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Interleague Play For Minor League Hockey...?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by BNWriter, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. BNWriter

    BNWriter Active Member


    This isn't the greatest idea I've ever heard of. Any other opinions on the subject...? To me, I would think it would be too complicated for a number of reasons including the fact that unions would have to be involved because some of the leagues mentioned in the article have them.
  2. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    I think he's just trying to get his inferior league some attention.
  3. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

  4. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    Will never happen. ECHL would be giving IHL credibility by doing it. Same thing with CHL. This idea has been floating around for years.
  5. didntdoit19

    didntdoit19 Member

    The ECHL and the CHL played each other in preseason two years ago. It didn't go well for the CHL.

    There are a lot of problems with this, starting with the union. The king franchise of the IHL (Fort Wayne) has owners that are dead-set against the PHPA. If the IHL loses the Komets, the IHL ceases to exist.

    This also doesn't make sense geographically for the CHL and most of the ECHL. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three ECHL teams (Cincinnati, Toledo, Kalamazoo) that are near the IHL's footprint of teams. I guess the CHL's (Independence) Missouri could also be close to Bloomington (Illinois) and maybe Quad Cities, but I doubt a matchup with those teams would stir anybody's blood.

    And would these be regular season or preseason games? The IHL has very different interpretations of some rules and its roster regulations (number of veterans, salary cap, et cetera...) are also different.

    Other than that, yeah, it's a great idea.
  6. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    The only league below the IHL is a Saturday night men's beer league where, as a friend of mine once said, "We play drunk because that's how we practice".

  7. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    The CHL is inferior to the IHL. Which means it's one step short of unwatchable.

    Interleague play won't work because of vet limits, PHPA, et al. You are putting teams at a competitive disadvantage if you have an IHL team (with a higher vet limit) play a CHL team (with a lower salary cap & vet limit).

    This was very seriously considered when Fort Wayne was in the Uhaul and Horn Chen moved Indianapolis into the CHL -- where it was 450 miles away from the closest team -- because he owned both the team and the league. The teams had a great rivalry in the old IHL (and were HUGE draws in both rinks), and now that FTW and IND were playing teams from cities they'd never heard of, and putting a horrid product on the ice, both were desperate to get some warm bodies in the stands.

    It's not going to work.

    The sensible thing to do would be to merge all of the minor leagues and realign them based on, you know, geography. There is no need for a 30-team AHL. Nor is there any need for a gigantic ECHL that stretches from coast-to-coast. The IHL & CHL's footprints overlap each other and the ECHL's. However, it won't happen because the minors are a huge p!$$ing match between league & team owners.

    Interesting that if Fort Wayne goes, there is no IHL. Quad Cities carried that league for a long time, and I think they went dark (or came close to it) for a brief time when the Komets came in.

    The minor-league hockey geek in me sees Muskegon going to the USHL as a possibility ... that is becoming the default option for a LOT of Midwestern markets (in a footprint the IHL, ECHL and CHL have all tried to hit), because of the player expenses (billeting costs), short schedule (60 games) and a significantly-improved quality of play from the low-level minors. Indianapolis & Youngstown are both ex-CHL markets now in the USHL (Topeka was briefly another), and now Muskegon is looking at getting in.
  8. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    The CBA did this with the ABA last season, and it led to the CBA cratering halfway through the season. Don't give an inferior league credibility while at the same time shooting yourself in the foot. Not a good strategy.
  9. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but that's not close to being true. The IHL talent level is better than the CHL. One player (Don Parsons) who was very good during the IHL's UHL days left for the CHL and won back-to-back MVPs. You see a lot of guys leave the CHL and struggle in the IHL. The salary cap in the IHL is higher and you have a lot more veterans. That said, the league is run like a joke. As for Quad City, it never went dark. It jumped to the AHL, was a failure there and then returned to the "new" IHL. And Muskegon announced today it's jumping to the USHL. I think this could be the end of the IHL unless Fort Wayne wants to keep propping up several franchises like Dayton and Flint. Muskegon story:

  10. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    The minor-league hockey business model is hard to make work. You're essentially building a league on guys making $14,000 a year living in remote outposts. Nobody's going to do that for very long, unless they have no other marketable skills or they just love the game.

    The rapid growth of the USHL (which now has 14 teams, and Muskegon would make 15) is making me wonder if some of these low-level minor-league communities might be able to make a Canadian-style Major Junior league work in the States, as the USHL is probably more of a Junior A level. Still good, but it's mostly a stepping-stone to the NCAA, which is still below Major Junior in talent.

    The USHL's product blows the CHL & IHL way off the ice.
  11. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    Some guys in the IHL make a lot more than $14K. Some make $1,000 a week on the books and $500 or so under the table. But, a lot of rookies make $300-$350 a week, so they don't make squat. They do get housing and per diem on the road ($25) but that's not much money to risk major injury every night.
  12. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Arguing whether the CHL is a better league than the IHL is like arguing whether the Blue Goose Regulars are better than the Sloppy Joe's All Stars.

    These are all guys who maybe played Major Junior, never got drafted and didn't even have enough education to play CIS hockey.

    Trust me, there are guys who play beer league hockey who are better hockey players than CHL or IHL guys. The only difference is that the beer league guys have real jobs
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