Icethetics Season Preview, Part 2

The new hockey season is mere weeks away now and the 2009 Icethetics Season Preview continues today with a look at who's come and gone around the minor leagues.

Part 2: New & Dead Teams (Minors)

Teams come and go in the minors. It's a fact of life and it's no different this year. Here's what you need to get your season started.


We begin with the American Hockey League, which has seen four teams undergo status changes for 2009.

Adirondack Phantoms (relocated)
Philadelphia Phantoms 

With the sale of the franchise and the demolition of their arena in Philadelphia, the Phantoms have been relocated to Glens Falls, New York for the 2009-10 season and renamed the Adirondack Phantoms.

The logo has gone largely unchanged however a version does exist which contains the word "Adirondack" above the phantom figure and the "Phantoms" wordmark below. In general, the team's colors have not changed but the uniforms have been redesigned without the purple.

Abbotsford Heat (relocated)
Quad City Flames 

The Quad City Flames have been relocated to British Columbia after just two seasons in Moline, Illinois. The Calgary Flames-affiliated club has also been renamed the Abbotsford Heat.

The new logo was unveiled over the summer. It's largely a wordmark which incorporates a flying puck with a trailing red streak. It's one of the less-inspired newer logos in the AHL.

The Heat are the fifth incarnation of this franchise, which began life as the Utica Devils in 1987. In 1993, the franchise was bought by the Calgary Flames and relocated to Saint John, New Brunswick and renamed after their new NHL affiliate.

After 10 successful seasons in Saint John, the Flames went dormant for two years before being re-established as the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in Nebraska. The team played just two seasons before being moved again, this time to the Quad Cities where the Flames moniker was brought back.

Texas Stars (expansion)

The AHL expands this season to Cedar Park, Texas with the addition of the Texas Stars. The franchise was granted a limited membership for the 2009-10 season so the possibility exists the team may not be around next year.

The logo is modeled after that of the team's NHL affiliate, the Dallas Stars. The team will even wear similar jerseys. The major difference between the logos is the typeface of the text and the addition of a second shade of green.

The Texas Stars will play at the Cedar Park Center which has just completed construction and opens with its first event this weekend.

Iowa Chops (suspended)

After just a single season of AHL play, the Iowa Chops will not be returning for 2009-10. The franchise has been involuntarily suspended by the league.

Though no more details have been released by the team or league, reports say mismanaged money led to the suspension. Because the league membership has not be revoked, the team could return to action in the future.

Last season the Chops were affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks but that agreement was terminated in May. Prior to 2008-09, the Chops were the Iowa Stars (affiliate of the Dallas Stars).


The ECHL will endure the most changes of any league this season. While two new teams will be added, six have been lost, due primarily to economic hardships.

Toledo Walleye (re-established)

The Toledo Walleye return to ECHL action in a brand new building for 2009-10. Formerly the Toledo Storm, the franchise was granted a voluntary two-year suspension when the team was sold in 2007. The new owners wanted to wait until the new Lucas County Arena had finished construction.

The Storm were established in Toledo, Ohio in 1991. Long said to have the worst-designed logo in all of professional sports, the new Walleye name brought a logo that was no less ridiculous. The highly cartoonish, yellow, toothless, hockey stick-wielding fish was introduced following the purchase of the team.

Kalamazoo Wings (league change)

The second incarnation of the Kalamazoo Wings franchise moves from the IHL to the ECHL for the 2009-10 season. 

Established in 1974, the original Kalamazoo Wings were a member of the International Hockey League. The team was renamed the Michigan K-Wings in 1995 as part of an effort to expand marketing opportunities. In 2000, the team folded when the Dallas Stars terminated their affiliation agreement.

The following season, the UHL's Madison Kodiaks relocated to Kalamazoo and adopted the K-Wings name. The logo has remained largely unchanged in the last 35 years. Though it was originally gold and green to accommodate its NHL affiliate, the Minnesota North Stars, the intention was always to have the colors be red, white and blue.

Augusta Lynx (defunct)

The August Lynx became the first team in ECHL history to shut down midseason. Citing economic issues, the team voluntarily relinquished its league membership and ceased operations on December 2, 2008.

The Lynx were established in 1991 as the Raleigh IceCaps but relocated to Georgia in 1998 when the Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina. A local newspapers has reported talks to bring hockey back to Augusta in the near future.

Fresno Falcons (defunct)

Just three weeks after the Lynx, the Fresno Falcons ceased operations in the middle of the 2008-09 season as well. Also dealing with low attendance and other economic troubles, the team announced an immediate shut down on December 22, 2008.

The storied team was established in 1946 as a charter member of the Pacific Coast Hockey League and was also part of the West Coast Hockey League from 1995 to 2003 when the WCHL was absorbed by the ECHL.

Some reports say that if management issues are worked out, the team could return to play by the 2010-11 season.

Dayton Bombers (defunct)

Following the 2008-09 season, the Dayton Bombers relinquished their ECHL membership. Like the Lynx and Falcons, economic issues contributed to the decline of Bombers, who managed to complete their final season.

The Bombers officially ceased operations following the establishment of the IHL's Dayton Gems this summer, despite attempts to get enough season ticket holders to return in 2010-11.

Phoenix RoadRunners (defunct)

After just four seasons, the fourth incarnation of the Phoenix RoadRunners announced in March that the team would cease operations following the 2008-09 campaign.

Established in 2005 by a group which included ex-Phoenix Coyotes star Claude Lemieux, the team's name was taken from a franchises that was born into the Western Hockey League in 1967.

The Roadrunners later joined the World Hockey Association in 1974 and folded in 1977, just two years before the WHA collapsed. The team was re-established the following season in the Pacific Hockey League but lasted only two seasons. A decade later, the third attempt at a Phoenix Roadrunners club joined the International Hockey League. It shut down in 1997.

With Phoenix's NHL club, the Coyotes, in financial turmoil, this could possibly be the final season for professional hockey in Arizona's capital city. 

Mississippi Sea Wolves (suspended)

The Mississippi Sea Wolves will not return to the ECHL for the 2009-10 season. Established in 1996, the franchise was preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary season when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and forced the team to suspend operations for two seasons.

After just two seasons of play since Katrina, the Sea Wolves announced another suspension of operations. Should the team return to action, it will not be in Biloxi as the SPHL's Mississippi Surge are taking over the Mississippi Coast Coliseum this season.

Pee Dee Pride (defunct)

Although they haven't played a game since the 2004-05 season, the Pee Dee Pride officially relinquished their ECHL membership in June, terminating one of the league's charter franchises.

The team was established in 1988 as the Knoxville Cherokees. They later moved to Florence, South Carolina in 1997. The club was renamed the Florence Pride for just one season, 2003-04.

The South Carolina Stingrays are the only team remaining in a state which was once home to three other ECHL teams, including the Pride. The inactive Columbia Inferno hope to rejoin the league in 2010 along with an expansion franchise in Myrtle Beach. The Greenville Grrrowl shut down in 2006.

There are still more leagues to cover! Look for the new and dead teams of the IHL, CHL and SPHL to be added to this post later on tonight.