Lively Tales About Dead Teams

International Hockey League (1945-2001)


The International Hockey League began play in the winter of 1945-46 with four teams in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.  By the early 1950’s, the Canadian clubs had largely faded away and the IHL became a Midwestern bus league for much of its 56-year existence, with cities like Flint, Ft. Wayne, Muskegon and Toledo forming the league’s backbone.

That began to change in 1984, when the IHL absorbed several clubs from the folding Central Hockey League, including the CHL’s former Salt Lake City, Utah club, the Golden Eagles.  Salt Lake is over 1,600 miles from what was then the IHL’s easternmost franchise in Toledo, Ohio.  Major market expansion got under way in the late 1990’s and a speculative bubble in franchise valuations came along with it.  In 1984, the IHL’s Muskegon Mohawks club sold to new ownership for $1.00.  A decade later in 1994 the league’s expansion fee was $6 million and the small market Midwestern clubs like Muskegon, Flint and Saginaw had largely fallen away as the IHL planted flags in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco and beyond.

The IHL’s relationship with the NHL soured during the 1990’s, partly due to expansion into NHL markets like Chicago and Detroit.  NHL clubs began shifting their farm club affiliations away from the IHL, depriving the league of crucial subsidies just as the league’s operational costs with cross-continental  air travel and big city living exploded.  The expansion bubble popped in the mid-1990’s after fees topped out around $7 million and the league went into a financial free fall in the latter part of the decade.

The IHL folded in the early summer of 2001.  Six franchise – the Chicago Wolves, Grand Rapids Griffins, Houston Aeros, Manitoba Moose, Milwaukee Admirals and Utah Grizzlies – continued on and were absorbed into the American Hockey League.


International Hockey League Franchise List

Franchise Years Active Tagged Posts
Akron Americans 1948-1949 Tagged Posts
Albany Choppers 1990-1991 Tagged Posts
Atlanta Knights 1992-1996 Tagged Posts
Chatham Maroons 1949-1952 Tagged Posts
Chatham Maroons 1963-1964 Tagged Posts
Chicago Wolves 1994-2001 Tagged Posts
Cincinnati Cyclones 1992-2001 Tagged Posts
Cincinnati Mohawks 1952-1958 Tagged Posts
Cleveland Lumberjacks 1992-2001 Tagged Posts
Colorado Rangers 1987-1988 Tagged Posts
Columbus Checkers 1966-1970 Tagged Posts
Columbus Golden Seals 1971-1973 Tagged Posts
Columbus Owls 1973-1977 Tagged Posts
Dayton Gems 1964-1977 & 1979-1980 Tagged Posts
Dayton Owls 1977 Tagged Posts
Denver Grizzlies 1994-1995 Tagged Posts
Denver Mavericks 1959 Tagged Posts
Denver Rangers 1988-1989 Tagged Posts
Des Moines Capitols 1972-1975 Tagged Posts
Des Moines Oak Leafs 1963-1972 Tagged Posts
Detroit Auto Club 1945-1951 Tagged Posts
Detroit Bright's Goodyears 1945-1959 Tagged Posts
Detroit Hettche 1949-1952 Tagged Posts
Detroit Jerry Lynch 1948-1949 Tagged Posts
Detroit Metal Mouldings 1946-1948 Tagged Posts
Detroit Vipers 1994-2001 Tagged Posts
Flint Generals 1969-1985 Tagged Posts
Flint Spirits 1985-1990 Tagged Posts
Fort Wayne Komets 1952-1999 Tagged Posts
Grand Rapids Griffins 1996-2001 Tagged Posts
Grand Rapids Owls 1977-1980 Tagged Posts
Grand Rapids Rockets 1950-1956 Tagged Posts
Houston Aeros 1994-2001 Tagged Posts
Huntington Hornets 1956-1957 Tagged Posts
Indianapolis Checkers 1984-1987 Tagged Posts
Indianapolis Chiefs 1955-1962 Tagged Posts
Indianapolis Ice 1988-1989 Tagged Posts
Johnstown Jets 1953-1955 Tagged Posts
Kalamazoo Wings 1974-1995 Tagged Posts
Kansas City Blades 1990-2001 Tagged Posts
Lansing Lancers 1974-1975  Tagged Posts
Las Vegas Thunder 1993-1999  Tagged Posts
Long Beach Ice Dogs 1996-2000  Tagged Posts
Los Angeles Ice Dogs 1995-1996  Tagged Posts
Louisville Blades 1948-1949 Tagged Posts
Louisville Rebels 1957-1960 Tagged Posts
Louisville Shooting Stars 1953-1954 Tagged Posts
Manitoba Moose 1996-2001  Tagged Posts
Marion Barons 1953-1954 Tagged Posts
Michigan K-Wings 1995-2000 Tagged Posts
Milwaukee Admirals 1977-2001 Tagged Posts
Milwaukee Chiefs 1952-1954 Tagged Posts
Milwaukee Clarks 1948-1949 Tagged Posts
Milwaukee Falcons 1959-1960 Tagged Posts
Minneapolis Millers 1959-1963 Tagged Posts
Minnesota Moose 1994-1996 Tagged Posts
Muncie Flyers 1948-1949 Tagged Posts
Muskegon Lumberjacks 1984-1992 Tagged Posts
Muskegon Mohawks 1965-1984 Tagged Posts
Muskegon Zephyrs 1960-1965 Tagged Posts
Omaha Knights 1959-1963 Tagged Posts
Orlando Solar Bears 1995-2001  Tagged Posts
Peoria Prancers 1982-1984 Tagged Posts
Peoria Rivermen 1984-1996 Tagged Posts
Phoenix Roadrunners 1989-1997 Tagged Posts
Port Huron Flags 1962-1971 & 1974-1981 Tagged Posts
Port Huron Wings 1971-1974 Tagged Posts
Quebec Rafales 1996-1998 Tagged Posts
Russian Penguins 1993-1994 Tagged Posts
Saginaw Gears 1972-1983 Tagged Posts
Saginaw Generals 1985-1987 Tagged Posts
Saginaw Hawks 1987-1989 Tagged Posts
St. Paul Saints 1959-1963 Tagged Posts
Salt Lake Golden Eagles 1984-1994  Tagged Posts
San Antonio Dragons 1996-1998 Tagged Posts
San Diego Gulls 1990-1995 Tagged Posts
San Francisco Spiders 1995-1996 Tagged Posts
Sarnia Sailors 1949-1951 Tagged Posts
Toledo Blades 1963-1970 Tagged Posts
Toledo Goaldiggers 1974-1986 Tagged Posts
Toledo Hornets 1970-1974  Tagged Posts
Toledo Mercurys 1947-1949 & 1950-1962 Tagged Posts
Troy Bruins 1951-1959 Tagged Posts
Utah Grizzlies 1995-2001 Tagged Posts
Windsor Bulldogs 1963-1964 Tagged Posts
Windsor Gotfredsons 1945-1946 Tagged Posts
Windsor Hettche Spitfires 1947-1949 Tagged Posts
Windsor Spitfires 1945-1947 Tagged Posts
Windsor Staffords 1946-1948 Tagged Posts
Windsor Ryan Cretes 1948-1950 Tagged Posts

Written by AC

April 11th, 2012 at 3:02 am

Posted in

2 Responses to 'International Hockey League (1945-2001)'

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  1. “Russian Penguins” Is actualy CSKA Moscow also known as Central Red Army. They had a penguin on their jersey due to an sponsership deal with Pittsburgh.

    S. Schieve

    17 Jan 13 at 9:42 am

  2. […] Enjoy this collection of tickets from a once-proud league. For more on the IHL, check out […]

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