The CHL was a mid-level minor professional ice hockey league that operated from 1992 until 2014. Ray Miron and Bill Levins founded it and was later sold to Global Entertainment Corporation, which operated the league from 2000 to 2013, when individual franchise owners purchased it.
The CHL was made up of small to mid-size cities that did not have an NHL team. In its early years, the league was mostly made up of American teams, but it later expanded to include Canadian teams as well.
The league saw several teams come and go throughout its existence, but it remained a popular destination for players looking to develop their skills and move up to higher levels of professional hockey.
While the CHL may no longer exist, its legacy lives on in the many players who passed through its ranks and went on to successful careers in the NHL and other professional leagues. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the CHL and its impact on the world of ice hockey, read on for a closer look at this fascinating league.
History of Central Hockey League
The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a minor professional ice hockey league that operated from 1963 to 1984. Ray Miron and Bill Levins founded the league, and it consisted of teams from the Midwestern United States and Canada.
The CHL was created to replace the Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL), which folded in 1963. The league started with six teams and expanded to as many as 12 teams. The league’s teams were mostly in smaller cities and towns, with a few exceptions like Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
The CHL was known for its physical style of play, and it produced many players who went on to play in the National Hockey League (NHL). The league also had several notable coaches, including Fred Shero, who went on to coach the Philadelphia Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in the mid-1970s.
In 1992, a new Central Hockey League was founded with five teams in the United States. The league expanded into Canada in 1994 with the addition of four teams. The CHL was owned by Global Entertainment Corporation from 2000 to 2013, at which point the individual franchise owners purchased it.
The league ceased operations in 2014, with its Canadian teams forming the core of a new league, the Western Hockey League. The CHL succeeded the ECHL, which absorbed several of its teams. The legacy of the CHL lives on through the many players and coaches who got their start in the league and the memories of fans who enjoyed the exciting and physical brand of hockey that the league offered.
Teams and Franchises
The Central Hockey League (CHL) was home to several teams and franchises during its tenure. The league was made up of small to mid-size cities that did not have an NHL team. In its early years, the league comprised mostly American teams, but it later expanded to include Canadian teams as well.
Some of the notable teams in the CHL were:
- Tulsa Oilers
- Oklahoma City Blazers
- Arizona Sundogs
- Denver Cutthroats
- Allen Americans
- Wichita Thunder
- Austin Ice Bats
- Dallas Black Hawks
- Omaha Knights
- Indianapolis Capitals
- Minneapolis Bruins
- Montreal Canadiens
- Chicago Black Hawks
- St. Paul Rangers
- Denver Spurs
- Salt Lake Golden Eagles
- Seattle Totems
- Cincinnati Stingers
- Birmingham Bulls
- Amarillo Wranglers
- Cincinnati Tigers
- Cincinnati Wings
- Colorado Flames
- Fort Worth Texans
- Fort Worth Wings
- Houston Apollos
- Indianapolis Checkers
- Iowa Stars
- Kansas City Blues
- Kansas City Red Wings
- Memphis South Stars
- Memphis Wings
- Minnesota Rangers
- Montana Magic
- Nashville South Stars
- Oklahoma City Stars
- Phoenix Roadrunners
- Tucson Mavericks
- Wichita Wind.
The Tulsa Oilers were one of the original six franchises still playing at the end of the CHL’s tenure. The Wichita Thunder and Mississippi RiverKings were the other two. The RiverKings, however, folded in 2018.
Each franchise had its unique history and fanbase. Some franchises were more successful than others, but all contributed to the league’s overall success. The CHL allowed many players to continue their careers and fans in smaller cities to enjoy professional hockey.
League Structure and Divisions
The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a North American professional ice hockey league that operated from 1992 to 2014. The mid-level minor league acted as a feeder league to the American Hockey League (AHL) and the National Hockey League (NHL).
The CHL was divided into two conferences, the Berry Conference and the Turner Conference, each containing two divisions. The Berry Conference consisted of the Northeast Division and the Northwest Division, while the Turner Conference comprised the Southeast and Southwest Division.
The league structure was as follows:
|Berry||Northeast||Brampton Beast, Dayton Gems, Danbury Whalers, New York Aviators, New York Bluefins, and Thousand Islands Privateers|
|Berry||Northwest||Allen Americans, Fort Worth Brahmas, Texas Brahmas, and Wichita Thunder|
|Turner||Southeast||Mississippi RiverKings, Pensacola Ice Flyers, and Louisiana IceGators|
|Turner||Southwest||Arizona Sundogs, Denver Cutthroats, and Missouri Mavericks|
Each team played 66 games in the regular season, with 33 games being played at home and 33 playing away. The top four teams from each division qualified for the playoffs, with the first two rounds being played within each division and the winners of each division facing off in the Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals.
In 2014, the CHL merged with the ECHL, resulting in the disbandment of the league. The ECHL absorbed seven of the ten remaining teams from the CHL, while the other three teams ceased operations.
The Central Hockey League (CHL) has had many notable personalities over the years who have contributed to the league’s success. Here are some of the most notable individuals who have been associated with the CHL:
Ray Miron is one of the most important figures in the history of the CHL. He was the co-founder of the league and served as its commissioner for many years. Miron was instrumental in getting the league off the ground and making it a success.
Jack Adams was a former player and coach who served as the president of the CHL in the 1990s. Adams was a well-respected figure in the hockey world and brought great credibility to the league.
Emory Jones was the first president of the CHL and played a key role in the league’s early success. Jones was a respected businessman who helped to establish the league’s financial stability.
Joe Kane was a former player who served as the CHL’s director of hockey operations for many years. Kane was responsible for overseeing the league’s day-to-day operations and was instrumental in the league’s growth and success.
Max McNab was a former player, coach, and general manager who served as the CHL’s commissioner in the 2000s. McNab was a well-respected figure in the hockey world and brought a great deal of experience and knowledge to the league.
Bud Poile was a former player and coach who served as the CHL’s president in the 1990s. Poile was a well-respected figure in the hockey world and brought great credibility to the league.
Tournaments and Championships
The Central Hockey League (CHL) held various tournaments and championships during its operation from 1992 to 2014. The league’s main championship was the Adams Cup, which was awarded to the CHL playoff champion each year.
The playoffs consisted of four rounds of best-of-seven series, with the top two teams from each division qualifying. The winner of the Adams Cup was also awarded the Phil Esposito Trophy, named after the former NHL player and coach who was also a co-founder of the CHL.
In addition to the Adams Cup, the CHL also awarded several other trophies to individual players. The Bobby Orr Trophy was awarded to the playoff MVP, while the Terry Sawchuk Trophy was awarded to the best goaltender in the regular season.
The Ken McKenzie Trophy was awarded to the league’s top point scorer, and the runner-up in the playoffs received the Runner-Up Trophy.
The CHL also held an All-Star Game each season, featuring the league’s top players from both divisions. The format of the game varied over the years, but it typically involved a skills competition and a game between the two All-Star teams.
Relation with NHL and Other Leagues
The Central Hockey League (CHL) was a professional ice hockey league that operated in North America from 1992 to 2014. The CHL had a close relationship with the National Hockey League (NHL) and other minor leagues.
Many players who played in the CHL were drafted by NHL teams or signed as free agents by NHL teams after playing in the league. In fact, many NHL players began their careers in the CHL, including Brian Savage, Andrew Brunette, and Darren Haydar.
The CHL also had an affiliation agreement with the Western Hockey League (WHL), which is a major junior ice hockey league in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States. The agreement allowed WHL teams to assign their players to CHL teams for development purposes.
In addition to its relationship with the NHL and WHL, the CHL also had a working agreement with the World Hockey Association (WHA) during the 1990s. The agreement allowed CHL players to sign with WHA teams, and vice versa.
Several NHL teams had affiliations with CHL teams during the league’s existence. For example, the Boston Bruins had an affiliation with the St. Louis Braves during the 1993-94 season, while the New York Rangers had an affiliation with the Tulsa Oilers during the 1994-95 season.
Other NHL teams that had affiliations with CHL teams at various times included the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Red Wings, and Washington Capitals.
The Central Hockey League (CHL) has not participated directly in Olympic. However, many players who have played in the CHL have gone on to represent their respective countries in the Olympic Games.
For example, the United States Olympic hockey team has had several players who have played in the CHL. This includes players such as Jim Johannson, who played for the Colorado Gold Kings in the CHL’s inaugural season, and Brett Hull, who played for the Fort Worth Fire in the 1986-87 season.
Similarly, several Canadian Olympic hockey teams have featured players who have played in the CHL. For instance, the 2002 Canadian Olympic hockey team included players such as Mike Weaver, who played for the Louisiana IceGators in the 1999-2000 season, and Dany Heatley, who played for the Mississippi Sea Wolves in the 2000-01 season.
The Central Hockey League (CHL) is a minor professional ice hockey league that was founded in 1992. The league is made up of small to mid-size cities that do not have an NHL team. The CHL has been through several changes since its inception, including expansion and contraction of teams. Currently, the league has ten teams, with six located in the United States and four in Canada.
The CHL teams are spread across several states in the United States, including Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and South Dakota. The league also has teams in Denver, CO, and Tulsa, OK. The Minnesota cities of Bloomington and St. Paul have hosted CHL teams in the past. In Canada, the league has teams in Montreal and Brampton, ON.
The CHL’s geographical spread has changed over the years due to the expansion and contraction of teams. For example, in the league’s early years, it was made up of mostly American teams, but it has since expanded to include Canadian teams as well. Over the years, the league has seen several teams come and go, with some cities hosting multiple teams at different times.
Impact and Legacy
The Central Hockey League (CHL) had a significant impact on ice hockey in North America during its existence from 1992 to 2014. Ray Miron and Bill Levins founded the league with the idea of central ownership of both the league and the teams. The CHL was a mid-level minor professional ice hockey league, and it served as a stepping stone for players who aspired to play in the NHL.
One of the significant impacts of the CHL was its contribution to the development of ice hockey in the United States. The league had teams in various cities across the country, which helped to popularize the sport in areas where it wasn’t as well-known. The CHL also provided opportunities for players from different parts of the country to showcase their talents and develop their skills.
The CHL also significantly impacted the careers of many players who went on to play in the NHL. Several notable NHL players, including Mike Modano, Brett Hull, and Ed Belfour, played in the CHL before jumping to the NHL. The league also helped to develop the careers of many coaches and managers who went on to work in the NHL.
Despite its impact, the CHL faced financial difficulties towards the end of its existence. In 2013, the league was sold to individual franchise owners after being operated by Global Entertainment Corporation for 13 years. However, the league was unable to overcome its financial challenges, and it ceased operations in 2014.
In conclusion, the Central Hockey League played a significant role in the development of ice hockey in North America. The league provided opportunities for players from different parts of the country to showcase their talents and develop their skills. The CHL also helped to develop the careers of many players, coaches, and managers who went on to work in the NHL. However, the league’s financial challenges ultimately led to its demise.