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October 16, 2012, Portland, OR – The Portland Winterhawks are overseeing high school hockey in the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area with the formation of the Les Schwab Winterhawks Varsity Hockey League (LSWVHL), which begins play this season.

Along with title sponsor Les Schwab, AllSport Body Quencher, Fred Meyer and the Oregon Army National Guard have signed on as presenting sponsors for the league.

Under the umbrella of the Winterhawks Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA), the organization has absorbed the region’s two high school hockey programs previously run by the Junior Hawks and the Oregon High School Hockey League. The goal of the LSWVHL is to provide league play and continued skill development and growth for high school-aged players who advance from the bantam level and choose not to play Tier II “Rep” hockey.

The LSWVHL is a sanctioned USA Hockey program operating under the Oregon State Hockey Association (OSHA), the state’s governing USA Hockey board.

“The formation of the LSWVHL will give high school-age hockey players a new opportunity to pursue their goals in the sport,” said Winterhawks President Doug Piper. “High school hockey was once a prestigious varsity sport in Oregon, and our goal is to return it to that level.”

“The Les Schwab Company is excited to be title sponsor of the new Winterhawks Varsity Hockey League. It’s a chance for us to support the growth of an exciting sport within our state, and to provide more opportunity for students to get involved in activities outside of the classroom,” said Les Schwab Vice President of Marketing Brian Capp.

Initially, the program will bring together high school-age players and form teams based on both players’ current schools, as well as competitive balance. Eventually, with increased participation, schools will field their own teams. The season began Sunday, with most games to be played at Winterhawks Skating Center.

The Winterhawks Amateur Hockey Association was launched in 2009 with the goal of increasing participation in the sport. Through WAHA, the team currently runs free floor hockey programs throughout the Portland metro area and Southwest Washington, Learn to Skate classes and many other initiatives to encourage kids to play hockey.

Season tickets and 20-, 12- and 6-game ticket packages for the 2012-13 season are on sale now. Visit winterhawks.com or call 503-236-HAWK to reserve the best seat locations.