The first season of the Men's National Hockey League took place in 1991, when the perpetual national championship was replaced by a new-look format. The competition, which was played over a two-month period, did not limit player eligibility to state of origin. Six teams competed in the first year - Brisbane Blades, Melbourne Redbacks, Adelaide Hotshots, Canberra Lakers, Sydney Stingrays and Tamworth Frogs.
In 1991 and 1992, both the National Championship and the National Hockey League was played, placing a financial burden on the states. From 1993, the decision was made to play the National Hockey League as the sole competition in determining Australia's champion State.
The league has since evolved into an eight team competition played on a home and away basis before climaxing with a finals series. In 2000 and 2004 however, the league reverted back to a two-week championship format. This format is designed to replicate the intense nature and heavy playing schedule of the Olympic Games.
The league embraced some big changes leading into the 2001 season with the men's and women's competitions came into line with one another, shifted their seasons from mid-year to February-April, incorporated a new rule that would make the game more exciting and adopted a new and very unique format.
The format devised allows an high level of hockey to be seen across the country through four weeks of home-and-away competition. The league then climaxes with a full finals week that comprises three round matches, the semi-finals and finals.
The Women's National Hockey League (WNHL) was Australia's premier domestic women's competition from 1993 to 2001 before the league evolved in 2002 into the Australian Hockey League.
The WNHL made its debut in 1993 as a new and exciting venture for women's hockey, giving Australian audiences the chance to see national representatives playing for their home states. Seven states competed in the first series, known then as the Stix Series. These teams represented seven states - NSW, QLD, NT, ACT, WA, SA and VIC.
The league embraced some big changes leading into the 2001 season as the men's and women's competitions combined to form the Australian Hockey League (AHL). Both the men's and women's leagues shifted their seasons from mid-year to February-April and a unique format was adopted.