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IHL Hockey

One of the longest-running professional ice hockey leagues that existed in the past, the IHL is fondly remembered by fans for its substantial contribution to the development and propagation of ice hockey in the US. If you’re an ice hockey fan, too, there’s no way you wouldn’t have heard about the IHL.

Let’s learn a bit more about IHL Hockey and its rich legacy.

A Feeder for the NHL

The NHL Hockey players are excellent professionals adept at ice hockey. But they aren’t born that way. They work their way up from minor leagues. One of these leagues was the IHL or the International Hockey League. It acted as a feeder league to the NHL.

This means that it trained young professionals and gave them a national platform to compete. The best IHL players would often get drafted into NHL teams.

IHL ran from 1945 to 2001. During these 56 years, it continued to expand to as many locations in the country as possible. It was present in Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, San Fransico, etc.

During its time, the IHL also hosted the following trophies for the best players/teams:

  • Turner Cup
  • Commissioner’s Trophy
  • Ken McKenzie Trophy
  • John Cullen Award
  • IHL Man of the Year
  • And many similar others.

How the League Closed?

While the IHL had many successful years in the beginning, when it started expanding to major markets and big cities was when the first of its problems started. Some of the fans started seeing it as NHL’s direct competition. Many NHL teams also removed their IHL affiliations and shifted to AHL hockey teams for feeders.

Subsequently, due to rising financial issues, the IHL ceased to operate. However, in the long duration of its operations, it encouraged hundreds of ice hockey players from multiple states in the country. It made them fearless and more prepared for major league ice hockey tournaments. Therefore, the extraordinary legacy of IHL hockey is something worth celebrating!