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The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) conducted annual National Ice Hockey Championships from 1931–1948, except during most of the World War II years. Starting in 1938, the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHA or AHAUS) also arranged a championship but much less prestigious after 1953, when the top minor league teams stopped competing in the tournament. Rhode Island senior teams represented the state on five occasions. In 1932 the R.I. Scarlets received a bid to the USAAU championship losing in the first round 9-0 to the Bronx Hockey Club at Madison Square Garden in New York. Club Marquette (Woonsocket, RI) were eliminated in the 1939 USAAU semi finals 5-4 in double overtime by the Cleveland American Legion in New Haven (CT). In 1940 the R.I. Scarlets qualified for the AHAUS "B" Championship falling 5-4 in overtime to the "97" Club (MA) in the first round at the Boston Arena. The Flying Fenchmen of Woonsocket were upended by the Boston Junior Olympics 11-3 in the semi-finals of the 1941 AHAUS "B" Championship also played at the Boston Arena.

The R.I. Scarlets finally brought a national senior championship home. The Scarlets topped the St. Paul 7'Ups (MN) 3-1 for the 1948 USAHA championship at the Sports Arena in Toledo (OH) on goals by Allan Porter, Ralph "Swede" Erickson and Jerry Kilmartin to seal the victory. An all-star team selected by the press and radio selected Al Bentley in goal and Bill Thayer at one of the defense posts.

In 1947 the Dunnes of Cranston reached the semi-finals of the USAAU championships at the R.I. Auditorium falling 11-2 to the eventual champion Hanover Indians. Hanover was made up of many Darthmouth University players (including Rhode Islanders Ralph Warburton, George Pulliam and Jack Kilmartin).