The overwhelming majority of National Hockey League franchises are now based in the United States, and this trend continues with the NHL recently adding teams in Columbus, Ohio with the Blue Jackets and a club returning to Minnesota with the Wild joining the league. While most players in the NHL are still Canadians, the number of Americans in the league has increased significantly in the years since the U.S. Olympic gold medal victory in 1980. Many of the NHL's top stars today are American-born.
More American players are also finding their way onto the rosters of the top major junior teams in the Canadian Hockey League and American cities are represented in both the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. Junior hockey programs are growing in the United States, though most American prospects continue to find their way to the NHL from university teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
In terms of youth hockey, USA Hockey is the national governing body that oversees the development of the sport in the country. USAHockey is divided into 11 districts throughout the United States. Each district has a registrar, referee-in-chief, coach-in-chief and an administrator who facilitates learn-to-play programs for youth players and their parents. Hockey registration has increased rapidly in recent years. USAHockey is also responsible for organizing and training American teams for international competitions.