Central Hockey League
|Current season, competition or edition:
2013–14 CHL season
Central Hockey League logo
|No. of teams||7|
|Countries|| United States
|Most recent champion(s)||Allen Americans (second title)|
|Most titles||(tie) Allen Americans, Wichita Thunder, Oklahoma City Blazers, Memphis RiverKings, Laredo Bucks, & Colorado Eagles (2)|
The Central Hockey League (CHL) is a mid-level minor professional hockey league.
Until 2013, it was owned by Global Entertainment Corporation, at which point it was purchased by the individual franchise owners.
The Central Hockey League (CHL) was revived in 1992 by Ray Miron and the efforts of Bill Levins, with the idea of central ownership of both the league and the teams. Both men were from hockey backgrounds. Miron had been general manager of what is now the Colorado Rockies, and had briefly been president of the previous Central Hockey League in 1976.
In the inaugural 1992–93 season the league had six teams, including the Oklahoma City Blazers, the Tulsa Oilers, the Wichita Thunder, the Memphis RiverKings, the Dallas Freeze and the Fort Worth Fire. The Thunder and the Oilers are the last of the league's original teams extant.
In 1996–97 the Huntsville Channel Cats, along with the planned 1996–97 Southern Hockey League expansion teams Columbus Cottonmouths, Macon Whoopee, and Nashville Nighthawks, joined the Central Hockey League following the SHL's demise.
After Levins died, the league's championship trophy (awarded to the winner of the CHL playoffs) was renamed the Levins Cup. After running the league for eight years, Miron retired in 2000 and sold the league. The Levins Cup was renamed the Ray Miron President's Cup.
After experiments in expansion and an ongoing battle for players and markets with the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) throughout the late 1990s, the CHL merged with the WPHL in 2001, with 10 former WPHL teams joining the CHL for the 2001–02 season. However, several years of gradual contraction in the former WPHL markets claimed most of these teams in the ensuing years. The last active former WPHL team, the Fort Worth Brahmas, effectively ceased operations after the 2012–13 season.
Subsequently, in 2010, the International Hockey League folded and all five remaining IHL teams joined the CHL. As of the end of the 2013–14 season only the Quad City Mallards remain from the former IHL.
In October 2013, the CHL appointed former president of the Pittsburgh Penguins and President of NHL Enterprises for fifteen years Steve Ryan[disambiguation needed] as its league Commissioner. He succeeded Duane Lewis who worked with the league for several years in a variety of capacities culminating as league commissioner. Duane succeeded Brad Treliving on an interim basis after Treliving took a position with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes following the 2006–2007 season. Treliving co-founded the WPHL in 1996, and after the 2001 merger, served with the CHL for seven years. Lewis was named the permanent commissioner in June 2008.
On May 2, 2014 the St. Charles Chill suspended operations.
According to the Central Hockey League website, on August 20, 2014 the Denver Cutthroats "suspended operations, effective immediately, and will not compete in the 2014-15 season. The team will look to secure additional investors with the hope of returning for the 2015-16 campaign."
Teams compete annually for the Ray Miron President's Cup.
|Team||Arena||City/area||NHL Affiliate(s)||AHL Affiliate(s)||President and/or General Manager|
|Allen Americans||Allen Event Center||Allen, Texas||Dallas Stars||Texas Stars||Matt Canavan|
|Brampton Beast||Powerade Centre||Brampton, Ontario||Tampa Bay Lightning||Syracuse Crunch||Cary Kaplan|
|Missouri Mavericks||Independence Events Center||Independence, Missouri||N/A||Chicago Wolves||Brent Theissen|
|Quad City Mallards||iWireless Center||Moline, Illinois||Minnesota Wild||Iowa Wild||Bob McNamara|
|Rapid City Rush||Rushmore Plaza Civic Center||Rapid City, South Dakota||Independent||Independent||Joe Ferras|
|Tulsa Oilers||BOK Center||Tulsa, Oklahoma||Independent||Independent||Taylor Hall|
|Wichita Thunder||Intrust Bank Arena||Wichita, Kansas||Independent||Independent||Joel Lomurno|
- Amarillo Gorillas (WPHL 1996–2001, CHL 2001–2010; team known as Amarillo Rattlers 1996–2002)
- Arizona Sundogs (2006-2014)
- Austin Ice Bats (1996–2008, began play in WPHL before moving to CHL in 2001)
- Bloomington Blaze (Bloomington, IL; 2011-2013 CHL, moved to SPHL)
- Bloomington PrairieThunder (Bloomington, IL; 2006–2007 UHL, 2007–2010 IHL, 2010–2011 CHL. team failed to contact U.S Cellular coliseum for an Extended lease. in result, a new hockey franchise named the Bloomington Blaze replaced them. Officially ceased operation on July 3, 2011)
- Border City Bandits (Texarkana, TX; 2000–01 season only, suspended by league on 2/20/01)
- Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (Bossier City–Shreveport, Louisiana; WPHL 1997–2001, CHL 2001–2011; folded on June 10, 2011)
- Colorado Eagles (Loveland, CO; 2003–2011, moved to ECHL)
- Columbus Cottonmouths (Columbus, GA; 1996–2001, moved to ECHL from 2001–04 and SPHL from 2004)
- Corpus Christi IceRays (2001–2010, replaced by NAHL franchise of same name)
- Dallas Freeze (1992–1995)
- Dayton Gems (Dayton, OH; 2009–2010 IHL, 2010–2012 CHL)
- Denver Cutthroats (2012-2014)
- El Paso Buzzards (WPHL 1996–2001, CHL 2001–2003)
- Evansville IceMen (Evansville, IN; 2010–2012, moved to ECHL)
- Fayetteville Force (1997–2001)
- Fort Wayne Komets (Fort Wayne, IN; 1952–1999 IHL, 1999–2007 UHL, 2007–2010 IHL, 2010–2012 CHL, moved to ECHL)
- Fort Worth Brahmas (Fort Worth, TX; 1997-2001 WPHL, 2001-2006 CHL, 2007-2013 CHL)
- Fort Worth Fire (1992–1999)
- Huntsville Channel Cats (began in Southern Hockey League 1995–96, moved to CHL from 1996–1999, changed name to Huntsville Tornado in 1999–2000)
- Indianapolis Ice (began play in IHL from 1988–1999, moved to CHL from 1999–2004. Franchise was sold and moved to Topeka, Kansas where they played as the Topeka Tarantulas for 2004–05)
- Laredo Bucks (2002–2012, franchise sold and moved to St. Charles, Missouri, played as St. Charles Chill in 2013–14)
- Lubbock Cotton Kings (1999–2007)
- Macon Whoopee (1996–2001, moved to ECHL for 2001–02)
- Mississippi RiverKings (1992–2011, known as Memphis RiverKings from 1992–2007, moved to SPHL for 2011–12.)
- Nashville Nighthawks (1996–97, changed name to Nashville Ice Flyers for 1997–98)
- New Mexico Scorpions (Rio Rancho, NM; WPHL 1996–2001, CHL 2001–2009)
- Odessa Jackalopes (1997–2011, replaced by NAHL franchise of the same name. The ownership group left the CHL and joined the North American Hockey League (NAHL) by purchasing an existing NAHL franchise, moving it to Odessa and adopting the same name.)
- Oklahoma City Blazers (1992–2009, folded on July 2, 2009)
- Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (Hidalgo, TX; 2003–2012) Replaced by a team in the NAHL.
- Rocky Mountain Rage (Broomfield, CO; 2006–2009)
- San Angelo Outlaws (WPHL 1997–2001, CHL 2001–02, changed name to San Angelo Saints from 2002–2005)
- San Antonio Iguanas (1994–1997, 1998–2002)
- St. Charles Chill (2013-2014)
- Topeka ScareCrows (1998–2001)
- Youngstown SteelHounds (2005–2008)
|Year||Teams||Expansion||Defunct||Suspended||Return from Hiatus||Relocated||Name Changes|
Fort Worth Fire
Oklahoma City Blazers
|1994–95||7||San Antonio Iguanas|
Huntsville Channel Cats
|1997–98||10||Fayetteville Force||San Antonio Iguanas (went to IHL)||Nashville Nighthawks → Nashville Ice Flyers|
|1998–99||11||San Antonio Iguanas
|Nashville Ice Flyers|
|1999–00||11||Indianapolis Ice||Fort Worth Fire|
|2000–01||12||Border City Bandits||Border City Bandits (defunct mid-season)||Huntsville Channel Cats → Huntsville Tornado|
|2001–02||16||Amarillo Rattlers (from WPHL)
Austin Ice Bats (from WPHL)
Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (from WPHL)
Corpus Christi Icerays (from WPHL)
El Paso Buzzards (from WPHL)
Fort Worth Brahmas (from WPHL)
Lubbock Cotton Kings (from WPHL)
New Mexico Scorpions (from WPHL)
Odessa Jackalopes (from WPHL)
San Angelo Outlaws (from WPHL)
|Columbus Cottonmouths (to ECHL)
Macon Whoopie (to ECHL)
|2002–03||16||Laredo Bucks||San Antonio Iguanas||Amarillo Rattlers → Amarillo Gorillas
San Angelo Outlaws → San Angelo Saints
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
|El Paso Buzzards|
|2004–05||17||Indianapolis Ice → Topeka Tarantulas|
|2005–06||15||Youngstown SteelHounds||San Angelo Saints
|New Mexico Scorpions|
Rocky Mountain Rage
|Texas Brahmas||New Mexico Scorpions||Fort Worth Brahmas → Texas Brahmas|
|2007–08||17||Lubbock Cotton Kings||Texas Brahmas||Memphis RiverKings → Mississippi RiverKings|
|2008–09||16||Rapid City Rush||Youngstown Steelhounds||Austin Ice Bats|
|New Mexico Scorpions
Oklahoma City Blazers
Rocky Mountain Rage
|2010–11||18||Bloomington PrairieThunder (from IHL)
Dayton Gems (from IHL)
Evansville IceMen (from IHL)
Fort Wayne Komets (from IHL)
Quad City Mallards (from IHL)
|Corpus Christi IceRays||Amarillo Gorillas|
|2011–12||14||Bloomington Blaze||Bloomington Prairie Thunder
Colorado Eagles (to ECHL)
Mississippi RiverKings (to SPHL)
Odessa Jackalopes (to NAHL)
|2012–13||10||Denver Cutthroats||Evansville IceMen (to ECHL)
Fort Wayne Komets (to ECHL)
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
|Laredo Bucks → St. Charles Chill (to begin play in 2013–14)||Texas Brahmas → Fort Worth Brahmas|
St. Charles Chill
|Bloomington Blaze (to SPHL)||Fort Worth Brahmas|
St. Charles Chill
- 1993 – Tulsa Oilers
- 1994 – Wichita Thunder
- 1995 – Wichita Thunder
- 1996 – Oklahoma City Blazers
- 1997 – Fort Worth Fire
- 1998 – Columbus Cottonmouths
- 1999 – Huntsville Channel Cats
- 2000 – Indianapolis Ice
- 2001 – Oklahoma City Blazers
- 2002 – Memphis RiverKings
- 2003 – Memphis RiverKings
- 2004 – Laredo Bucks
- 2005 – Colorado Eagles
- 2006 – Laredo Bucks
- 2007 – Colorado Eagles
- 2008 – Arizona Sundogs
- 2009 – Texas Brahmas
- 2010 – Rapid City Rush
- 2011 – Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs
- 2012 – Fort Wayne Komets
- 2013 – Allen Americans
- 2014 – Allen Americans
- "Treliving new Coyotes assistant GM". Azcentral.com. July 19, 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "News". centralhockeyleague.com. June 17, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Denver Elects Dormancy for the 2014-15 Season". centralhockeyleague.com. August 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
- "Jacks make move to North American Hockey League official | hockey, league, american - Central Hockey League - Odessa American Online". Oaoa.com. 2011-03-23. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- Stott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. pp. 16–201. ISBN 1-894974-21-2.