The Perth Thunder were founded in 2010. On 28 November 2010, Perth Thunder were granted a provisional license with the AIHL for the 2011 season, with the intention of entering the league to compete as the ninth team in the 2012 AIHL season. In 2011 the Thunder played a number of exhibition games against several AIHL teams. In May the Thunder travelled to Adelaide to compete in two games against the Adelaide Adrenaline. They drew the first game 2–2 and won the second 3–0. In June the Melbourne Ice travelled to Perth to compete in two games against the Thunder at the Cockburn Ice Arena. The Ice won the first game 4–3 and lost the second game 3–6 after letting in six goals to none in the final period. In September the Newcastle North Stars traveled to Perth to play the Thunder in a two game series. The Thunder won both the first and second game 4–2. On 16 October 2011 the AIHL voted to include the Perth Thunder as the ninth team to join the league.
Playing in their inaugural season the Thunder finished fourth in the Easton conference, missing out on the Goodall Cup playoffs. Following the end of the season the 2012 club awards were announced. Ken Rolph was named MVP, Aaron Wilson was named best defenceman, Samuel Wilson best local player, and David Kudla won the most improved award.