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The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) is a low-level professional ice hockey league based in Huntsville, Alabamamarker with teams located in the southeastern United Statesmarker, stretching from Louisianamarker to Floridamarker.

History

The SPHL's history traces back to three other short-lived leagues. The Atlantic Coast Hockey League started play in the 2002-03 season. After its only season, the ACHL dissolved with member teams forming the nucleus for two rival leagues, the South East Hockey League and the World Hockey Association 2. After one season the SEHL and WHA2 disbanded, with their surviving teams rejoining with two expansion teams to form the SPHL, commencing with the 2004-05 season.

In 2009, the SPHL saw a large expansion as three new franchises in Biloxi, MS , Lafayette, LA and Pensacola, FL, all three of which were former ECHL markets within the past five years that produced competitive teams, each of which either won the league's championship or regular season title.

Teams

Current

Team Arena Capacity City/area Joined
Columbus Cottonmouths Columbus Civic Centermarker 7,509 Columbus, GAmarker 2004
Fayetteville FireAntz Cumberland County Crown Coliseummarker 8,500 Fayetteville, NCmarker 2004
Huntsville Havoc Von Braun Centermarker 6,602 Huntsville, ALmarker 2004
Knoxville Ice Bears James White Civic Coliseummarker 7,141 Knoxville, TNmarker 2004
Louisiana IceGators Blackham Coliseummarker 5,500 Lafayette, LAmarker 2009
Mississippi Surge Mississippi Coast Coliseummarker 9,150 Biloxi, MSmarker 2009
Pensacola Ice Flyers Pensacola Civic Centermarker 8,150 Pensacola, FLmarker 2009


Timeline

Year Teams Expansion Defunct Suspended Return from Hiatus Relocated Name Changes
2004 8 Asheville Aces
Columbus Cottonmouths
Fayetteville FireAntz
Huntsville Havoc
Jacksonville Barracudas
Knoxville Ice Bears
Macon Trax
Winston-Salem Polar Twins






2005 7 Orlando Seals
Pee Dee Cyclones
Asheville Aces
Macon Trax
Winston-Salem Polar Twins

2006 8 Richmond Renegades Florida Seals (folded mid-season) Orlando Seals → Florida Seals
2007 7 Pee Dee Cyclones → Twin City Cyclones
2008 6 Jacksonville Barracudas
2009 7 Louisiana IceGators
Mississippi Surge
Pensacola Ice Flyers

Jacksonville Barracudas (on hiatus)
Richmond Renegades
Twin City Cyclones



Possible future expansion

  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Suspended teams

  • Twin City Cyclones (2007-09) Plan to move to a location to be named in the near future for the 2010/11 season.


Defunct franchises



Standings

Southern Professional Hockey League GP W L OTL GF GA PTS
Knoxville Ice Bears 60 35 16 9 216 171 79
Columbus Cottonmouths 60 31 22 7 194 196 69
Fayetteville FireAntz 60 30 25 5 212 224 65
Huntsville Havoc 60 29 24 7 204 197 65
Richmond Renegades 60 30 27 3 215 235 63
Twin City Cyclones 60 25 29 6 208 236 56


Key rule differences

As per minor leagues, there are some rule differences between the SPHL and the NHL (and even the ECHL and AHL, the two official developmental leagues regulated by the Professional Hockey Players Association).

  • A team may dress sixteen regular players to a game. Two players dressed for the game will be goaltenders.
  • There is no trapezoid restriction limiting the goaltender playing the puck and is eligible to play the puck anywhere on his side of the center redline.
  • A mouthpiece is required for all players except the goaltender.
  • No curvature of stick limitations as in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL.
  • Shootouts are five players (as in the ECHL and AHL).
  • All overtime periods in the regular season are between three skaters per team and the goaltender (3 on 3, compared to 4 on 4 in other leagues). Penalty rules differ during the overtime:
    • During the first three minutes of overtime, in case of a penalty, the non-offending team is awarded one extra skater per penalty (up to two extra, five total).
    • In the final two minutes, any minor penalty results in an automatic penalty shot. [77491]


Champions

Playoffs

President's Cup

2008-09 Knoxville Ice Bears
2007-08 Knoxville Ice Bears
2006-07 Fayetteville FireAntz
2005-06 Knoxville Ice Bears
2004-05 Columbus Cottonmouths


Regular Season

William B. Coffey Trophy

2008-09 Knoxville Ice Bears
2007-08 Knoxville Ice Bears
2006-07 Columbus Cottonmouths
2005-06 Knoxville Ice Bears
2004-05 Knoxville Ice Bears


See also



References

  1. http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=3412289
  2. Knoxville News Sentinel: Murray Linking SPHL Expansion
  3. http://www.rrenegades.com/news/news/index.html?article_id=372
  4. thesphl.com: League News


External links




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