United Hockey League

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United Hockey League
United Hockey League.svg
Logo of the UHL from 1997-2006
SportIce hockey
Countries United States
Last champion(s)Fort Wayne Komets
Most titlesFort Wayne Komets & Muskegon Fury (4)
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"International Hockey League (2007–2010)" redirects here. For other uses, see International Hockey League (disambiguation).
"UHL" redirects here. For other uses, see Uhl (disambiguation).
United Hockey League
United Hockey League.svg
Logo of the UHL from 1997-2006
SportIce hockey
Countries United States
Last champion(s)Fort Wayne Komets
Most titlesFort Wayne Komets & Muskegon Fury (4)

The United Hockey League (UHL) was a low-level professional ice hockey league,[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] with teams in the United States and Canada. The league was headquartered in Rochester, Michigan, and in its last year, consisted of seven teams.[8] It folded in 2010, with most of its teams joining the Central Hockey League.


The UHL was originally formed in 1991 as the Colonial Hockey League and had teams in Brantford, Ontario; Detroit, Michigan; Flint, Michigan; St. Thomas, Ontario; and Thunder Bay, Ontario; the avowed goal of the league organizers was to fill the low-level niche in the Great Lakes area abandoned by the original International Hockey League as the latter league engaged in upmarket expansion. As time passed, the CoHL moved eastward, into places like the Adirondacks, Danbury, CT, Utica, NY, Binghamton, NY, and Richmond, VA. During that expansion, the league was renamed United Hockey League (UHL) and the headquarters was moved to Lake St. Louis, Missouri in 1997.

The 2006-07 season was the last season of play for the league under the UHL name. Following the 2006-07 season, the league lost half of its ten teams. The franchises in Moline, Illinois and Rockford, Illinois moved to the American Hockey League, the team in Elmira, New York, went to the ECHL, and the franchise in Hoffman Estates, Illinois ceased operations. In June 2007 at the league’s Annual Meeting, the UHL announced that it was immediately changing its name to the International Hockey League (IHL). Paul L. Pickard was named the first President and CEO of the new IHL. During that summer, the UHL headquarters in Lake St. Louis, Missouri was closed and transitioned to a new office in Rochester, Michigan. The UHL's rebranding was intended to evoke the original International Hockey League, which had ceased operations in 2001. The Fort Wayne Komets were a longstanding member of the original league. In addition, the new Kalamazoo Wings and Flint Generals franchises revived the names of the original Kalamazoo and Flint IHL teams. Six teams were members of the IHL for its inaugural season.[9][10]

On July 13, 2010, the league announced an agreement with the Central Hockey League, the effects of which saw five IHL teams - the Bloomington PrairieThunder, Dayton Gems, Evansville IceMen, Fort Wayne Komets and Quad City Mallards - absorbed into the CHL. The remaining two franchises from the league's last season that were not absorbed into the CHL, the Generals and the Port Huron Icehawks, folded. The only original UHL franchise that played in the CHL was the Evansville IceMen and Fort Wayne Komets, (Icemen originally known as the Muskegon Lumberjacks)


UHL's IHL logo from 2007 until 2010

Dennis Hextall was named as the president and commissioner of the International Hockey League on September 2, 2009.[11] Hextall was preceded by Paul Pickard, who served as commissioner for the first two years of the renamed league (2007–2009).

Several UHL teams had affiliations with the National Hockey League, American Hockey League, and the All American Hockey League.

Colonial/Turner Cup champions[edit]

The Colonial Cup was the league's championship trophy. The name was changed to the Turner Cup in 2007 to reflect the original IHL's championship trophy, also named the Turner Cup.



YearTeamsExpansionDefunctSuspendedReturn from hiatusRelocatedName changes
1990–915Brantford Smoke
Flint Bulldogs
Michigan Falcons
Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks
St. Thomas Wildcats
1991–927Chatham Wheels
Muskegon Fury
Detroit Falcons (Michigan)
Thunder Bay Thunder Cats (Thunder Hawks)
1992–938Flint GeneralsFlint → Utica BulldogsThunder Bay Senators (Thunder Cats)
1993–948Chatham → Saginaw Wheels
St. Thomas → London Wildcats
Utica Blizzard (Bulldogs)
1994–959Quad City Mallards
Madison Monsters
London Wildcats
1995–9610London WildcatsDetroit → Port Huron Border Cats
London → Dayton Ice Bandits
Saginaw Lumber Kings (Wheels)
Thunder Bay Thunder Cats (Senators)
1996–9710B.C. Icemen
Winston-Salem IceHawks
Utica BlizzardDayton Ice Bandits
1997–9811Dayton Ice BanditsBrantford → Asheville Smoke
Dayton → Mohawk Valley Prowlers
Saginaw Gears (Lumber Kings)
1998–9914Fort Wayne Komets
Madison Kodiaks
Missouri River Otters
Madison → Knoxville Speed
Saginaw → Ohio Gears
Thunder Bay → Rockford Icehogs
Winston-Salem → Adirondack IceHawks
1999–200015New Haven KnightsMohawk Valley Prowlers (mid-season)
Ohio Gears
Madison → Kalamazoo Wings
2000–0114Elmira Jackals
2001–0210Port Huron BeaconsAsheville Smoke
B.C. Icemen
Knoxville Speed
New Haven Knights
Port Huron Border Cats
2002–0312Columbus Stars
Richmond RiverDogs
Columbus Stars (mid-season)
2004–0414Danbury Trashers
Kansas City Outlaws
Motor City Mechanics
Adirondack Frostbite (IceHawks)
2004–0514Port Huron FlagsKansas City OutlawsPort Huron → Roanoke Valley Vipers
2005–0610Bloomington PrairieThunderAdirondack Frostbite
Danbury Trashers
Missouri River Otters
Motor City Mechanics
Roanoke Valley Vipers
Richmond → Chicago Hounds
2006–076Port Huron IcehawksChicago Hounds
Elmira Jackals (moved to ECHL)
Port Huron Flags
Quad City Mallards
Rockford IceHogs (moved to AHL)
2007–086Muskegon Lumberjacks (Fury)
2008–097Dayton Gems
Quad City Mallards
Kalamazoo Wings (moved to ECHL)
2009–105Port Huron Icehawks
Flint Generals[12]
Muskegon Lumberjacks → Evansville IceMen


Quad City MallardsDayton Gems (2009–)Port Huron IcehawksBloomington PrairieThunderPort Huron Flags (UHL)Motor City MechanicsKansas City OutlawsDanbury TrashersChicago HoundsRichmond RiverDogsColumbus StarsRoanoke Valley VipersPort Huron BeaconsNew Haven KnightsElmira JackalsMissouri River OttersKalamazoo WingsMadison KodiaksFort Wayne KometsAdirondack FrostbiteWinston-Salem IceHawksB.C. IcemenKnoxville SpeedMadison MonstersQuad City Mallards (1995-2007)Flint GeneralsMuskegon Lumberjacks (1992–2010)Ohio GearsSaginaw Gears (UHL)Chatham WheelsMohawk Valley ProwlersDayton Ice BanditsLondon WildcatsSt. Thomas WildcatsRockford IceHogs (UHL)Thunder Bay Thunder CatsPort Huron Border CatsDetroit Falcons (CoHL)Utica BlizzardFlint BulldogsAsheville SmokeAsheville Smoke

History of teams[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Investors have an interest in the UHL," Portland Press Herald, May 28, 2000
  2. ^ Report: AHL hockey team moving from Omaha to the Quad-Cities / QCTimes.com
  3. ^ "Lockout's true victims cry out," Sunaya Sapurji, Toronto Star, November 17, 2004
  4. ^ Mallards call conference / QCTimes.com
  5. ^ Chicago News, Events and Culture | Chi-Town Daily News | Put theUHL on a dead pool list
  6. ^ Gauntlet Sports - The improbable and fantastic journey of Drayton Valley's Eric Schneider
  7. ^ "IBL team has to play it just right," Krista Latham, Detroit Free Press, February 3, 2005
  8. ^ Official Website of the IHL
  9. ^ http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20070621/SPORTS0601/706210314/1009
  10. ^ http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/uhl-becomes-ihl-adds-team/article_ebc46a7d-9061-57cd-84d2-26e0f0ed6ac9.html
  11. ^ "IHL Honored to Announce Hextall as New Leader" - IHL-Hockey.com
  12. ^ a b Flint, Port Huron bow out of IHL | The Journal Gazette | Fort Wayne, IN
  13. ^ Jackals moved to ECHL - http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news&cat=1&id=10749[dead link]
  14. ^ Wings moved to ECHL - http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news2&id=19007[dead link]
  15. ^ Had assets bought out by Rockford IceHogs of American Hockey League - http://www.theahl.com/news/league/index.html?article_id=7559[dead link]

External links[edit]