Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by Mayor Bee, Feb 12, 2011.
But that's what the IHL was outside of the last 9 years of its operation. And the major expansion it pulled was the primary reason it died.
To pick a random year (1988-89), the IHL had teams in Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Denver, and Milwaukee in a nine-team league. The rest could be considered "mid-sized cities", but the IHL through much of its history usually had at least one or two cities that would be viable NHL expansion options.
Look at every season before 1984-85. Even afterward, it was a gradual change... Salt Lake City is the only non-Great Lakes team until 1987-88 and Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo managed to cling to life as the league chased the big markets.
The IHL that had teams in various NHL sized markets only really existed from 1987 to 2001 and the IHL where most of the teams were in those markets only existed from 1992.
Not the geographical expansion so much as the financial one. The ECHL manages to get by despite having teams everywhere from Alaska to Florida, but they're not trying to pay KHL-competitive salaries. If they started spending the money necessary to get to a talent level between the NHL and AHL like the IHL (and WHA, for that matter) did, they'd go under in short order, too.
I think you're trying to describe what the Federal Hockey League is attempting. This is their first season.
And failing. Down to two active teams that started the season (plus a few reconstituted others).
Lots of discussion on the ECHL/Minor Leagues forum on the FHL, UHL, GUH (planning for 11-12 season start), NPHL, AAHL, SPHL, AHA, etc., (and CHL/ECHL), so I won't repeat all the history here.
How would the IHL be able to keep players from going to the KHL?
The KHL pays massive money.
With hopes and dreams!
I'd rather see the minor leagues continue to consolidate and create a streamlined development system like minor league baseball.
Honestly, if there is any benefit to an independent minor league it is not apparent to me.
Getting the SF Spiders back?
As the lack of activity would indicate, I totally forgot about this thread until an unrelated one jogged my memory.
Baseball is a bit different because their prospects go from the bottom up rather than the top down. An MLB team will draft a prospect, sign him, then send him to rookie ball. If he looks good, short season single-A is his next destination. Then it's on to long season single-A, then double-A, then AAA, then MLB.
Hockey goes in reverse. If a top prospect doesn't make the NHL team and is no longer junior eligible, he goes to the AHL. If he really struggles, only then does he see the ECHL. And, barring something totally crazy, he'll never see the UHL, SPHL, or anything else like that.
What baseball teams are able to do is sign their own guys that play alongside the prospects who are on the way up; maybe they catch the eye of a scout and get another chance to climb the ladder. But with hockey, older players are extremely limited on their chances at the higher levels and are pretty much at the mercy of a parent club that has no interest in whether they ever see the ice or not. This forces them into lower levels or overseas, although I'm sure there are quite a few who could crack an NHL lineup if they had the chance.
The IHL could attempt the independent status route again. The results would be the same as before. There are not that many unserved hockey markets left.
The old IHL was chock full of of former NHL prospects that never made stuck in the show, players like Dave Chyzowski to use one example.
The old IHL tried to sell itself as the second best hockey league in the world, which is in itself crazy for a business model. No one wants to the second best car or eat at the second best restaurant.
The trouble with the old IHL was that is strictly a business league run on a year to year basis. No draft picks to encourage fans or team building going on.
The NHL has a monopoly on the best talent available and can pay the salaries to back that claim up.
A new IHL would not be filling any voids in communities that do not already have a team.
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