season or competition:
2009–10 AIHL season
The AIHL Logo.
|No. of teams||37|
|Most recent champion(s)||Steel City Phantoms|
|Most championships||Steel City Phantoms (1)|
The American Inline Hockey League (AIHL) is an elite inline hockey league composed of 37 teams located throughout the United States. It is one of the premier inline hockey leagues in the United States. The Champions Cup is awarded annually to the league champion at the end of each season.
The league was formed in 2008 in Orlando, Florida, United States from a predecessor organization, the Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA), founded in 2002. It started with 21 teams, and through a series of expansions, contractions and relocations, the league is now composed of 37 teams, all of which are based in the United States.
|* - One championship while
known as the Steel City Phantoms.
After a series of disputes in the Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA) between the team owners and the league management, many disgruntled owners had a meeting about the future of the sport. Their discussions eventually led to the creation of the American Inline Hockey League on June 16, 2008. nineteen former PIHA franchises, the Boston Swamp Rats, East Bay Jawz, El Paso Black Diamonds, Hartford Fire Ants, Long Island 495ers, Maryland Crusaders (formerly known as the Maryland Knights, later renamed back to Maryland Knights in 2009), New Jersey Nightmare (formerly known as the Philadelphia Revolution), New Jersey Surge (formerly known as the New Jersey Stampede), Northern California Mustangs, Philadelphia Brawlers (formerly known as the Philadelphia Growl), Phoenix Dragons, Raleigh Dragons (formerly known as the Raleigh Assault), Richmond Robins, San Jose Pirates, Scottdale Inferno, Southampton Cyclones (formerly known as the Feasterville Fury), Steel City Phantoms (formerly known as the Pittsburgh Bandits, later renamed back to Pittsburgh Bandits in 2009), Tucson Desparados and Virginia Generals (formerly known as the Winchester Generals, later renamed back to Winchester Generals in 2009) became founding members of the AIHL. The Garden State Savage Wolves, Georgia Syndicate, Huntington Beach Blades, Irvine Anarchy, Junior Ducks, Las Vegas Aces, Massachusetts Mulissha, Northern California Riot, Oakland GoodLife, Pama Cyclones, San Diego Voodoo and Suffolk Sharks all joined the 2008–09 season as expansion franchises bringing the total to 31 teams.
The AIHL's inaugural season was a successful one. On July 2, 2009, the AIHL crowned its first champion when the Steel City Phantoms defeated the San Jose Pirates three games to one to capture the first Champions Cup. In the summer of 2009, the AIHL then had its first series of expansion and contraction. The Beantown Braves, High Plains Sidewinders, Mile High Mayhem, Rippon Savage, Rocky Mountain Talons and Summit Rockslide all joined as expansion franchises. The New Jersey Grizzlies and Potomac Mavericks both joined the league from the Professional Inline Hockey Association. The Oakland GoodLife and Raleigh Dragons both folded after only one season in the league.
Each American Inline Hockey League regulation game is an inline hockey game played between two teams and is 30 minutes long. The game is composed of two 15-minute periods with an intermission of one minute between periods. At the end of the 30-minute regulation time, overtime ensues. During the regular season, overtime is a five-minute, three-player on three-player sudden-death period, in which the first team to score a goal wins the game. If the game is still tied at the end of the overtime period the game shall end in a tie and each team is awarded one point in the standings. In the playoffs, sudden-death 15-minute four-on-four periods are played until one team scores.
American Inline Hockey League games are played on an oblong inline hockey rink, similar to a rectangle with rounded corners, and surrounded by a wall. It measures between 65 and 100 feet in width, and between 130 and 200 feet in length.
AIHL rules do not divide the rink into zones marked by lines. Therefore, no penalties or play interruptions exist in the rules pertaining to shots crossing multiple zones or players being "off-sides". Near the end of both ends of the rink, there is a thin red goal line spanning the width of the floor, which is used to judge goals.
While the American Inline Hockey League follows the general rules of inline hockey, it differs slightly from those used in other inline hockey leagues. Infractions of the rules can lead to either the stoppage of play or a penalty call for more serious infractions.
The American Inline Hockey League originated in 2008 with 31 teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 37 teams. The Pittsburgh Bandits are the most successful franchise with one Champions Cup championships.
The current league organization divides the teams into two conferences. The Eastern Conference has three divisions, while the Western Conference has four. All divisions have between four and six teams.
|Colonial||Maryland Knights||Waldorf, MD||Capital Clubhouse||2007||2008|
|Pittsburgh Bandits||Harmar Township, PA||Bladerunners - Harmarville||2006||2008|
|Potomac Mavericks||Chantilly, VA||The Box||2007||2008|
|Richmond Robins||Midlothian, VA||Shooters Indoor Sportsplex||2006||2008|
|Scottdale Inferno||Mt. Pleasant, PA||Hot Shots Sports Arena||2005||2008|
|Winchester Generals||Winchester, VA||Sportsplex Indoor Sports & Event Center||2007||2008|
|Gulf Coast||Georgia Syndicate||Snellville, GA||SGAA Duel Deck Arena||2008|
|Mid-Atlantic||Garden State Savage Wolves||Edison, NJ||Inman Sports Club||2008|
|New Jersey Grizzlies||Wallington, NJ||I.S.C.A.||2006||2009|
|New Jersey Nightmare||Voorhees, NJ||Flyers Skate Zone||2007||2008|
|New Jersey Surge||Morristown, NJ||Morristown Roller Hockey Rink||2004||2008|
|Philadelphia Brawlers||Sewell, NJ||Choice InLine Roller Hockey Center||2003||2008|
|Southampton Cyclones||Feasterville, PA||Sportsplex ||2006||2008|
|New England||Beantown Braves||Holbrook, MA||Holbrook Sports Center||2006||2008|
|Boston Swamp Rats||Holbrook, MA||Holbrook Sports Center||2006||2008|
|Hartford Fire Ants||Glastonbury, CT||Z-Rink||2006||2008|
|Long Island 495ers||Old Bethpage, NY||Skate Safe America||2007||2008|
|Massachusetts Mulissha||Rhode Island||2008|
|Suffolk Sharks||Mt. Sinai, NY||Inline 1||2008|
|Pacific North||East Bay Jawz||Alameda, CA||Bladium||2007||2008|
|Northern California Mustangs||San Jose, CA||Silver Creek Sportsplex||2007||2008|
|Northern California Riot||San Jose, CA||Silver Creek Sportsplex||2008|
|San Jose Pirates||San Jose, CA||Silver Creek Sportsplex||2007||2008|
|Pacific South||Huntington Beach Blades||Huntington Beach, CA||Coast 2 Coast Hockey||2008|
|Irvine Anarchy||Irvine, CA||949 Roller Hockey Center||2008|
|Junior Ducks||Corona, CA||Anaheim Hockey Club||2008|
|Pama Cyclones||West Covina, CA||Planet Hockey||2008|
|San Diego Voodoo||National City, CA||Skate San Diego||2008|
|Rocky Mountain||High Plains Sidewinders||Parker, CO||Parker Fieldhouse||2009|
|Mile High Mayhem||Parker, CO||Parker Fieldhouse||2009|
|Rocky Mountain Talons||Parker, CO||Parker Fieldhouse||2009|
|Summit Rockslide||Parker, CO||Parker Fieldhouse||2009|
|Southwest||El Paso Black Diamonds||El Paso, TX||Nations-Tobin||2008||2008|
|Las Vegas Aces||Las Vegas, NV||Crystal Palace Skating Center||2008|
|Phoenix Dragons||Phoenix, AZ||Castle Sports Club||2008||2008|
|Tucson Desperados||Tucson, AZ||Bladeworld||2008||2008|
The American Inline Hockey League season is divided into an exhibition season (October), a regular season (from the first week in November through early to mid April) and a postseason (the Champions Cup playoffs). During the regular season, clubs play each other in a predefined schedule. The Champions Cup playoffs, which goes from April to the beginning of July, is an elimination tournament where two team play each other to win a playoff series in order to advance to the next round. The final remaining team is crowned the Champions Cup champion.
During the regular season, each Eastern Conference team plays 32 games; 10 games at home, 10 games on the road and 12 games at one of two Jamborees. Each team plays 20 games in its division (4 against each divisional opponent), and 20 games against non-divisional intra-conference opponents. That is, 1 game against each team in its conference, but not in its own division.
Points are awarded for each game, where two points are awarded for a win, one point for losing in overtime or a tie, and zero points for a loss in regulation.
At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points in each division is crowned the division champion. In divisions with 5 or 6 teams, the division winner along with the three other teams in the division with the next highest number of points, for a total of 4 teams in the division, qualify for the playoffs. In divisions with 4 teams, the division winner along with the two other teams in the division with next highest number of points, for a total of 3 teams in the division, qualify for the playoffs. Champions Cup playoffs is an elimination tournament, where two teams battle to win a best-of-three series in order to advance to the next round. The first round of the playoffs, or division semifinals, consists of the first seed playing the fourth seed and the second playing the third in divisions with 4 qualifying teams, or the second playing the third and the first seed receiving a first round bye. In the second round, or division finals, the remaining teams in each division play each other, with the division champions proceeding to the conference finals. In the first two rounds the higher-ranked team is said to be the team with the home-floor advantage. All three games are played at this team's home venue.
In the conference finals, the three division champions in each conference play each other once in a round robin, with the team with the best record in these games receiving a bye to the conference finals, while the second and third seed play in the conference semifinals. The winner of the second and third seeds advance to face the first seed in the conference finals with the winner advancing to the Champions Cup finals. The conference semifinals and finals are both best-of-three series at a neutral site.
The Champions Cup finals is a best-of-five series between the two conference champions at a neutral site.
The top five point scoring forwards in the 2008–09 season were Brian Ingram (90), Kelly Spain (83), Jim Redstreake (82), Dustin Roux (77) and Brian Fischer (76). The top goal scorer Jim Redstreake (59), Brian Fischer (52) and Jordan Snead (51). The top four scoring defencemen (by points) were Danny Marmorstein (100), Jonathan Mosenson (80), Casey Kennedy (73) and Michael Downey (63). The top goaltenders (by wins) were Tony Hartman (20), Kevin Colombo (20), Sal Capito (20), Matt Beam (19) and Kevin Silva (19).