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The Professional Hockey Leagues of North America

This page attempts to list all teams at the pro level in North America. Teams regularly move or suspend play; and new teams take their place. The page is updated frequently, especially between the end of one season and the beginning of the next, when many changes are announced. New listings are in red. When "new" stuff gets to be six months old it is no longer shown as new. A big thanks to hockey fans around North America who have provided valuable input and information. Feel free to send Email if you spot an error, have a question, or you have news about a team. Opinions expressed in the Notes are those of the webmaster, Dick Estel. Division and conference line-ups have been updated for 2013-14 for the NHL,  AHL,  ECHL, CHL, SPHL, LNAH, and FHL.

      

New Notes             Listing Updates

   

Active Leagues

AHL      CHL      ECHL     FHL     LNAH     NHL     SPHL     

   

Defunct Leagues

AAHL     ACHL     EPHL     IHL (formerly UHL)     IHL (original)      MAHL

MWHL     NEHL      NEPHL     SEHL     WCHL     WHA2     WPHL

    

Team Moves/Changes      Future Teams     Archived Notes     

Hockey Page Updates & Changes

Cup Winners for All Leagues                More Links

Notes

Listing Updates

Start of Archived Notes

New Notes

January 30, 2014

Watertown Privateers
LNAH

San Francisco Bulls

       

New Notes

New notes appear here, and will be moved to the bottom section of this page after about six months.

  

1/30/14: The San Francisco Bulls, San Jose's ECHL affiliate, has announced that they will stop operations as of January 27. There have been attempts to sell the team, including discussion of moving it to Fresno, where the ECHL Falcons folded in 2008. However, there is no interest by city government there in offering any financial backing, and the shut-down of the team probably makes such a move unlikely. It was the second year for the Bulls, who played in the Cow Palace, the aging venue that hosted the Sharks in their earliest years.

  
Stanley Cup

National Hockey League

Eastern Conference

Metropolitan

Carolina Hurricanes

Columbus Blue Jackets

New Jersey Devils

New York Islanders

New York Rangers

Philadelphia Flyers

Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington Capitals


Atlantic Division

Boston Bruins

Buffalo Sabres

Detroit Red Wings

Florida Panthers

Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning

Toronto Maple Leafs

 

Western Conference

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks

Colorado Avalanche

Dallas Stars

Minnesota Wild

Nashville Predators

St. Louis Blues

Winnipeg Jets

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks

Calgary Flames

Edmonton Oilers

Los Angeles Kings

Phoenix Coyotes

San Jose Sharks

Vancouver Canucks

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American Hockey League

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Manchester (NH) Monarchs

Portland Pirates

Providence Bruins

St. John's IceCaps

Worcester Sharks

Northeast Division

Adirondack Phantoms

Albany Devils

Bridgeport (CT) Sound Tigers  

Hartford Wolf Pack (changed back from Connecticut Whale)

Springfield Falcons

East Division

Binghamton Senators

Hershey Bears

Norfolk Admirals

Syracuse Crunch

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Western Conference

North Division

Hamilton Bulldogs

Lake Erie Monsters

Rochester Americans

Toronto Marlies

Utica Comets (new for 2013-14)


Midwest Division

Chicago Wolves

Grand Rapids Griffins

Milwaukee Admirals

Iowa Wild

Rockford Icehogs

 

West Division

Abbotsford Heat

Charlotte Checkers (moved from ECHL)

Oklahoma City Barons

San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars

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ECHL (formerly East Coast Hockey League)
(includes former WCHL teams)

Eastern Conference

North Division

Cincinnati Cyclones

Evansville Icemen (moved from CHL for 2012-13)

Fort Wayne Comets (moved from CHL for 2012-13)

Kalamazoo Wings

Toledo Walleye

 

South Division

Florida Everblades

Greenville Road Warriors

Gwinnett Gladiators

Orlando Solar Bears

South Carolina Stingrays


Atlantic Division

Elmira Jackals

Reading (PA) Royals

Wheeling Nailers



Western Conference

Pacific Division

Bakersfield Condors

Las Vegas Wranglers

Ontario Reign

Stockton Thunder


Mountain Division

Alaska Aces

Colorado Eagles

Idaho Steelheads

Utah Grizzlies

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Central Hockey League


Berry Conference

Allen Americans

Arizona Sundogs

Brampton Beast

Denver Cutthroats

Missouri Mavericks (Independence)

Quad City Mallards

Rapid City Rush

St. Charles Chill

Tulsa Oilers

Wichita Thunder

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Southern Professional Hockey League

Bloomington Thunder

Columbus Cottonmouths

Fayetteville (NC) FireAntz

Huntsville Havoc

Knoxville Ice Bears

Louisiana Icegators

Mississippi RiverKings (Southaven MS)

Mississippi Surge (Biloxi MS)

Pensacola Ice Flyers

Peoria Rivermen

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Federal Hockey League

Danbury Whalers

Danville Dashers

Dayton Demonz (originally named Devils)

Watertown Privateers (formerly 1000 Island)

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Ligue Nord-Amèricaine de Hockey

Marquis de Jonquière

3L de Rivière-du-Loup

Cool FM 103,5 de Saint-Georges

Isothermic de Thetford Mines

Éperviers de Sorel-Tracy

River Kings de Cornwall

Braves de Laval (formerly Valleyfield)

Viking de Trois-Rivières (formerly Caron et Guay)

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Defunct Leagues

Mid Atlantic Hockey League

Quietly disappeared late 2008; some teams joined the All American Hockey Association

 
West Coast Hockey League

Merged with ECHL 2003-04


Western Professional Hockey League

Merged with Central League 2001-02


International Hockey League

Suspended play after 2000-01 (some teams joined AHL) (The UHL became the IHL in 2007-08; the new IHL merged with the CHL in 2010-11)

Atlantic Coast Hockey League

Dissolved after one season (2002-03); most teams moved to SEHL

World Hockey Association 2  

(new 03-04, now defunct)

South East Hockey League (new 03-04)

(Suspended in 2004-05 (most teams gone to the SPHL)


North East Hockey League

(Quietly disappeared about January 2008) 


Midwest Hockey League

(Never played; lined up one team, which moved to the All-American Hockey League in August 2009)

North East Professional Hockey League

(Quietly disappeared in early 2010)


Eastern Professional Hockey League

(Suspended operations; website inactive since 2009)

United Hockey League

Became the IHL in 2007-08

International Hockey League (formerly UHL)

(Merged with CHL in 2010-11)

All American Hockey League

(Quietly disappeared during the summer of 2011)

 

Team Changes

Folded, suspended, moved

Teams of the future (and pending moves)

Teams that never materialized

Teams that folded, suspended, or moved with a name change (all leagues)

97-98  98-99  99-00  00-01  01-02  02-03  03-04   04-05   05-06   06-07   07-08   08-09  09-10  10-11  11-12  12-13  13-14

Teams that played in 1997-98 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Quebec Rafales (IHL)

San Antonio Dragons (IHL)

Louisville River Frogs (became Miami Matadors 98-99 ECHL; Cincinnati Cyclones 01-02; Texas Wildcatters 03-04)

Raleigh IceCaps (became Augusta Lynx 98-99 ECHL)

Nashville Ice Flyers (ECHL)

Binghamton Rangers (United)

Reno Rage (WCHL)

Teams that played in 1998-99 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Chesapeake Icebreakers (became Jackson Bandits 99-00) (ECHL)

Columbus Chill (ECHL)

Miami Matadors (ECHL) (became Cincinnati Cyclones 01-02; Texas Wildcatters 03-04)

Fort Wayne Komets (IHL)

Indianapolis Ice (IHL)

Las Vegas Thunder (IHL)

Fredericton Canadiens (became Quebec City Citadelles 99-00) (AHL)

Beast of New Haven (AHL)

Adirondack Red Wings (AHL)

Tucson Gila Monsters (WCHL)

Winston-Salem Icehawks (United)

Thunder Bay Thunder Cats (United)

Fort Worth Fire (Central)


Teams that played in 1999-00(Folded, Suspended, Moved):

Alexandria Warthogs (WPHL)

Saginaw Gears (moved to Canton 12/99) (UHL)

Ohio Gears (inactive for 00-01 due to construction of new building) (UHL)

Waco Wizards (WPHL) (Suspended play during season) 

Abilene Aviators (WPHL) (Suspended play during season) 

Arkansas Glaciercats (WPHL) (Suspended play after 99-00)

Michigan K-Wings (Suspended play after 99-00)

Hampton Roads Admirals (Suspended play after 99-00)

Jacksonville Lizard Kings (Suspended play after 99-00) (Expected to return in 02-03)

Madison Kodiaks (formerly Monsters) (UHL)

Louisville Panthers (AHL) (unknown)


Teams that played in 2000-01 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Tucson Scorch (new 00-01) (suspended after one game) (WPHL)

Central Texas Stampede (shut down January 2001) (WPHL)

Mohawk Valley Prowlers (Utica) (United) (suspended February 2001)

Border City Bandits (Texarkana) (Central) (suspended February 2001)

Kansas City Blades (IHL) (suspended play after 00-01)

Detroit Vipers (IHL) (suspended play after 00-01)

Cleveland Lumberjacks (IHL) (suspended play after 00-01)

Cincinnati Cyclones (IHL) (suspended play after 00-01)

Orlando Solar Bears  (IHL) (suspended play after 00-01)

Kentucky Thoroughblades (AHL) (moved to Cleveland as the Barons)

Topeka Scare Crows (moving to US Hockey League in 01-02 (a junior amateur league))

Tallahassee Tiger Sharks (shut down 5/01)

Birmingham Bulls (ECHL) moved to Atlantic City as Boardwalk Bullies

Fayetteville Force (UHL)

Huntsville Tornado (formerly Channel Cats) (UHL)

Lake Charles Ice Pirates (WPHL)

Monroe Moccasins (WPHL)

Tupelo T-Rex (WPHL) (will become a junior hockey program; joined SEHL in  02-03 but folded; may resume in 04-05)

Phoenix Mustangs (WCHL)


Teams that played in 2001-02 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Quebec Citadelles (AHL)

Asheville Smoke UHL; folded)

Knoxville Speed (UHL; folded) 

New Haven Knights (UHL; suspended)

Port Huron Border Cats (UHL; suspended)

B.C. Icemen (Broome Co./Binghamton) (UHL; suspended)

Tacoma Saber Cats (WCHL)

Colorado Gold Kings (WCHL)

Macon Whoopie (ECHL) moved to Lexington KY; suspended play in 02-03

New Orleans Brass (ECHL) suspended play

Mobile Mysticks (plan to move to Duluth, Georgia in 03-04)

San Antonio Iguanas (CHL)


Teams that played in 2002-03 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Richmond Renegades (ECHL) suspended play

Lexington Men O'War (ECHL) suspended play

Baton Rouge Kingfish (ECHL) suspended play

Jackson Bandits (ECHL) suspended play

Saint John Flames (AHL) (franchise will most likely move to Omaha in 04-05)

Arkansas RiverBlades (ECHL) shut down

El Paso Buzzards (CHL) shut down

Pee Dee Pride became Florence Pride (ECHL)

Tupelo T-Rex (SEHL; folded before season started due to legal issues) (may resume play in 04-05)


Teams that played in 2003-04 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Columbus (OH) Stars (UHL)

Columbus (GA) Cottonmouths (ECHL) (Suspended play for 04-05; will move to Bradenton FL in 05-06)

Greensboro Generals (suspended due to financial reasons)

Roanoke Express (suspended due to financial reasons)

Florence Pride (changed back to Pee Dee)

Cincinnati Cyclones

(These next four teams played or were scheduled to play in the WHA2 and/or the SEHL, both of which are apparently defunct as of July 27, 2004)

Pelham (AL) (inactive for 2004-05)

Alabama Slammers

Lakeland Loggerheads

Miami Manatees


Teams that played in 2004-05 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (AHL) (moving to Stockton CA)

St. John's Maple Leafs (AHL) (moving to Toronto)

Port Huron Beacons (UHL) (suspending play after 04-05 pending a move or permanent shut-down) (click here for an update)

Kansas City Outlaws (UHL) (suspending play after 04-05 pending a move or permanent shut-down)

San Angelo Saints (CHL) (Franchise rights to be moved in 06-07)

Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (AHL) (Suspended for 05-06 due to loss of NHL affiliation)

Utah Grizzlies (AHL) (Suspended for 2005-06) (click here for an update)

Macon Trax (SPHL)

Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (ECHL) (moving to Stockton CA as the Thunder)

Winston-Salem Polar Twins (SPHL) (Folded due to lack of support)

New Mexico Scorpions (CHL) (Suspended for 2005-06 pending move to a new building.

Edmonton Roadrunners (AHL) (Suspended play for 2005-06 due to concerns over competition with the NHL Oilers)

Louisiana IceGators (ECHL) (No official word, but they're not on the realigned ECHL team list for 2005-06.)

Mississippi Sea Wolves (Voluntary suspension extended through 06-07 due to hurricane damage to arena)

Teams that played in 2005-06 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Topeka Tarantulas (CHL)

Asheville (SPHL)

Cleveland Barons (AHL; moved to Worcester MA and became the Sharks in 06-07)

Richmond RiverDogs (UHL); franchise will move to Hoffman Estates IL; team will be called the Chicago Hounds

Missouri River Otters (UHL) (will suspend play unless a buyer is found)

Motor City Mechanics (UHL) suspended operations for at least one season

Roanoke Valley Vipers (UHL)  suspended operations for at least one season

Adirondack Frostbite (UHL) ownership has walked away from the team

Danbury (CN) Trashers (UHL)

San Diego Gulls (ECHL)

Greenville Grrrowl (ECHL)

Fort Worth Brahmas (CHL) suspended play due to arena dispute


Teams that played in 2006-07 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Florida Seals (SPHL)

Rockford Ice Hogs (Moving from UHL to AHL)

Elmira Jackals (moving from UHL to ECHL)

Quad City Mallards (UHL) (replaced by AHL Quad City Flames)

Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL; shutting down)

Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL) moves to Quad Cities as the Flames

Chicago Hounds (UHL) - shutting down due to excessive lease costs

Toledo Storm (ECHL) - voluntary suspension

Port Huron Flags become the Beacons (former UHL; now IHL)

Lubbock Cotton Kings (CHL) - one year voluntary suspension

Pee Dee Pride (SPHL) - moving to Winston-Salem as the Twin City Cyclones

Danville Pounders 

Findlay Freedom

Mohawk Valley IceCats

New England Stars

(Above four teams constituted the Northeast Hockey League, which quietly disappeared about January 2007) 

Teams that played in 2007-08 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Valley Forge Freedom (Oaks, Pennsylvania) (MAHL)

Jacksonville Barracudas (SPHL) - suspended play for one year to find a new arena

Texas Wildcatters (ECHL) (Franchise moved to Ontario CA as the Reign)

Columbia Inferno (ECHL) (Play suspended pending completion of new arena)

These next 5 teams were part of the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, which lasted only one season; some may not actually have started play:

Chelsea (MI) Tornadoes

Indiana (PA) Ice Miners

Lake Erie Vikings (Jamestown NY) 

Mon Valley Thunder (Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania)

Trenton (MI) Warriors (formerly Wooster OH)

Austin Ice Bats (CHL)


Teams that played in 2008-09
(Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Augusta Lynx (ECHL)

Fresno Falcons (ECHL)

Detroit Dragons (AAHA)

Phoenix Roadrunners (ECHL) (Folding at the end of 2008-09)

Dayton Bombers (ECHL) (Suspending operations at season's end)

Mississippi Sea Wolves (ECHL) (Suspending operations at season's end)

Richmond Renegades

Twin Cities Cyclones (Winston-Salem)

Kalamazoo Wings (IHL)

Chicago Blaze (AAHL)

Detroit Hitmen (AAHL)

Brooklyn Aces (Part of defunct EPHL)

Danbury Mad Hatters (Part of defunct EPHL)

Hudson Valley Bears (Part of defunct EPHL)

Jersey Rockhoppers (Part of defunct EPHL)

New Mexico Scorpions (CHL)

Rocky Mountain Rage (Broomfield) (CHL)

Iowa Chops (Suspended by AHL)

Teams that played in 2009-10 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Madison Ice Muskies (AAHL)

Johnstown Chiefs (ECHL) (Moved to Greenville SC)

Muskegon Lumberjacks (IHL) (Moved to Jr. A USHL)  

New York Aviators (NEPHL) (moved to Federal League for 2010-11)

Rhode Island Storm (NEPHL)

Chi Town Shooters (AAHL)

West Michigan Blizzard (Muskegon) (AAHL)

Connecticut C-Dogs (NEPHL)


(The next five teams did not survive the merger of the CHL and IHL starting in 2010-11)

Amarillo Gorillas (CHL)  

Oklahoma City Blazers (CHL)

Corpus Christi Ice Rays (CHL)

Flint Generals (IHL)

Port Huron Icehawks (IHL)

 

Teams that Played in 2010-11 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Wooster (OH) Korn Kings

Indiana Blizzard

Broome County Barons (FHL; moved to Cape Cod)

Atlanta Thrashers (NHL; moving to Winnipeg)  

Mississippi RiverKings (moved from CHL to SPHL)

Colorado Eagles (CHL; moving to ECHL)

Manitoba Moose (now St. John's IceCaps) (AHL)

Battle Creek Revolution (AAHL)

Lapeer (MI) Loggers (AAHL)

Troy (AAHL)

Queen City Storm (Cincinnatti) (AAHL)

(The above 4 teams were part of the All American league, which disappeared during the summer of 2011)

Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (CHL; shut down for financial reasons)

Odessa Jackalopes (CHL; became a NAHL junior team)

Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL; Withdrew from league)


Teams that Played in 2011-12 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Evansville Icemen (moving from CHL to ECHL)

Fort Wayne Komets (moving from CHL to ECHL)

Akwesasne Warriors (FHL)

Brooklyn Aviators (FHL)

Delaware Federals (FHL)

New Jersey Outlaws (FHL)

Dayton Gems (CHL)

Laredo Bucks (CHL)

Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL)

Chicago Express (ECHL)


Teams that Played in 2012-13 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

Fort Worth Brahmas (CHL) 

Augusta RiverHawks (SPHL)

Peoria Rivermen (folded by NHL Blues; new team using the name will play in the CHL)

Cape Cod Bluefins (FHL)

Williamsport Outlaws (FHL)  

Houston Aeros (AHL)

Trenton Devils


Teams that Played in 2013-14 (Folded, Suspended, Moved)

San Francisco Bulls (ECHL) (Folder in January 2014) 

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Teams of the Future (and pending moves)

2003-04     2004-05     2005-06     2006-07

2007-08     2008-09     2009-10     2010-11

2011-12     2012-13     2013-14

(If teams actually start play, they will be shown as new teams in their respective leagues. Teams that never materialize are listed below.)


2003-04 (Teams of the future)

Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) to move to Toronto (an AHL team, the Roadrunners, did play in Toronto, but Hamilton remains in business. The Roadrunners are moving to Edmonton for 2004-05).

2004-05 (Teams of the future)

Victoria (BC) Salmon Kings (former Baton Rouge Kingfish) (ECHL)

Danbury (CN) Trashers (UHL)

Kansas City Outlaws (UHL)

Motor City Mechanics (Fraser MI) (UHL)

Edmonton Roadrunners (formerly Toronto)


2005-06 (Teams of the future)

Sarasota (ECHL)

Gulf Coast Swords (Bradenton FL) (ECHL) former Columbus Cottonmouths

Bloomington (IL) (ECHL) former WCHL Tacoma franchise

Reno (ECHL)

Burlington (VT) (ECHL)

Topeka Tarantulas (CHL) (this team is playing in 04-05)

Des Moines (AHL)

Iowa Stars (AHL)

Florida Seals (formerly Orlando; SPHL)

Peoria (former Ice Cats; moving from Worcester; AHL)

Roanoke Valley Vipers (UHL) (Expansion team)  

Youngstown (OH) Steelhounds (CHL)

Stockton Thunder (CA) (ECHL) (former Boardwalk Bullies, moving from Atlantic City) 

Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL)

Toronto Marlies (AHL) (former St. John's Maple Leafs)

Port Huron, MI Flags (UHL)

Florence, SC (SPHL)

Phoenix Roadrunners (ECHL)

Pee Dee Cyclones (SPHL)


2006-07 (Teams of the future)

Broomfield CO (CHL)

New Mexico Scorpions (CHL)

Arizona Sundogs (Prescott Valley AZ) (CHL)

Bloomington (IL) Prairie Thunder (UHL)

Cincinnati RailRiders (AHL)

Hoffman Estates IL (UHL) (to be known as the Chicago Hounds)

Worcester MA Sharks (former Cleveland Barons, AHL)

Richmond (VA) Renegades (SPHL)

Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)


2007-08 (Teams of the future)

Williamsport PA (UHL)

Cleveland (Lake Erie Monsters) (AHL)

Rockford Ice Hogs (moving from UHL to AHL)

Elmira Jackals (moving from UHL to ECHL)

Quad City Flames (AHL) (replacing UHL Mallards)

Twin City Cyclones (Winston-Salem) (SPHL) (formerly Pee Dee)

 

2008-09 (Teams of the future)

Windsor (Ontario) (former Cincinnati AHL franchise)

Battle Creek (MI) Revolution (MAHL)

Ontario (CA) Reign (ECHL) (Former Texas Wildcatters)

Detroit Dragons (MAHL)

 

2009-10 (Teams of the future)

Toledo Walleye (ECHL)

Abbotsford (B.C.) Heat (AHL; formerly Quad Cities)

Adirondack (Glens Falls, NY) Phantoms (AHL; formerly Philadelphia)

Allen (TX) (CHL) Americans

Independence (MO) (CHL)

Dayton Gems (IHL)

Quad City Mallards (IHL)

Madison Ice Muskies (AAHL)

Mississippi Surge (Biloxi) (SPHL)

 


2010-11 (Teams of the future)

Austin (TX) (AHL; Dallas affiliate) (Moved up to 2009-10)

Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton AHL franchise)

Charlotte Checkers (former Albany River Rats)

Greenville Chiefs (ECHL) (Moving from Johnstown and became the Road Warriors)

Augusta, GA (SPHL) (Begins play 2010-11)


2011-12 (Teams of the future)

None

2012-13  (Teams of the future)

San Francisco Bulls (ECHL)

Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL)

Evansville Icemen (moving from CHL to ECHL)

Fort Wayne Komets (moving from CHL to ECHL)

Denver Cutthroats (CHL)


2013-14 (Teams of the future)

Bloomington Thunder (originally to be the Blaze) (moving from Central to Southern Pro League)

Peoria Rivermen (former AHL franchise; new franchise with same name in SPHL)

 

Possibilities that Never Materialized

Ontario (CA) (WCHL) (this became the franchise planned for Bloomington IL) (see 2008 update)

Huntington Blizzard (inactive in 2000-2001; moving to Memphis 2001-2002) (ECHL) 

Savanna (GA) (AHL)

Cincinnati RailRiders (AHL)

Williamsport PA (UHL)

Windsor (Ontario) (former Cincinnati AHL franchise)

Myrtle Beach Thunderboltz (former PeeDee Pride) (ECHL)

Lehigh Valley Xtreme (Allentown PA) (UHL)

Asheville NC (WHA2) (Played briefly in Southern Pro league)

Tallahassee FL (WHA2)

Twin-City Yeti (NEPHL)

New England Pharaohs (NEPHL)

Hyannis Storm (EPHL)

(Green Mountain Rock Crushers (FHL) (This team was supposed to play in 2011-12, but apparently did not)

Niagara Falls Nationals (FHL; new for 2011-12, but disappeared from league web site)

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Notes:      2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013

Inter-league Play: In 2000-01 the WCHL and the CHL played 16 inter-league games which counted in the standings.

2001-02 Major Changes: Team moves and league realignments for the 2001-02 season were major and dramatic. Although they are listed under Moves/Changes, they are summarized here. 

The International Hockey League ceased operations after 56 years. From a high of 19 teams in 1997, the league dropped to 11 in 2000-01. Six IHL teams moved to the American Hockey League: Chicago Wolves, Manitoba Moose, Houston Aeros, Grand Rapids Griffins, Milwaukee Admirals and Utah Grizzlies. The Kansas City Blades, Detroit Vipers, Orlando Solar Bears and Cleveland Lumberjacks are no more. The former Miami Matadors franchise will move to Cincinnati under the Cyclones name in the East Coast Hockey League. San Jose folded the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades, and established a new franchise, the Barons, in Cleveland. The AHL, long focused in the northeast, is now be scattered across a huge area with Texas, Utah, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Virginia at its extremes.

Meanwhile, the five-year old Western Professional Hockey League and the nine-year old Central Hockey League merged, retaining the CHL name. Lake Charles LA, Monroe LA and Tupelo MS of the WPHL were not included, while CHL teams in Huntsville AL and Fayetteville NC also became defunct. The CHL's Macon Whoopie and Columbus Cottonmouths joined the ECHL.

New League for 2002-03: The Atlantic Coast League started play in October with six teams, and is now included in our listings.

Shrinkage: Instead of planned expansion, the WCHL will lose a team, the Tacoma Sabrecats, which folded at the end of the season after losing to Idaho in the second round of the playoffs. In their short history the 'Cats claimed one Taylor Cup. The Colorado Gold Kings also suspended play.

WCHL to be Folded into ECHL: The ECHL has accepted the application of all current and two future WCHL teams to join the league. With other scheduled eastern expansion teams, the 27 team ECHL will balloon to 37 teams spread across both coasts by 2004-05. A joint meeting to discuss a name change and other issues will take place some time in the winter of 02-03.

Other 2002-03 Changes: The UHL B.C. (Binghamton NY) Iceman have  been forced into suspension due to the AHL team coming to that city. The new San Antonio Stampede had to change their nickname to Rampage because the Stampede name is owned by a semi-pro football team. 

On the Move: The AHL Hamilton Bulldogs will reportedly move to Toronto at the end of the 2002-03 season. Toronto will become the second city to have both NHL and AHL teams (the other is Philadelphia, with the AHL Phantoms).

Changes for 2003-04: An organization is preparing to bring back the long-defunct World Hockey Association, supposedly at or near the level of the NHL, in 2004-05. An affiliated minor league, WHA2, is planned for 2002-03, with ten to twelve teams.

Also scheduled to start play in the fall of 2003 is a new all-Canadian pro league, the Federal Hockey League. 

How likely are these leagues to succeed, or even launch play? The Federal league has not announced any cities. The WHA is advertising franchises available in 25 cities, with commitments in place for 7 other locations. Meanwhile the struggles of several NHL clubs have been well documented (Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Ottawa), and as many as ten NHL teams may be for sale. Where will the players, fans and money come from?


The East Coast Hockey League has decided to retain it's current name (more or less), despite the addition of the entire West Coast league. The league will be called the ECHL, and will drop the text spelling out the name in its logo. 

Teams set to play in the World Hockey Association 2 include Pelham (AL), a suburb of Birmingham. 

The all-Canadian Federal League has plans for teams in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Hamilton, Quebec, Montreal and Saint John. The league will take a radical approach to revenue sharing, with 100% of gate revenues spread among teams, players, coaches and the league according to a pre-set scale.

The AHL has realigned into two conferences, with two divisions each containing six or seven teams. This replaces the three division alignment in each conference that was used in 2002-03. The new alignment is now shown under the AHL section.

The ECHL has announced its new conference and division lineups, to incorporate teams formerly belonging to the WCHL. The new alignment is now shown under the ECHL Section.

The September 1, 2003 update includes the first official listing of the World Hockey Association 2. Meanwhile, all but one team in the Atlantic League pulled out to form the new South East Hockey League (also added to our list, at least until the next shakeup) Does that mean that Winston-Salem, the sole team left in the old league, is a lock for the ACHL cup?

ECHL players went on strike in late August. Teams vowed to start the season on time, with or without the strikers, recruiting from colleges and Europe. (PS: The strike was settled before opening day.)

The ACHL appears to be officially dead; it's no longer listed in The Hockey News, and in its place is the SEHL. With this update, the the ACHL is shown as dissolved.

Before the start of the season, the ECHL re-named its Western Conference Divisions to Central and Pacific. The Gwinnet Gladiators and the Augusta Lynx moved from the Southern Division to the Central. These designations are reflected in the league listings. The players strike was settled in late September, prior to the start of training camps.

The SEHL's Tupelo T-Rex (formerly of the defunct WPHL) was forced to fold before the season started, due to a non-compete clause relating to their former league. This leaves four teams active in the new league.

The SEHL's Winston-Salem team, which has played without a nickname, is now officially the Thunderbirds.

The Columbus (OH) Stars have shut down as of January 9 (oops - we never put this team in the active list). The UHL team cited poor attendance. Players become free agents, and many are expected to join the ECHL.

02/19/04: Please don't ask how or why, but we erroneously listed the Portland Pirates (AHL) as a team that had stopped playing. In fact, the Pirates have been going strong since 1993 and we have never seen any reports to indicate any changes.   

04/02/04: Another mea culpa - we've had two CHL teams listed as "teams of the future," although they have been playing all season long. We have now added the Colorado Eagles and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (Hidalgo TX) to the Central League section. I swear I checked the CHL website or the Hockey News standings near the start of the season, but maybe it was before the lineups were set. The addition of these teams caused a couple of division moves for other teams. Don't hesitate to send Email if you spot any other errors.

5/11/04: The World Hockey Association 2 has announced that its member teams, including the Orlando Seals, Jacksonville Barracudas, Asheville Aces, Lakeland Loggerheads, Macon Trax, and Alabama Slammers will be leaving the league to align with the reincarnated Eastern Hockey League of North Carolina. The Miami Manatees franchise has been granted a temporary one year suspension of operations while it looks to relocate for the 2005-2006 season. The Cape Coral Florida franchise has agreed to follow the former WHA2 member teams to the new league (but see below for updates).

In the ECHL, teams are planned in 2005-06 for Burlington VT; Reno NV; and Bloomington IL. The latter is the former WCHL franchise in Tacoma, which once planned to move to Ontario CA. There is a possibility the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies will move to New Orleans.

05/15/04: The ECHL Peoria Rivermen are in negotiations to move up to the AHL next season. In the Central League, the Indianapolis Ice will likely move to a junior status, while the Junior A U.S. League Danville IL Wings could replace them.

05/22/04: The Huntsville Channel Cats are moving from the South East League to the Eastern League (leaving just three teams in the SEHL). However, the WHA2 Alabama Slammers may go to the SEHL instead of the EHL, and Columbus GA may ice a team in SEHL.

07/22/04: The ECHL has realigned and re-named its conferences and divisions. The new combinations are shown under the ECHL listing above.

As of July 2004 the Eastern Hockey League has changed its name to the Southern Hockey League, although things are in such a state that it may be the non-existent league by the time the season starts. We haven't tried to include this league in the league/team listings yet. No official web site for the league could be found.

The SEHL in June announced that Pelham AL will join the league; the Tupelo T-Rex also may return.

A correspondent reports new teams for Kansas City and Fraser, Michigan. I have not been able to get any other information on these yet.

Lots of today's updates (7/22/04) are because I have added follow-up notes to some of the team changes from previous years.

07/24/04: As of July 24 the Kansas City and Fraser (Motor City Mechanics) teams have been confirmed as members of the UHL. The league has reconfigured into three divisions, and the new team lineups are shown in the listings above.

On July 23 the American Hockey league announced that the Toronto Roadrunners would move to Edmonton for 2004-05. 

07/27/04: Mass shuffling continues in the Southeast and the again-renamed Southern Professional Hockey League (which is now honored with a listing above). Several teams have pulled out of the SEHL, and it's expected to fold. This leaves the SPHL with nine teams, mostly from the former WHA2/EHL/SHL/SEHL leagues.

8/09/04: The revived World Hockey Association (WHA) remains a bit insubstantial, despite the presence of former Blackhawk star Bobby Hull as commissioner. The league lists the following as cities that will play in the first season: Dallas or Vancouver, Detroit, Halifax, Hamilton, Miami, Quebec, and Toronto. Ownership groups have reportedly paid the franchise fee for four of these. They've conducted a draft, picking Sidney Crosby, next year's 99% certain number one in the NHL draft. Observers doubt that he'll sign. Detroit has a coach, and Quebec has a team name (the Nordiks).

Far less likely is the Northern League of Professional Hockey (NLPH), which seems to be little more than a hopeful ad that appeared in a recent issue of the Hockey News, seeking team owners. The listed website is not operational.

8/10/04: Yet another new hockey league has come to our attention - the International Hockey Association. Unlike the elusive WHA and the vaporous NLPH, the league has six teams complete with names and logos, and lists plans for future expansion. The 2004-05 schedule link on their website brings up a list of days with no dates or teams yet, but after all, it's still only August. We'll list this league above when the schedule appears. Teams for 2004 are Buffalo, Jamestown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Troy OH, and Sault St. Marie. I'm guessing that's Jamestown NY; individual team information is not provided.

8/25/04: The tentative Iowa team for the AHL has been confirmed for 2005 and is now listed under teams of the future for 05-06. Based in Des Moines, they will be known as the Stars, and have signed an affiliation agreement with Dallas.

9/1/04: The St. John's Maple Leafs will end a 14 year run in Newfoundland after the 2004-05 season, and will move to Toronto. The team is affiliated with the NHL Maple Leafs.

The WHA is down to five cities: Detroit, Halifax, Vancouver, Dallas and Quebec. In its issue of August 24, The Hockey News declares the league's survival unlikely.

9/2/04: The Southeast Hockey League clings to life, or at least to hope, with a spokesman declaring that the league will be "dormant" for 2004-05. Three teams are said to be committed for 2005-06, but only Pelham and Tupelo are named.

9/23/04: The Hockey News compares them to "spoiled kids [squabbling] over a candy bar" (a candy bar worth two billion dollars, as the writer notes). The NHL and the NHLPA met a few times in late summer, but seemed only to harden their already diametrically opposed positions. Bottom line - no hockey till further notice, and the league speaks of trashing the entire season. While the league's claim of losses seems to be valid, it's still millionaire vs. millionaire, and who knows what the long-term costs of their intransigence will be? Like many fans, I'm just as mad as can be at both parties, but I'm a hard core fanatic, so I'll be watching the local ECHL Fresno Falcons and waiting anxiously for the return of the big time.

Meanwhile, what about the Original Stars Hockey League? Unlike the even more elusive WHL, the OSHL is intended only as a fill-in and plans to suspend operations once the NHL is back in business. A Google search did not produce a website for the league. In the latest story found, the league says it has cancelled some preseason games, but denies that the league has folded. They claim they will start their regular season on October 7. This story from the Toronto Star puts things in pretty good perspective. Stay tuned.

As for the WHA, on their website is a denial that they are selling the league to the NHL. The latest update prior to that dates back to August 27. Don't hold your breath waiting for this circus to provide hockey either. 

9/29/04: The Orlando Seals of the Southern Professional Hockey League have been forced to suspend operations for the 2004-05 season, due to loss of their arena lease. We've left them in the league listing, since they expect to return on 05-06.

10/9/04: Someone asked me if there is a way to locate a particular player, to see what team he now plays for. The Joy of Hockey attempts to do just this. Log on to the site, then scroll down to the alpha links under "Joy of Hockey's Player Index." Each player's page lists his career statistics by year.

10/11/04: The Cape Fear FireAntz (SPHL), based in Fayetteville, have adopted the city name instead of the regional name, and will now be the Fayetteville FireAntz. This change has been made in the listings above. 

11/1/04: The WHA has finally thrown in the towel, admitting it will not get off the ground this year. There are still big plans for next year, and the organization is for sale, with a wealthy lumberman reportedly interested.

12/2/04: Another apparent towel toss comes from the Original Stars Hockey League. The Hockey News issue of November 23, 2004, player paychecks have bounced and games have been cancelled. The league still claims it will resume play in December, but many high-profile players have given up on the experiment.

The Orlando Seals, suspended for the 04-05 season due to the loss of their arena, have lined up a venue for 05-06 - the Silver Spurs Arena in nearby Kissimmee. They will become the Florida Seals.

12/4/04: The St. Louis Blues are selling the Worcester Ice Cats (AHL) to the owners of the Peoria Rivermen (ECHL), who plan to move the AHL team to Peoria. No word yet on the fate of the Rivermen.

12/18/04: The Exhibition Hockey League (EHL) is the latest in a long line of leagues and tours attempting to provide hockey during the NHL lockout. It planned a December launch, but the latest information on the Internet now says the end of January. The Federal League fizzled out before any franchises were established.

Referring back to the December 4 update, the latest word is that the former Worcester AHL franchise will move to Peoria and take the Rivermen name. The ECHL Rivermen franchise will either be sold or folded.

3/12/05: Add another hopeful minor pro league - the Northern League of Professional Hockey, which plans to start play in October. The configuration is expected to include five to eight teams in Ontario and the northeastern U.S. Possible locations include North Bay, Niagara Falls, Welland, St. Catherine's, LaSalle, Cornwall and Brantford in Ontario; and Danville IL, Roanoke VA, Hampton Roads VA, Huntington WV, and Utica NY in the U.S.

The Calgary Flames are planning to place their AHL affiliate in Omaha next season. The Flames suspended play of their long-standing team in Saint John N.B after 2002-03.

The AHL's Portland Pirates are considering a move to Massachusetts. A new arena in Portland could forestall the move. There's also a rumor the Hartford Wolf Pack may move to Rye, NY.

The latest chapter in the long-running soap opera that is the revived (or still moribund?) World Hockey Association has the league aiming for an October start, with at least six North American franchises.

3/30/05: In  the possible but hopefully not probable category, the Cleveland Barons could move if attendance does not improve. Quad Cities, which hosts a UHL team, is interested in the Sharks AHL affiliate. Note: As of June 23, the franchise will remain in Cleveland.

Toronto's AHL affiliate, the St. John's Maple Leafs, will move to Toronto for the 2005-06 season, and will be known as the Marlboros (see an update here).

4/12/05: The UHL's Port Huron Beacons, after losing a million and a half dollars since 2002, will either relocate, suspend play, or shut down when the season ends. Any move would not take place until 2006-07.

4/21/05: The Omaha AHL franchise (former Saint John Flames) will be known as the Knights. (Click here for an update)

We've received notice that the Port Huron Beacon (UHL) will move to Roanoke VA, and will be known as the Roanoke Valley Vipers. However, hockey will continue in the Michigan city with a new franchise known as the Port Huron Flags.

There is a rumor that the Quad City Mallards might be moving from the UHL to the AHL. Note: As of June 23, the Mallards will remain in the UHL.

5/1/05: The Toronto AHL team will actually be known as the Marlies, a reference to the junior team. the Marlboros, which played there in the past.

5/12/05: The Omaha AHL team will be known as the Ak-Sar Ben Knights (no, it's not Arabic; ask Stan Freberg for an explanation).

6/1/05: OK, there's confusion in Omaha, or bad info coming out, or something. The latest word is that the Omaha team will be just plain Omaha Knights (thank goodness) (but click here for the latest).

The latest from the ghostly World Hockey League says that the three-city, six-team tournament scheduled for late May is on hold till early June. Promoter Phil Esposito has ended his association with the league, saying he hasn't been paid. League president Ricky Smith says he fired Phil. Everyone who still believes in the WHA, send in $500 for this bridge in Brooklyn that I'm selling.

The San Angelo Saints suspended operations after an eight-year CHL run. The license rights for the franchise will be moved for the 2006-07 season. 

Also suspending play, at least for 2005-06, is the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, who have lost their affiliation with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of the NHL.

Another AHL suspension is the Utah Grizzlies, whose announcement gives no reason, but says "Exciting details regarding hockey in Utah and in the E Center will be revealed in the near future."

In the SPHL, the Macon Trax have suspended operations. Several other teams are said to be on shaky ground, but the web site doesn't have any information on this. Nothing is said of the Trax either, but they are no longer listed as a member of the league. 

The new ECHL franchise in Stockton will be known as the Thunder.

6/3/05: We've now received confirmation that the Winston-Salem Polar Twins of the SPHL have suspended operations. This is the city's 7th hockey franchise to take a fatal slip on the ice.

6/23/05: The Utah Grizzlies will resume play in the coming season as an ECHL team. Edmonton will suspend play of their AHL affiliate Roadrunners over concerns about competition with the NHL team (both were scheduled to play in the same arena in Edmonton). A possible move of the Sharks AHL team from  Cleveland to Quad Cities will not occur; the UHL Mallards will continue their successful run in the Iowa-Illinois border area. By the way, in case you're wondering, the Quad Cities are Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, and Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa.

6/25/05: With three new teams for 2005-06 (Phoenix Roadrunners, Stockton Thunder, and the Utah Grizzlies) the ECHL will have 27 teams playing in 16 states and British Columbia, and has done a major realignment of divisions and conferences. The new alignments are shown in the ECHL team listing above.

7/19/05: OK, we're putting this to rest once and for all. The AHL team in Omaha is the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (it's Nebraska spelled backwards). Someone else owns the rights to the name "Omaha Knights."

9/19/05: Due to Hurricane Katrina, which has been called the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States, Mississippi Sea Wolves operating owner Mike Rogers has announced that the team would not be able to operate in 2005-06 but that it would return to action at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in 2006-07.

What's up with the elusive World Hockey Association? We haven't seen any news lately on line or in The Hockey News, but the WHA web site has a message that reads "WHA SUPER JUNIOR LEAGUE - TRYOUT CAMP 2005-2006 Season to consist of six teams in Florida division."

10/11/05: In addition to the Mississippi Sea Wolves, the Texas Wildcatters will also not play during 2005-06 because of hurricane damage to their arena in Beaumont.

1/19/06: The name of the new CHL team in Prescott Valley AZ will be the Arizona Sundogs.

1/31/06: Robbie Nichols, the popular coach of the Richmond RiverDogs is being shipped by the team's owners to Hoffman Estates, Ill., to help start up their new UHL franchise there. Although there are hints the 'Dogs will move or fold, the team has said no decision will be made till the end of the season. With a projected loss of $400,000 for the team this season, a bet on the team's survival doesn't look like a good investment.

2/28/06: The Bloomington IL UHL franchise will be known as the Prairie Thunder.

3/19/06: As projected above (1/31), the Richmond RiverDogs franchise is moving to Hoffman Estates, Illinois in 2006-07. Local businessman Allan B. Harvie is trying to bring in a Southern Pro League franchise to fill the void.

4/3/06: There's a possibility the Quad City Mallards (UHL) may move to the American League and become the Edmonton Oilers top farm team. Some observers question whether the team can generate the necessary revenue to move up.

The New Jersey Devils have ended their relationship with the AHL Albany River Rats, and will purchase the AHL team in Lowell MA, where they will place their prospects. The Rats are exploring possible affiliation with other clubs.

4/9/06: The proposed new AHL team for Cincinnati, the Railriders, have been unable to sell enough season tickets for 2006-07 and will not play next year. The team ownership continues to hold the rights for an AHL franchise in Cincinnati, but no further plans have been announced.

4/21/06: The ECHL announced on Friday that the Cincinnati Cyclones have informed the Board of Governors that they will return to the ice at US Bank Arena for the 2006-07 season. The team told the Board that preparations are already underway and playing dates have previously been submitted to the League office.

5/18/06: The annual change partners dance has begun as some NHL teams change their AHL affiliates. The Carolina Hurricanes will join forces with the Albany River Rats, severing ties with the Lowell Loch Monsters. The Rats end a lengthy partnership with the New Jersey Devils. Colorado will share the Albany affiliation, also ending a relationship with Lowell. Click here to see the latest listing of NHL farm teams.

The Mississippi Sea Wolves (ECHL) have received permission to extend their voluntary suspension through the 2006-07 season, pending completion of repairs to their hurricane-damaged rink.

5/31/06: The Missouri River Otters (UHL) may be finished for good. The current owner has closed down the team office, and unless someone steps in to buy the team, it will not return next season.

With the Richmond RiverDogs moving to Hoffman Estates, IL, the former Richmond ECHL team the Renegades will be revived as a SPHL team for 2006-07. 

6/20/06: The UHL may drop from 14 teams to 11 for the 2006-07 season. The Bloomington (IL) Prairie Thunder is a new expansion team, but the league may lose the Roanoke Valley Vipers, Motor City Mechanics, Missouri River Otters and Adirondack Frostbite. The Vipers and Mechanics are a definite "no," while it would take new ownership to saved the Otters and the Frostbite.

6/29/06: The Lowell Lock Monsters (AHL), now affiliated with the New Jersey Devils, have adopted the parent team's nickname.

There's a rumor, unconfirmed by the league but reported in The Hockey News, that the owners of the ECHL Greenville Grrowl have folded the team. Meanwhile reports that the UHL Danbury Trashers will suspend operations for the 2006-07 season have been confirmed.

6/30/06: The ECHL San Diego Gulls stopped operations today. A pending sale could not be finalized in time for the team to compete in the 2006-07 season. The Gulls have operated in the now defunct International and West Coast Hockey Leagues as well as the ECHL for many years. A personal note: Since my local Fresno Falcons joined the WCHL in 1996, the Gulls have been our most loved and hated rivals. They will be missed.

7/22/06: Although the ECHL has not made an official announcement, the Greenville Grrrowl are not listed in the recently-released 2006-07 schedule; therefore we're listing them as a defunct or suspended team that played in 05-06.

8/8/06: It's two in and two out for the ECHL. The final team lineup includes the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Texas Wildcatters (Beaumont), who return after suspending play last year due to Hurricane Rita. Greenville and San Diego are out for now.

The Central League's Fort Worth Brahmas are suspending play for the 2006-07 season due to a dispute with the city over their arena lease.

8/14/06: The Chicago Blackhawks will share an ECHL affiliation with the Toledo Storm. The Storm are also affiliated with Detroit.

The 2006-07 season might be called the year of going back. A half dozen or more players are returning to teams they played for in the past. Perhaps the biggest move was Colorado's Rob Blake returning to the L.A. Kings. Blake won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche. Other moves: Jeremy Roenick back to Phoenix, Travis Green to the Anaheim Ducks, Dominik Hasek to the Detroit Red Wings, Mark Recchi to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Doug Weight to the St. Louis Blues.

Big name moves to new teams include Brendan Shanahan to the Rangers, Chris Pronger to the Ducks, Eric Lindros to the Stars, Alex Tanguay to the Flames, Michael Peca to the Maple Leafs.

9/28/06: It appears that the ECHL has done away with divisions for the 2006-07 season. Nothing has been said about it, but the team listings show conference line-ups only, so we're making that assumption till we hear otherwise. (See the next note for the latest.)

10/21/06: Finally the ECHL has revealed the division lineups, and we've made the changes in the league listing above.

11/2/06: A Windsor, Ontario organization, Ice Track Corp., plans to purchase the AHL Cincinnati franchise, and establish a team in a new arena in Windsor, starting in 2008-09.

12/6/06: The Chicago Blackhawks would like to place their prospects in an AHL affiliate in Rockford IL, much closer than their present location with the Norfolk Admirals. The plan is complicated by the fact that Rockford has a UHL team, the IceHogs, and that the Admirals have no interest in moving.

2/16/07: The SPHL Florida Seals have folded after the arena locked them out due to unpaid bills. As a result, the league will base final standings on win percentage, since it's now mathematically impossible for all teams to play an equal number of games.

2/26/07: Hockey is heading back to Cleveland once again. The owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and their arena will run the operation, to be known as the Lake Erie Monsters. The AHL team is expected to play next season (2007-08) and will be affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche.

3/30/07: Officials in Glens Falls NY are exploring the level of support for getting an AHL team back in the city. The Adirondack Red Wings flourished there for many years until financial problems forced them to shut down after the 1998-99 season. A United League team, the Adirondack Frostbite, ceased operations last June.

According to a March 19 news release, the Chicago Blackhawks will move their AHL affiliation to Rockford IL, and the UHL Ice Hogs will apparently move up to the higher level league (see update below). Chicago ends its seven-year affiliation with the Norfolk Admirals, who are expected to partner with Tampa Bay.

4/14/07: The Blackhawks have signed a 10-year affiliation agreement with the new AHL team in Rockford. The Hawks had been affiliated with Norfolk for seven years, but wanted a team closer to Chicago.

Tampa Bay will end its agreement with Springfield; the likely new relationship is with Norfolk. Springfield will be the AHL farm team for Edmonton, which has not had it's own affiliate for two years.

The ECHL has approved the application of the Elmira Jackals to move from the United League effective October 2007.

4/23/07: The Rockford AHL team is actually the former Cincinnati AHL franchise, but will retain the Ice Hogs name.

4/29/07: The ECHL stands to lose two American Conference teams for the 2007-08 season. The Pensacola Ice Pilots lease has expired, apparently ending ten years of hockey in that Florida city. The Toledo Storm has requested a voluntary suspension of operations (more below).

5/18/07: The Peedee Cyclones of the Southern Professional Hockey League are looking for a home in a new city. The team has been unable to make a profit in their present location.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) will launch a European championship league in 2008-09. Talks are in progress about having the Euro champion play the Stanley Cup champion each September. If this comes about, winners of these prizes will be listed on our Hockey Cup Winners page.

5/19/07: The New Jersey Devils' ECHL affiliate in Trenton has changed their name from the Titans to the Devils, thus completing the "devilish" hat trick (the AHL affiliate, Lowell changed to the Devils last season)

6/2/07: More changes in the hockey world - The ECHL loses another team with the shut-down of the Long Beach Ice Dogs. According to an official with another ECHL team, the Dogs were playing in front of "crowds" of 600 near the end of the season.

Meanwhile, the UHL loses another team to higher ambition. The Quad City Mallards, one of the more successful low minor league teams, will become Calgary's American League affiliate, and will be known as the Quad City Flames. 

There has been no confirmation regarding shut-down of the Toledo Storm or Pensacola Ice Pilots. The Storm are promoting season ticket sales on their web site and the Ice Pilots introduced a new coach on May 31 (more below).

6/8/07: The new Quad City Flames team will actually be Calgary's former Omaha Knights. Omaha proved to be the wrong market for an AHL team. Fans remained loyal to the US League's Lancers and the University of Nebraska team.

After sharing the Albany River Rats with Carolina, Colorado will have an exclusive franchise with the Lake Erie Monsters (Cleveland), coached by former NHL journeyman Joe Sacco. The New York Islanders will have an ECHL affiliate for the first time, the Utah Grizzlies.

6/9/07: After a week or two of rumors, the UHL has officially announced that the Chicago Hounds are shutting down. The reason given is lack of a reasonable lease costs.

6/18/07: We have received confirmation via Email from an official with the Pensacola Ice Pilots that the team will definitely play in 2007-08. We had no response to an inquiry to the Storm. However, the team no longer has a link on the ECHL home page, and the Storm page is "under construction." A look at the schedule for one of the American conference team shows no games scheduled with Toledo. Therefore we're listing the Toledo Storm as a team that no longer plays. 

6/19/07: One of our faithful hockey fans has brought to our attention two new minor pro leagues. The  4-team North Eastern Hockey League has completed its second year, and provides the following information on its website: "The North Eastern Hockey League is a second year minor hockey league. We use NHL rules with a few variations. The NEHL is a high scoring, fast paced league. In the first season games averaged 15 goals per game between both teams. The NEHL is based on affordability for both the owner and the fans." Teams have been added to the league listings above.

The Mid-Atlantic Hockey League is new and is hiring staff and holding team tryouts. The league's web site (http://www.mahlhockey.com/) lists two teams in one area and three in another (Mon Valley PA, Wooster OH and Indiana PA). This team will be added to the listings when play starts this fall. (More below)

6/21/07: The United League has changed its name to the International Hockey League, taking the name of the former triple A league that operated for 56 years with a high of 19 teams. The new IHL will start play with six team, The Bloomington Prairie Thunder, Flint Generals, Fort Wayne Komets, Kalamazoo Wings, Muskegon Fury, and the Port Huron Icehawks. The fate of the other UHL teams are as follows: Elmira Jackals are moving to the ECHL; Rockford IceHogs become an AHL team; the Port Huron Flags become the Icehawks; the Chicago Hounds are shutting down, and the Quad City Mallards are replaced by the AHL Quad City Flames. The new lineup is now included in the team listings above

7/8/07: Division alignments for the AHL Western Conference have changed with the addition of two teams and the movement of another. Colorado's AHL franchise, the Cleveland based Lake Erie Monsters will join the North Division. The Rockford Icehogs (moving from UHL) and the Quad City Flames (formerly Nebraska) will be in the West Division. The new alignments have been entered in the AHL listings above.

7/18/07: The Central Hockey League Lubbock  Cotton Kings will suspend play for a year. There's a chance the team could move to nearby San Angelo, where the Saints suspended operations at the end of the 2004-05 season.

In the Southern Professional Hockey League, the Pee Dee Cyclones, having experienced many ups and downs through the years, will move to Winston-Salem as the Twin City Cyclones.

8/7/07: The new Mid-Atlantic Hockey League has announced its 2007-08 schedule, to begin November 2, as well as the teams that will play. The league is now included in the listings above.

The new Europeans Champions Hockey League will begin play in September, 2008 with 24 clubs from seven countries participating. The 60-game format will conclude in January, 2009 with a two-game, home and away final. The Champions League winner will play in the Victoria Cup, a new annual tournament between three European teams and an NHL challenger, starting in the fall of 2008. 

3/20/08: Effective today new notes will appear at the top of the page, and will be moved to the bottom whenever they build up to what I think is enough to move (or six months, whichever comes first). And they won't be in red.

We haven't had much going on in the way of changes this season; the last new item was last October. Teams folding, moving, starting up, etc., usually happen late in the season or during the summer, but still, the hockey world seems remarkably stable this year.

Someone asked a question which may be of interest to others, so I present it here:

Q: I was just wondering which NHL team acquires players from the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL. I realize it's not a direct move, but if a player from the Ice Bears were good enough, what would his exact path to the NHL be? Just curious as to which stepping stones he would take and which NHL team Knoxville is affiliated with.

A: Usually the NHL teams do not have a formal agreement with minor league teams other than the AHL and ECHL. (If anyone knows different, please Email me.)  However, players from lower leagues do often move up to higher leagues, either by being signed, or temporarily on loan. If they shine during the loan period, they might get a contract from the higher team next season.

Our local ECHL team, Fresno Falcons, has no current NHL/AHL affiliate, but two or three players were loaned to different AHL teams during the season. Although we wish them well in the future, we hope they come back soon, with the playoffs coming up.

So a long answer to a simple question:

1. Be one of the best players in the SPHL

2. Put out feelers to ECHL and/or AHL teams (via an agent if possible) 

3. Get signed and be one of the better players in that league 

4. Get called up to the NHL

Although a lot of NHL players have spent brief periods in the ECHL and lower leagues, you can usually assume that a long-term (two seasons or more) minor league player is not likely to move up permanently.

We had one player, Greg Spenrath, who was a heavy hitter, goal scorer, leader, fighter, responsible defensively, who spent most of one season with an IHL team (back in the old IHL days). At that time we were in the West Coast league and had no affiliation. But even though he scored ten or more goals, he didn't get invited back.

The Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) announced that the Jamestown VIkings (Jamestown, NY) will relocate for their 2nd Season starting in the fall 2008.

The team will now be known as the Lake Erie Vikings and will return to Ohio for the upcoming season. Where in Ohio? you might ask? I checked both the league and Vikings web sites without finding an answer. But I'd look for it somewhere in the northern part of the state.

An expansion team, the South Shore Shooters, located in Dyer IN, will join the league for the 2008-09 season.

3/28/08: There's a reference in a brief item in The Hockey News of March 25 that says the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League has folded. In fact, they are recruiting for next season, and a representative quickly responded to my Email inquiry, stating that the league is NOT shutting down. They expect to have around ten teams for the 08-09 season.

More likely to be found among the missing is the Northeast Hockey League. The web site lists games scheduled through April, but there have been no scores entered and no news items since January. Email to the league president came back undeliverable, and mail to another address went unanswered. We'll leave the league in the active list for now, and see what happens during the summer.

4/9/08: This is not exactly league news, but it relates to happenings in two leagues. For some time I have created a file each year with the final standings and playoff scores for the NHL, and for my home team league, the ECHL. I have now made these files available on line as listed below. They're also listed in the Links section at the bottom of all my hockey pages. The current year's information will be updated daily during the playoffs unless I am away from home.

2005-06 ECHL Standings & Playoff Results; 2006-07 ECHL Standings & Playoff Results

2007-08 ECHL Standings & Playoff Results; 2005-06 NHL Standings & Playoff Results

2006-07 NHL Standings & Playoff Results; 2007-08 NHL Standings & Playoff Results

 

5/14/08: After a two-season absence, the ECHL returns to Toledo in 2009, with a new downtown arena, and a new name, the Walleye. Check out the team's website here.

5/28/08: There are several changes in the Mid Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL). Valley Forge Freedom no longer appears in the team listing; while the Battle Creek (MI) Revolution, Chelsea Tornadoes and South Shore Shooters have been added. The league listing has been updated to show these changes.


6/6/08: With the 2007-08 season concluded, some teams are re-thinking their affiliation arrangements. The Anaheim Ducks will place their prospects in Iowa, while the Stars make plans for an expansion or re-located team in Austin. There's no word yet on whether the Iowa team will retain the Stars name. Dallas hopes to have a team active in the Austin area in 2010; meanwhile they are seeking a place for their developing prospects, and will likely have to share an affiliation for the 2008-09 season.


6/11/08
: The Buffalo Sabres have changed their American Hockey League affiliate after signing a three-year deal with Maine's Portland Pirates. The Pirates take over after the Sabres ended a 29-year relationship with Rochester. Portland had spent the past three years as the Anaheim Ducks' affiliate. 


6/18/08
: The Jacksonville Barracudas have received permission from the Southern Pro League to suspend play for one year, while they search for a new, affordable arena. Players will be dispersed to the other six teams.


7/10/08: With the Iowa Stars changing their NHL affiliation from Dallas to Anaheim, a new team name is in order. Under consideration are the Capitals, Dragoons, and Honkers. If you're an Iowa AHL fan, please get in touch with the team and give them some better ideas!


7/12/08: Perhaps I should have been a little more clear about a better name for the Iowa AHL team. Or perhaps we'll come to love and revere the Chops (yes, it's that kind of chop - the logo is a big Iowa hog).

The Pensacola Ice Pilots were removed from the ECHL in June after team management announced that they did not intend to play next season, or any season thereafter.

Also in June the CHL announced that the Youngstown Steelhounds would not be playing in the league, due to non-payment of league dues. The Steelhounds are looking to join the IHL or ECHL


7/31/08: We've moved the Northeast League and its four teams to the "no longer playing" category, since the league website remains as it was in January 2007.

8/27/08: Checking the web site for the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, we found a new team listed, the Detroit Dragons. There seems to be some confusion as to just how many teams the league has. The league site and the Dragons site both list eight teams, but in a section where you can vote on who will win the championship, only seven teams are listed. Maybe they can already tell that the Mon Valley Thunder have no chance? Anyway, for now we're listing all eight teams in the league section above.

11/2/08: Looking at the proposed new teams for the current (2008-09) season, we see that the team for Windsor is not yet playing. An Internet search produces no information, and if there is nothing further in the next few months, the team will be listed under Teams that Never Materialized. (This has now been done as of 12/21/08.) However Battle Creek and Detroit (both MAHL) and Ontario (CA) (ECHL) all made the cut. 

Speaking of TTNM, Ontario was on that list years ago, but finally has its team this year, the Reign. 

And catching up with the list for last season (07-08), Williamsport PA has a nice web page, but is clearly not playing hockey (as of 4/20/09, no web page either). Since the last news update was in 2006, we're relegating them to TTNM.

Lake Erie (Cleveland) , Rockford, Elmira, Quad City and Twin City (Winston-Salem) are all active.

11/23/08: Examiner.com quotes a spokesman for Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers and its top farm club, the Phantoms, as confirming that the Wachovia Spectrum, the Phantoms' home in Philadelphia, will be torn down, and that the team will be relocated. One possible location is Baltimore MD, which has previously served as the home to such minor league hockey teams as the Clippers, Skipjacks and Bandits. HOWEVER - The Hockey News of November 3, 2008, says the Phantoms will play at the Wachovia Center, where the Flyers play. Stay tuned. (Click here for an update.)

12/25/08: After over 40 years of operation, the ECHL's Fresno Falcons shut down on December 22. The cause given was continued financial losses over the past several years. Despite leading their division and a return to the downtown arena where they played from the mid 1960s until 2002, attendance continued to drop. Talks with the city about taking over the team were not successful, although it's hoped that the franchise can be revived for next season. Fresno becomes the second ECHL franchise within the last month to suspend operations.

12/21/08: All indications are that the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League has disappeared with neither a bang nor a whimper. The web site is no longer a league site, but rather a generic hockey site. However, two MAHL teams and two from another very minor league have formed (or joined) the All American Hockey Association. This four-team league is currently playing, and has been added to the listings.

The ECHL's Augusta Lynx has shut down abruptly, after playing 18 games in the 2008-09 season. The move came about for economic reasons, with the team's principle owners involved in the auto business. The team is no longer listed as a member on the ECHL website, although the Lynx still appear in the standings (last place, with little hope of improving on their 14 points). The team's own web page pretends nothing is wrong, aside from the fact that the last game listed was on November 30.

1/2/09: We've become aware of another tiny new pro hockey league, the Eastern Professional Hockey League. The four-team operation began play November 1.

We missed some changes in the Central Hockey League, so not sure when they took place. The Austin Ice Bats have joined the ranks of teams no longer playing. We've updated the division listing and added expansion team Rapid City Rush.

With the demise of the Fresno Falcons, Chicago has chosen the Gwinnett Gladiators as their ECHL affiliate. Several Fresno players have already been assigned to the Georgia team.

1/6/09: We've been notified of a few more changes that were not previously noted on this page...under Possibilities that Never Materialized, we've added the Myrtle Beach Thunderboltz. Formerly the ECHL's PeeDee Pride, the team's return was dependent on the building of a new arena, a project that was abandoned in 2007. With the economy as it is, it's unlikely it will be revived soon.

The IHL's Muskegon Fury changed their name to the Lumberjacks before the start of the current season. And the CHL Corpus Christi Rayz, in an apparent attempt to model good spelling, changed back to the Ice Rays.

1/22/09: The All American Hockey Association, 24 games into its first season, has already seen a team shut down. The Detroit Dragons were suspended by the league due to financial problems. The expansion Chicago Blaze has agreed to begin play early (instead of next season), and will finish out the Dragons' road schedule.

4/1/09: The Phoenix RoadRunners on March 27 informed the ECHL Board of Governors that they will not play in 2009-10 and will cease operations at the conclusion of the current season. This is sad news for hockey - the Roadrunners officially started in 1967, and were the first professional sports team in Arizona. Read the full team history here. Over the years they have been in the Western Hockey League, World Hockey Association, Central Hockey League, Pacific Hockey League, International Hockey League, and finally the ECHL.

4/2/09: More bad news for the ECHL - two more teams will suspend operations at the end of the season, the Dayton Bombers and the Mississippi Sea Wolves. With Fresno and Augusta having shut down during the season, and Phoenix doing so at season's end, it's a loss of five teams.

However, hope springs eternal, with still another new league gearing up to play next season. The web site for the Midwest Hockey League shows no teams yet, but there's a form to fill out if you'd like to be an owner. There is a new team planned for Madison, WI, as yet unnamed, and there is speculation it will be part of the MWHL.

We won't list this league until there are some teams to put in the list.

 

4/19/09: The new team in Madison will be known as the Ice Muskies. I guess it's a Wisconsin thing. The logo will be revealed May 1, and the team will play in a single A league to be revealed in the near future.

A highly respected source (an umpire at a Cal Ripkin League game) told me yesterday that the Fresno Falcons will return in 2011. (I didn't say he was respected as a hockey source.)

There is speculation that the Philadelphia Phantoms will play at Glenns Falls NY, at least until a new stadium is ready in Allentown PA.

 

4/20/09: The IHL's Chicago Hounds shut down after the 2006-07 season, but had hoped to resume play in 2009-10. Now comes word that they are not yet ready to make a comeback. Meanwhile the economy has left the league's franchises in Flint and Port Huron with an uncertain future.

 

4/26/09: Some more negative news as the hockey season comes to an end. In the Southern Pro league, the Richmond Renegades have shut down, and the Twin City Cyclones are suspending operations in Winston-Salem. They are expected to resurface elsewhere, but the location is not yet being revealed. On the plus side, the ECHL's Toledo franchise, re-named the Walleye, will return in a new arena after two idle seasons.

 

4/30/09: The American Hockey League will add three new cities to its line-up for 2009-10. The Dallas Stars, without a dedicated affiliate since Iowa joined forces with Anaheim, will be able to keep their prospects in-state with the launching of the Texas Stars in Austin. 

As previously expected, the Philadelphia Phantoms will move to Glens Falls NY, retaining their affiliation with the Flyers. Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames will move their franchise from Quad Cities to Abbotsford, B.C.

 

5/28/09: Expansion is on the horizon for the Central League, with the Allen (TX) Americans set to become the eighth active pro hockey franchise in Texas. And a team is also planned for Independence MO. Both teams are expected to be active when league play resumes in November, 2009.

 

6/2/09: A big round of expansion may be on the horizon for the International League. Dayton, where the ECHL Bombers shut down this season, and Quad Cities, which is losing the AHL Flames, have both inquired about filling those empty arenas with an IHL team, while Evansville, with a new area slated for completion in 2011 or 2012, is also interested in joining.

 

7/1/09: A couple of team name clarifications are in order: The Calgary franchise in Abbotsford, formerly the Quad City Flames, will now be the Heat. And the Phantoms, having moved from Philadelphia to Glenns Falls NY, will be the Adirondack Phantoms.

 

7/21/09: The new Midwest Hockey League now has one definite team, the Madison (WI) Ice Muskies, who will play at the city's small (about 2500 seats) Hartmeyer Ice Arena. Play is scheduled to begin in November, although Madison is the only team announced so far. With our usual positive attitude, we've added this league to the listings.

Meanwhile, the All America Hockey League has announced agreements with two as yet unnamed expansion teams.


8/2/09: Just when the AHL/NHL was about to achieve a perfect 30 team matchup, the Iowa Chops have been suspended by the AHL for violating league policy. The parent Anaheim Ducks will lend players to various other teams in the AHL for 2009-10.


8/15/09
: As some observers expected, the Mid West Hockey League has ceased to exist and has merged its one team (Madison Ice Muskies) into the All-American Hockey League. The Mid West League was simply unable to field enough teams to play a schedule
. (Thanks to Steve Stephenson.)

The AAHL web site also lists the Detroit Hitmen as part of their 2009-10 lineup.

Meanwhile, the IHL's website lists a new team, the Dayton Gems (this was expected, after the ECHL Bombers shut down last season). In addition, Quad Cities, which lost the AHL Flames to Abbotsford, BC, has joined the IHL, reviving the previous Mallards name.

 

8/28/09: A hockey-related web surfing session has revealed that the Eastern Professional Hockey League has suspended operations. Their "under construction" web site says that the league will re-launch in 2010 (as of April 2010, no change).

On the "good news" side of the ledger, the SPHL will be icing a new team, the Mississippi Surge, based in Biloxi.

We've learned of an interesting new web site called FanBase. It's very ambitious plan is to list every team, in every sport, at every level, with a page for every player. Right now they have a lot of pages with not much more than the player's name, but fans are invited to add and edit information, so this could be a great resource down the line.


10/2/09: There's another new hockey league out there, the North East Professional Hockey League. Four teams will begin play November 5, 2009. We had to dig a little to figure out what cities they play in. The web site is not very informative, and none of the links to team web sites work. So we'll list this league, but keep our "been there, done that" hat handy. 

We finally figured out that the Rhode Island Storm plays in Kingston RI, the Twin City Yeti in Fitchburg MA, the New England Pharaohs in Salem NH, and the New York Aviators are based in Brooklyn. The league's September 25 press release still says there's a team in Connecticut, but I hear that's so close to New York that you can't always tell where you are.


10/9/09: We're in the process of checking league websites and making sure team listings are up to date. Since some leagues haven't started play yet, it's hard to get definitive information - if you look for standings on the ECHL website, you get information from last year.

We have found several changes in the Central Hockey League. The Rocky Mountain Rage and New Mexico Scorpions are listed as inactive for the 2009-10 season, so we've left them in the listing with a notation. New on the league's page are the Missouri Mavericks, who play in Independence, and the Allen (TX) Americans. We've made a guess as to the division line-ups for now.

The Southern Pro league has added a team in Pensacola, the Ice Flyers (suspiciously similar to the Ice Pilots who were kicked out of the ECHL), and the Louisiana Icegators, an ECHL name that went dark five years ago.

The North East Professional Hockey League is showing promise, with the team web site links now working.

1/18/10: The Madison Ice Muskies have been forced to shut down by the All American Hockey League, after ownership essentially abandoned the team. Despite the team's second place standing, there was no promotion, the web site was never updated, and the players and coaches went months without being paid.

Earlier in the season, the Detroit Hitmen shut down and most of their roster was taken over by a new team in Muskegon MI, the West Michigan Blizzard, which will play out the 09-10 season. Muskegon fans also can see the Lumberjacks in the IHL, raising the question of whether the area can support two pro hockey teams.

2/16/10: The Edmonton Oilers' AHL franchise, which last played in the NHL team's city in 2005, is moving to Oklahoma City and will begin play in the fall of 2010.

Meanwhile, the Albany River Rats franchise will re-locate to Charlotte NC, and take on the Checkers name used by the ECHL team in that city.

There's no information on what will happen to that ECHL franchise, or the CHL Blazers in OK city.

3/16/10: The last original member of the ECHL, the Johnstown Chiefs, are heading to Greenville, S.C. next year. The Chiefs were named for the Charleston Chiefs of Slap Shot fame. In the IHL, the Muskegon Lumberjacks will join the Junior US League next season, ending 50 years of pro hockey in Muskegon. The Jacks have faced financial problems since the recession hit. The new franchise in Augusta GA, without a name, phone number, or address, sold 166 season tickets the first day they went on sale. The team will play in the Southern Pro League.

3/30/10: Ghosts arise! A new Federal Hockey League plans to start play in October, 2010. Back in 2003 an all-Canadian league by the same name never got off the ground. Even farther back, a league by that name thrived in movie theaters and lives on in DVD, as the circuit that includes the mythical Johnstown Chiefs of Slap Shot fame. The New York Aviators will leave the NEPHL and join with Rome, NY, Ottawa, Danbury, CT, 1000 Islands, and another team that is not yet listed on the league's web site. We'll wait till it gets closer to face-off before officially recognizing this team in the listings.

4/8/10: According to Wikipedia, the North East Professional Hockey League is no more. The league ended up playing an abbreviated 15-game schedule, with a playoff marked by forfeits and confusion. The league web site has disappeared, and it appears the only living remnant of the league will be the New York Aviators who will join the Federal Hockey League in the fall of 2010. Read something fun about the Aviators here.

5/24/10: The New Jersey Devils will move their AHL franchise from Lowell MA to Albany NY, filling the void left by the departure of the River Rats to Charlotte NC. The organization had little financial support in Lowell, while Albany has been a long time hockey town.

6/15/10: With the ALH Devils to Albany and the Rats to Charlotte, the ECHL Checkers franchise has been relinquished to the league. The new Charlotte River Rats will have the same ownership group as the defunct Checkers.

Two long-time leagues are merging - the Central Hockey League (CHL) and the International Hockey League (IHL), have entered into a letter of intent to form a “AA” level super league beginning in the 2010-11 season. They will play under the CHL name, with the identity of the IHL being maintained through various aspects that will be announced in the near future. With the Flint Generals in deep financial straits, the IHL was set to shrink to an unsustainable five teams. Listings will be updated when details are available.

Edmonton's revived AHL franchise, which will start play in Oklahoma City in 2010, will be known as the Barons. This no doubt means the end of the CHL Blazers, who are not listed on the CHL/IHL combined web site.

7/10/10: The Evansville IceMen of the AAHL are moving to the newly merged IHL-CHL (to be known by the CHL name). This leaves the AAHL with only three teams, and a doubtful future. There's talk the short-lived Madison Ice Muskies may make a comeback and join the AAHL, but the only tangible aspect of this team is a website that says "Coming soon...under construction."

9/2/10: It looks like the new Federal League is for real, or at least their web site is; it has been recently moved and updated, teams are listed, and real hockey information is provided. This league will now be included in our regular listings.

11/3/10: We've updated the league listings to show changes for 2010-11. Most of these have been mentioned in this section previously. The main exception is new conference and/or division names in the ECHL and CHL. All league lists were reviewed against their web sites. If you spot errors or have new information, be sure to send Email (if you've sent Email recently and it came back, it should work now).

Of the teams listed as definite or possible for 2010-11, the following could not be found in any known active league: Lehigh Valley Xtreme (Allentown PA) (UHL), Asheville NC (WHA2), Tallahassee FL (WHA2).

12/16/10: We received a couple of emails from RK, correcting some errors and omissions. Since some of these date back a ways, we'll just summarize them here and not try to provide Listing Update links for all the changes.

We said the NEHL (North Eastern Hockey League) disappeared in January of 2007. Actually, it finished the 2006-07 season in March, then started play again that fall but disappeared in January of 2008 (not 2007).

For teams that played in 2009-10 we listed the New England Pharaohs and Twin City Yeti as having played in the NEPHL. Neither team actually played a game as both folded about a month prior to the start of the season. We missed one NEPHL team, the Connecticut C-Dogs who did actually play.

Iowa Chops (AHL) should not be listed with the teams that never materialized as they did play in the 2008-09 season.

Hyannis Storm should be listed as an EPHL team that was supposed to play in 2009-10, but never materialized since the league folded.

The AAHL teams the Wooster Korn Kings and the Indiana Blizzard have folded this season already.

The former Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL are now known as the Connecticut Whale.

05/12/11: The Federal Hockey League  website lists two new teams scheduled to play in 2011-12 - Danville (IL) and the Green Mountain Rock Crushers (VT). Broome County is no longer listed as a FHL team. 5/14 update: We've learned that the Broome County Barons became the Cape Cod Barons, playing 35 games during the 2010-11 season, but not starting on the Cape until February.

06/02/11: After a lot of speculation and premature announcements regarding the future, we're ready to show the Atlanta Thrashers as a team that played in 2010-11, and the Winnipeg (Jets or whatever) as a team that will play in 2011-12. The sale of the team to True North was announced May 31, triggering boisterous celebrations in the Manitoba capitol. Winnipeg was home to the Jets for 24 years before they moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes for the 1996-97 season. Both the Phoenix club and the expansion Thrashers have struggled financially, and the league formally owns the Coyotes while they seek a suitable buyer. Check out the Jets history here and the Thrashers brief history here. There's no word yet on what will happen to the ALH Manitoba Moose.

06/07/11: The new Federal League team in Danville IL has a name - the Dashers. Team Governor Barry Soskin says, "After speaking with numerous people in Danville and the surrounding towns, we came to the conclusion that going with the 'old' Dasher name was the only way to go. We designed a logo that was not only reminiscent of the former Dashers but also of an era of professional hockey in the community." The "old" Dasher team he referred to played in the Continental League from 1981 to 1986. See the logo and read the full press release here. Also, the Green Mountain Rock Crushers have officially folded without playing a game, while the Niagara Falls Nationals and the New Jersey Outlaws (based in Wayne NJ) have been added. As well, the Cape Cod Barons are now the Bluefins, and the New York Aviators are now listed as the Brooklyn Aviators. The Rome Frenzy is still a dues-paying member of the league, but will not ice a team in the coming season. Our thanks to Gabe Yeung, Danville player and assistant coach, for providing the details.

A little more about Atlanta/Winnipeg: After the Stanley Cup finals, the biggest news in hockey this year is the move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg. Manitoba hockey fans proved their interest in the NHL by buying up the required 13,000 season ticket packages (each for a minimum of three years) within minutes of the start of the sale. An additional 8,000 signed up for a waiting list, which required a non-refundable $50 payment. That number of season tickets means just over 2,000 additional tickets available for each game. There will be some heavy travel for Winnipeg players - the team will remain in the Southeast Division for 2011-12, with conference and division changes being debated and scheduled for the following year. There's been a lot of speculation about players willingness to play in the frozen climate of Winnipeg (said to be even colder than Edmonton). The only formal declaration by a player that he would not play in Winnipeg came from Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, and his concerns are now moot. When it comes down to earning an NHL salary, there will always be players willing to go where the money is. Finally, why the coyness about the team name? Barring some legal barrier that has not been mentioned anywhere that I know of, does anyone doubt that they will be the Jets?

06/23/11: The Mississippi RiverKings (Southaven MS) have moved to the Southern Professional Hockey League after 19 years in the Central League. They were one of three original league members along with Tulsa and Wichita back in 1992-93. The RiverKings won back-to-back CHL titles in 2002 and 2003.

07/12/11: In the wake of the return of the Winnipeg Jets, the fate of the Manitoba Moose has now been decided. They will move to St. John's (Newfoundland), and become the Jets American League affiliate. AHL hockey has been absent from St. John's since the Maple Leafs left after 2005 to become the Toronto Marlies. This leaves Vancouver without an AHL team, but the obvious choice is the Chicago Wolves, Atlanta's top farm team.

Meanwhile, to no one's surprise, the Winnipeg team name was confirmed at the June 24 entry draft.

08/1/11: The CHL's Colorado Eagles, winner of the 2006-07 and 2004-05 championships, will seek glory at a higher level, joining the ECHL for the 2011-12 season. The club has sold  out a minor league record 311 consecutive times.

The American League has announced a division realignment that will apply a bit of geography-based logic to decrease long-distant travel. We'll change the listing when the exact alignment is known, but the big thing is the elimination of the North Division, which saw Great Lakes area teams traveling to British Columbia, as well as the west division, which included teams as far apart as Milwaukee and Texas.

08/16/11: The former Manitoba Moose, now setting up shop in St. John's (Nfld), will be known as the IceCaps.

09/08/11: It's been a roller coaster ride fr the Green Mountain Rock Crushers of the Federal League. First they were, then they weren't, and now once again the ARE scheduled to play in 2011-12. However, the Niagara team has disappeared from the league's website listing.

09/21/11: The All American Hockey League seems to have followed so many other tiny start-up leagues into that good night where dreams go to die. The league website brings up a commercial site for league management services. So we'll file that one in the ever-growing list of defunct leagues. I'm not sure if all four teams listed played lat year, but they haven't resurfaced anywhere else.

09/27/11: The Green Mountain Rock Crushers of the Federal League will instead be known as the Vermont Wild. This will be the first pro hockey team in the history of the state.

09/29/11: After losing three California teams from 2005 to 2008, the ECHL is now rebuilding its west coast presence, with the approval of the San Francisco Bulls, set to start play in 2012-13. They will play at the Cow Palace, which hosted the San Jose Sharks for their first two years, and the Spiders in the IHL for one season.

10/17/11: Mississippi hockey fans can cheer for two teams with their state name starting in 2011-12. The Central League's former Memphis River Kings have moved over the border to Southaven MS. Defending league champion Mississippi Surge plays at the opposite end of the state in Biloxi.

12/10/11: If you have been paying the slightest attention to hockey, you know the big buzz the last week or so has been realignment, specifically the changes needed to get Winnipeg out of the Southeast Division. While "keep it simple stupid" is an adage on the ice, apparently it's not so in the NHL board room. Instead of moving Winnipeg to the West and one team (logically Nashville) to the East, the whole thing was blown up and re-built, with four conferences, two having eight teams and two having seven. The full playoff picture will not be decided till summer. Some time in July we'll update our NHL listings with the new alignments. Meanwhile, you can take a look at it here.

1/12/12: Never mind. Looks like Winnipeg gets to enjoy the Florida sunshine for another season...the players association, which was not consulted about the realignment plan, has raised objections, probably delaying realignment till 2012-13.

4/8/12: The Vermont Wild of the Federal League suspended operations early in the season, due to issues in getting their rink up to standard. The team hopes to play in 2012-13. Meanwhile the league added the Delaware Federals.

5/17/12: Rising from the ashes of a league merger that left them out in the cold a year after winning the IHL Turner Cup, the Orlando Solar Bears will join the ECHL starting in October 2012. There's a full-service web site and the city is welcoming the Bears "out of hibernation."

5/21/12: More new teams are on the horizon for 2012-13. The Denver Cutthroats will be the newest team in the Central Hockey League, while the ECHL will welcome the Fort Wayne Komets and Evansville Icemen, both moving from the CHL.

7/13/12: A few weeks ago we started looking on line for news about NHL league realignment, and found only stories from 2011. An inquiry to the Hockey News produced this reply from columnist Adam Proteau: "You can expect realignment in the 2013-14 campaign. With the lack of certainty regarding the collective bargaining agreement, the league couldn’t draw up a new order for this coming season, but its clear interest in doing so isn’t going away simply because the NHLPA used its leverage to quash it for the short-term. 

That said, you could easily see a different type of realignment from the one that was initially unveiled. Regardless, I think the league recognizes it’s time for a better setup. The only question now is defining what 'better' means."

8/2/12: Denver will have minor league hockey in 2012-13 for the first time since the Avalanche sent the Grizzlies off to Utah in 1995. The Denver Cutthroats (named after the fish) will play in the Central League.

10/7/12: It's been four months since we updated this page, and boy do we have updates.

Of course, every fan is aware of the biggest news, another NHL player lockout. You can read pages and pages of vitriolic attacks on Commissioner Gary Bettman elsewhere, as well as attacks on the players and their union head, Donald Fehr, so I will just make one comment. Bettman was supposedly hired to "bring labor peace" to the league. Under his watch there have been three lockouts. If you and I continually failed to meet expectations, we would be reprimanded, demoted, or fired. So it's clear that the owners who control the league are actually happy with this outcome. Certainly not all owners feel that way, but not wanting to pay million dollar fines, they keep their mouths shut.

Meanwhile, minor league fans have some things to cheer about and some to mourn. The Central Hockey League has had some big changes. Due to contraction, the league is down to a single conference (Berry), with the Turner conference gone. Teams no longer on the list are Dayton Gems, Evansville Icemen, Fort Wayne Komets, Laredo Bucks, and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (Hidalgo TX). Evansville and Fort Wayne moved to the ECHL.

Two new franchises previously reported here will play in 2012-13: the Allen (TX) Americans and the Denver Cutthroats. The St. Charles Chill (a suburb of St. Louis) is scheduled to join the league 2013-14.

The Federal Hockey League has also seen a number of changes, with two new teams, the Williamsport Outlaws and the Dayton Demonz. No longer listed as active are the Akwesasne Warriors, Brooklyn Aviators, Delaware Federals,  New Jersey Outlaws, and Vermont Wild, which did not play last year but had planned to return for 2012-13. Also no longer playing is the Rome Frenzy, which suspended play in 2011-12, but remained in the league. The league website's "Future Markets" section has no teams listed.

10/15/12: We've recently been advised of the existence of the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey (LNAH). The website is in French, so data is hard to come by for someone who took high school French over 50 years ago, but Wikipedia offers the following: 

The Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey (North American Hockey League) (LNAH) was founded in 2004 and is a low-level professional league based in the Canadian province of Quebec. It was called the Quebec Semi-Pro Hockey League (QSPHL) from 1996 until it turned pro in 2004. It has no connection with the similarly named North American Hockey League, an American junior league for players under twenty. Teams in the LNAH compete for the Futura Cup, which has been awarded annually since 1997.

The entry goes on to indicate that the league is known more for fighting than for hockey skill, although it has employed some ex-NHL players. We've added to our regular listings.

1/18/13: Joy returns to hockeyland tomorrow as the 2012-13 season opens only three months late for a 48-game season. There's plenty of speculation on how players and teams will be affected by the shortened schedule. Some players have been playing in Europe or on their American League teams; others have kept in shape but have not been involved in contact hockey since some time between last April to June. Again I will hold my tongue (keyboard?) regarding whose at fault and who are the villains or heroes (if any), except to note that 10% of the scheduled games during Gary Bettman's watch have been lost to lock-out. I'm ready to put all that in the past and just watch hockey, and I suspect most fans feel the same. Drop the puck already!

My outlook on hockey was greatly improved by a trip to Newmarket, Ontario, where my grandson's minor midget A team participated in the Silver Stick finals. On the way, we visited the Hockey Hall of Fame and were reminded of all that is good about the game.

4/5/13: One of the oldest minor league franchises in hockey will end its run at the end of the current season. The Saint Louis Blues will shut down their AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen, when the final horn of the season sounds. There is speculation that another, lower level minor league team could come to Peoria, but there is nothing definite for now. The Rivermen won a cup as an ECHL team in 1999-2000.

The National Hockey League and the players association have approved a 4-division realignment starting in the 2013-14 season. There's a lot of discussion over the fact that two divisions will have eight teams and two will have seven, with a strange new playoff plan: The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three. On the positive side, Eastern Time Zone teams Detroit and Columbus have their wish to move to the Eastern Conference fulfilled. A Google search will turn up many articles on the subject, but this one has a good explanation of the changes and a map showing how the divisions are arranged geographically.

5/16/13: The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) has granted approval for the Bloomington Blaze and Peoria Rivermen to join the league for the 2013-2014 season. Peoria previously hosted the St. Louis AHL affiliate Rivermen, but are pulling the plug on that franchise at the end of the 2012-13 season. The Blues did not own the rights to use of the name, allowing a new franchise to claim it. The Blaze played in the Central Hockey League through this season.

7/6/13: Checking some of the minor pro leagues, we find several changes, some that we knew about and some that are new to us. As scheduled, the St. Charles Chill will join the Central Hockey League. Also newly listed on the league web site is the Brampton Beast. However, the Fort Worth Brahmas are no longer shown as a member.

The Southern Pro League has added the Bloomington Blaze from the Central League, and the Peoria Rivermen, technically a new franchise replacing the former AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. Missing from the SPHL listing are the Augusta RiverHawks.

The Federal League appears to have lost the Cape Cod Bluefins and the Williamsport Outlaws, leaving just four active teams.

Despite the bad things that have happened in hockey (player deaths, lockouts, questionable rule changes), it seems that hope springs eternal in our wonderful sport. Looking at teams that stopped playing or moved from 2004 to this year, there are no less than 120 teams listed. Quite a few of these moved to another league (and sometimes another), but the majority simply shut down, or in some cases, didn't even start playing. Since I started keeping this page, 14 leagues have disappeared, several after one or two feeble seasons.

Even the NHL has not been immune, with the Thrashers leaving Atlanta and becoming the Winnipeg Jets, and the Coyotes keeping us on edge as much as any soap opera. Things seem to be settled in Phoenix, but like the US Supreme Court, the vote to put up the dollars needed to keep the team was a one-vote majority. Meanwhile we'll see new division alignments in 2013-14, and these will be listed as soon as the league decides what they're going to call the four divisions. 


7/22/13: The National Hockey League recently announced the names for the new four-division realignment, three regional names, and one that has triggered a huge negative response on Twitter. The Western Conference divisions will be Pacific and Central, and the Eastern Conference will be Atlantic and Metropolitan. Bizarrely, all previous Atlantic Division teams will be in the same circuit - the Metropolitan. The new alignment is now shown in our regular NHL listing.

7/28/13: Pro hockey will return to Utica, New York in the Mohawk Valley for 2013-14 after a 20 year absence. The Vancouver Canucks have acquired the former St. Louis Blues franchise in Peoria, and will stock the Utica Comets (the Peoria Rivermen name lives on in the Central League). Utica's last team was the Devils, in 1992-93. Meanwhile, we see the Iowa Wild listed on the AHL web site, and the Connecticut Whale is changing back to the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Abbotsford Heat moves to the Western Conference West Division, and the Houston Aeros are gone. Iowa will be Minnesota's AHL affiliate, with a nice matching logo. The Wolf Pack remains with the Rangers. The Blues new AHL affiliate will be the Chicago Wolves. Our complete affiliate list will be updated close to the start of the 2013-14 season; this is the listing as provided by the AHL.

In the Southern Pro League, the new team in Bloomington, IL will be the Thunder rather than the Blaze.

The Ligue Nord-Amèricaine de Hockey continues to baffle us. Clicking on "English version" still brings up the French language page. Until this is corrected, we will simply list the team names as shown on the web site and will not try to provide any updates, nor will they be listed on our cup winners' page.

 

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Sources: The Hockey News; league and team Internet sites; and interested hockey fans from around Canada and the U.S.

    

 

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Updated May 1, 2014