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
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
(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).
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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).
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.
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.
As of June 23, the Mallards will remain in the UHL.
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.
The Omaha AHL team will be known as the Ak-Sar Ben
Knights (no, it's not Arabic; ask Stan Freberg for an explanation).
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
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.
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.
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
Island and Moline in Illinois, and Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa.
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.
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."
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."
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.
The name of the new CHL team in Prescott Valley AZ will be the Arizona
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.
The Bloomington IL UHL franchise will be known as the Prairie Thunder.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
the ECHL has revealed the division lineups, and we've made the
changes in the league listing above.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Rockford AHL team is actually the former Cincinnati AHL franchise,
but will retain the Ice Hogs name.
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
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.
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.
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)
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
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
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.
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
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
"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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
a long answer to a simple question:
Be one of the best players in the SPHL
Put out feelers to ECHL and/or AHL teams (via an agent if
Get signed and be one of the better players in that league
Get called up to the NHL
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.
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
An expansion team, the
South Shore Shooters, located in Dyer IN, will join the league for
the 2008-09 season.
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
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.
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.
ECHL Standings & Playoff Results;
2006-07 ECHL Standings
& Playoff Results
2007-08 ECHL Standings
& Playoff Results; 2005-06
NHL Standings & Playoff Results
NHL Standings & Playoff Results; 2007-08
NHL Standings & Playoff Results
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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.
(Cleveland) , Rockford, Elmira, Quad City and Twin City
(Winston-Salem) are all active.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
We've become aware of another tiny new pro hockey league, the Eastern
Professional Hockey League. The four-team operation began play
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
list this league until there are some teams to put in the list.
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.
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.)
is speculation that the Philadelphia Phantoms will play at Glenns
Falls NY, at least until a new stadium is ready in Allentown PA.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
the All America Hockey League has announced agreements with two as
yet unnamed expansion teams.
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.
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.)
AAHL web site also lists the Detroit Hitmen as part of their 2009-10
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.
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).
"good news" side of the ledger, the SPHL
will be icing a new team, the Mississippi
Surge, based in Biloxi.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
North East Professional Hockey League is
showing promise, with the team web site links now working.
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.
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.
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.
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.
information on what will happen to that ECHL franchise, or the CHL
Blazers in OK city.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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).
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
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
The former Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL are now known as the
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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.
to no one's surprise, the Winnipeg team name was confirmed at the
June 24 entry draft.
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.
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.
The former Manitoba Moose, now setting up shop in St. John's (Nfld),
will be known as the IceCaps.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
site and the city is welcoming the Bears "out of
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.