International Hockey League

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The logo of the IHL

The International Hockey League ( IHL for short ) was a professional ice hockey league in the United States and Canada . It existed from 1945 to 2001. An older league, also called the International Hockey League , existed from 1929 to 1936. In addition, there was another league under the name from 2007 to 2010 . The winners of the play-offs received the Turner Cup as a trophy.


The IHL was founded on December 15, 1945 and was originally a semi-professional league near the Great Lakes , whose clubs were mainly based in smaller cities such as Fort Wayne , Grand Rapids , Flint , Toledo or Muskegon . The founding members of the league were the Detroit Auto Club , Detroit Bright's Goodyears , Windsor Gotfredsons and Windsor Spitfires . In 1947, the Toledo Mercurys joined the IHL. Then the league began to expand and took on more and more teams. However, this expansion was only temporary and by 1949 the IHL had almost shrunk back to its founding members. A year later, the Windsor Ryancretes left the league. Then the IHL expanded again and new clubs were created in Grand Rapids, Troy, Cincinnati , Fort Wayne and Milwaukee . With the Chatham Maroons , the last franchise from Canada left the International Hockey League in 1952 .

It was not until 1963, after eleven seasons in which only clubs from the USA were represented in the IHL, that Canadian teams were again admitted to the IHL. The Windsor Bulldogs and again the Chatham Maroons now played in the league. However, both teams were excluded from the league just one season later. In the 1970s, more and more IHL teams entered into cooperation with NHL franchises, and in the 1980s the league expanded into big cities such as Chicago , Los Angeles , San Francisco and Denver . Due to the rapid development away from the small towns, their clubs more and more joined the lower leagues, such as the East Coast Hockey League . So the IHL developed into a clear counterbalance to the NHL, as its problems grew at that time.

In order to counteract this, many NHL clubs gave up their cooperation with the IHL clubs and increasingly looked for their partners in the American Hockey League . In addition, more and more NHL clubs settled in the cities of the IHL. The interest in the IHL decreased again. The loss of support with salary payments and rising travel expenses worsened the financial situation of the league and the clubs belonging to it. In 2001 the league was dissolved and its members were added or dissolved in the AHL or other minor leagues.

Awards and trophies

In total, the IHL awarded 13 trophies during its existence, two for teams and eleven for players and coaches.

Team trophies
Surname Reason for award Namesake Award Record winner
Turner Cup
  • Turner Cup Playoff Winner
Joe Turner 1945-2001
Fred A. Huber Trophy
  • Best points team in the regular season
Fred A. Huber, Jr. 1946-2001
Player and coach trophies
Surname Reason for award Namesake Award Record winner
Commissioner's Trophy
  • Best coach of the regular season
Leo P. Lamoureux Memorial Trophy
  • Regular season top scorer
Leo P. Lamoureux 1946-2001
James Gatschene Memorial Trophy
  • Best Regular Season Player
James Gatschene 1946-2001
Norman R. "Bud" Poile Trophy Bud poile 1988-2001
Garry F. Longman Memorial Trophy Garry F. Longman 1961-2001
  • The trophy can only be won once in a career
Ken McKenzie Trophy
  • Best American rookie of the season
Ken McKenzie 1977-2001
  • The trophy can only be won once in a career
Governor's Trophy
  • Best defender
  • several players won the trophy twice
James Norris Memorial Trophy James E. Norris 1955-2001
John Cullen Award
  • Player who fought his way back after a long injury
John Cullen 1996-2001
Ironman Award
  • Player who played all the games in a season and made an extraordinary contribution to the team's success
IHL Man of the Year
  • Special social engagement


Web links