1970's merger between the NHL-supported Midwest Junior Hockey League and the semi-professional United States Hockey League which had existed in various incarnations since the 1940's. The two leagues started their relationship by playing an interlocking schedule in 1976-77. The leagues then merged for the 1977-78 season, keeping the USHL moniker but playing in a United States division (senior teams) and Midwest Division (junior teams). The league shifted even more to an all-junior format the following season, with younger players assuming more roster spots on the senior teams. In 1979-80, the USHL moved to an all-junior format.
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