United Hockey League

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United Hockey League
Logo of the UHL from 1997-2006
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1991
Ceased 2010
Replaced by Central Hockey League (partial)
Countries  United States
Last champion(s) Fort Wayne Komets
Most titles Fort Wayne Komets & Muskegon Fury (4)

The United Hockey League (UHL), originally known as the Colonial Hockey League from 1991 to 1997 and last known as the International Hockey League from 2007 to 2010, was a low-level minor professional ice hockey league,[1][2] with teams in the United States and Canada. The league was headquartered in Rochester, Michigan, and in its last year, consisted of seven teams.[3] It folded in 2010, with most of its teams joining the Central Hockey League, which in turn merged with the ECHL in 2014; the Quad City Mallards, Elmira Jackals, Evansville IceMen, Fort Wayne Komets, and Kalamazoo Wings are the only former UHL/IHL teams still active as of 2015.


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 Glens Falls, NY; 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 and Rockford, Illinois moved to the American Hockey League, the team in Elmira, New York, went to the ECHL, and the franchises in Chicago, Illinois and Port Huron, Michigan ceased operations. In June 2007 at the league’s Annual Meeting, the UHL announced that it was 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 moved from Lake St. Louis, Missouri to 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 longtime member of the original league. In addition, the Kalamazoo Wings and Flint Generals franchises revived the names of the original Kalamazoo and Flint IHL teams. [4][5]

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 Flint Generals and the Port Huron Icehawks, folded.


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.[6] 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

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.



Season Teams Expansion Defunct Suspended Return from hiatus Relocated Name changes
Colonial Hockey League
5 Brantford Smoke
Flint Bulldogs
Michigan Falcons
Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks
St. Thomas Wildcats
1992–93 7 Chatham Wheels
Muskegon Fury
Detroit Falcons (Michigan)
1993–94 8 Flint Generals Flint → Utica Bulldogs Thunder Bay Senators (Thunder Hawks)
1994–95 8 Chatham → Saginaw Wheels
St. Thomas → London Wildcats
Utica Blizzard (Bulldogs)
1995–96 9 Quad City Mallards
Madison Monsters
London Wildcats
1996–97 10 London Wildcats Detroit → Port Huron Border Cats
London → Dayton Ice Bandits
Saginaw Lumber Kings (Wheels)
Thunder Bay Thunder Cats (Senators)
United Hockey League
10 B.C. Icemen
Winston-Salem IceHawks
Utica Blizzard Dayton Ice Bandits
1998–99 11 Dayton Ice Bandits Brantford → Asheville Smoke
Dayton → Mohawk Valley Prowlers
Saginaw Gears (Lumber Kings)
1999–2000 14 Fort Wayne Komets
Madison Kodiaks
Missouri River Otters
Madison → Knoxville Speed
Thunder Bay → Rockford Icehogs
Winston-Salem → Adirondack IceHawks
Saginaw → Ohio Gears (mid-season)
2000–01 15 Elmira Jackals
New Haven Knights
Ohio Gears
Mohawk Valley Prowlers (mid-season)
Madison → Kalamazoo Wings
2001–02 14
2002–03 10 Port Huron Beacons Asheville Smoke
B.C. Icemen
Knoxville Speed
New Haven Knights
Port Huron Border Cats
2003–04 12 Columbus Stars
Richmond RiverDogs
Columbus Stars (mid-season)
2004–05 14 Danbury Trashers
Kansas City Outlaws
Motor City Mechanics
Adirondack Frostbite (IceHawks)
2005–06 14 Port Huron Flags Kansas City Outlaws Port Huron Beacons → Roanoke Valley Vipers
2006–07 10 Bloomington PrairieThunder Adirondack Frostbite
Danbury Trashers
Missouri River Otters
Motor City Mechanics
Roanoke Valley Vipers
Richmond → Chicago Hounds
International Hockey
6 Port Huron Icehawks Chicago Hounds
Elmira Jackals (moved to ECHL)
Port Huron Flags
Quad City Mallards
Rockford IceHogs (Replaced by an AHL team)
2008–09 6 Muskegon Lumberjacks (Fury)
2009–10 7 Dayton Gems
Quad City Mallards
Kalamazoo Wings (moved to ECHL)
After 09–10 season 0
(League folded
July 13, 2010)
Port Huron Icehawks (Folded June 10, 2010)
Flint Generals (Folded June 10, 2010)[7]
Franchises merged into CHL:
Bloomington PrairieThunder
Dayton Gems
Evansville IceMen
Fort Wayne Komets
Quad City Mallards
Muskegon Lumberjacks → Evansville IceMen (June 23, 2010)


History of teams


See also


  1. "Lockout's true victims cry out," Sunaya Sapurji, Toronto Star, November 17, 2004
  2. Chicago News, Events and Culture | Chi-Town Daily News | Put theUHL on a dead pool list
  3. Official Website of the IHL
  4. http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20070621/SPORTS0601/706210314/1009
  5. http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/uhl-becomes-ihl-adds-team/article_ebc46a7d-9061-57cd-84d2-26e0f0ed6ac9.html
  6. "IHL Honored to Announce Hextall as New Leader" - IHL-Hockey.com
  7. "Flint Generals are history as Perani Arena chooses to give lease to NAHL's Michigan Warriors instead". mlive. June 10, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Jackals moved to ECHL - http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news&cat=1&id=10749[dead link]
  9. Wings moved to ECHL - http://www.echl.com/cgi-bin/mpublic.cgi?action=show_news2&id=19007[dead link]
  10. Had assets bought out by Rockford IceHogs of American Hockey League - http://www.theahl.com/news/league/index.html?article_id=7559 Archived September 27, 2007 at the Wayback Machine

External links