IHL Ceases Operations and Folds

By Andrew Bourgeois

IHL NEWS

The International Hockey League announced today it was folding after 56 years of operation.
The 11-team league will immediately cease day-to-day activities but six of those teams will continue to play in the American Hockey League.

“It is with great sadness that I make this announcement,” IHL president and CEO Douglas Moss said in a statement. “With the landscape of minor-league hockey continuing to evolve, the league’s board of governors determined that this was a necessary decision.”
The governors voted to fold the league during a conference call on Friday.

For next season, the AHL will take in the Manitoba Moose, Chicago Wolves, Houston Aeros, Milwaukee Admirals, Utah Grizzlies and Grand Rapids Griffins from the IHL. Grand Rapids has a player development arrangement with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators while the Moose becomes the new farm club for the Vancouver Canucks.

Monday’s announcement means the IHL will not be coming to Toronto. The Toronto Roadrunners were to begin play in the 2002-03 season at a refurbished CNE Coliseum.
The IHL was founded at a meeting at the Norton Palmer Hotel in Windsor, Ont., on Dec. 5, 1945. It had just four original teams – two in Detroit and two in Windsor.
The Detroit Auto Club beat Detroit Bright’s Goodyear 2-1 in the final series to win the first Turner Cup the following spring.

The league expanded over the next 30 years, but remained mostly a regional circuit based in the U.S. midwest.
After Thomas Berry was named commissioner in 1989, the IHL, which had reached Indianapolis and Salt Lake City in the 1980s, added seven clubs and spread across the continent.
Franchise fees jumped from $200,000 US to $5 million and league found itself in such relatively exotic locales as Las Vegas and Long Beach, Calif.

Many believe the league expanded too fast and it all started coming undone in the mid-1990s. Since reaching a high of 19 clubs in 1996-97, the IHL was down to just 11 teams this season.

IHL FASTFACTS

April 13, 1993 the San Diego finishes the 1992-93 regular season with 62 wins and 132 points, both league records.

TODAY IN HOCKEY

June 4, 1963 the Chicago Black Hawks hire Billy Reay as their new coach replacing Rudy Pilous. Reay stays on to coach the Hawks for 13 years.