4 IceHL Teams Will Be Rebranded This Summer

In the past week, almost 6,000 votes were cast on the way to deciding which teams would be considered for relocation and rebranding. It's time to announce who's moving on.

As commissioner, I set a maximum of four teams to be rebranded (to keep my workload reasonable this summer) — and a minimum of two teams to make sure there was a reason to have the IceHL Rebranding Project in the first place. Turns out, we did not need to set a minimum.

With eight teams up for a vote, a whopping 7 of 8 received enough votes to advance (60% or more). Only one team — the Geneva Mountaineers — missed the magic number. But they still picked up a majority with 57% of people voting to have them rebranded. Surprising stuff.

So, who will be relocated and/or rebranded?

Tampa Bay Barracudas


As a Tampa native and former Barracudas GM, this one hurt the most. More than 80% of you decided this team needs a change. But with the San Jose Barracuda arriving in the AHL last year — and wearing similar colors — I can understand the thought process. (I'm not entirely sure why any real world league should dictate how we run our fantasy league, but I won't argue.)

The nice thing is that most of you decided the team should stay in Tampa, so the franchise will be rebranded, but not relocated. So start thinking about new names. We'll be taking suggestions during the week of July 10.

While the team isn't being relocated, the team won't necessarily have to be named for Tampa Bay. We could simply go with Tampa — or Florida, St. Petersburg, Sun Coast, etc. I'll even entertain Orlando, being only a short drive from the coast. More to come.

Philadelphia Aces


Aces GM Chad Waters recently started the hashtag campaign #NOPHEXIT — a humorous take on the very unhumorous events going on in Europe right now. It looks like it worked because while 76% of you wanted this team rebranded, the majority wanted the IceHL to stay in Philadelphia!

This will be a tricky one from a name standpoint though, because as I stated earlier, the team has already had two names in its history and cannot have a third. (It's complicated.) Aces and Renegades are the only options. And they can't leave Philly — though they could be renamed for Pennsylvania.

Of course maybe you like the name Philadelphia Aces but just want a new logo. That's no problem. After all, we do have three aviation-related logos in the league right now. The nice thing about the Aces name is its flexibility. The logo could be just about anything.

Texas Outlaws


The next team to be rebranded is the another one that's been through this process before. The Dallas Outlaws became the Texas Outlaws in 2013. But you guys still aren't happy, with 77% deciding the team should have a new look.

Unlike the other teams, the decision whether to relocate or simply rebrand was pretty close. The poll ended with "rebranding" getting an edge in votes. However, "relocation" had the lead for most of the week as I watched the votes come in.

So we're going to come to a final decision by including the Outlaws in the relocation city selection process. Dallas will be on the ballot for fans who want to see the team stay where it is. There will also be an option to move them to another Texas city like San Antonio or Austin.

Northwest Narwhals


We wrap up on a heartbreaking note. I'm sad to say Yellowknife is losing its team and we're losing the great and fearsome Narwhals name and logo. Hard to believe but 73% voted to rebrand the team — and more than half of them wanted relocation.

It's true Yellowknife was our smallest market, but the nice thing about a fantasy league is not having to rely on ticket sales to determine success. Still, enough of you felt that it was time to depart Canada's Northwest Territories. So we shall.

On the other hand, it means we will get to welcome at least one new city into the IceHL this summer and that's always fun! So read on for details about the city selection process.

What's Next?

I know there will be questions about it, so I'll start with Chicago. Because voters elected not to move any IceHL East teams, Chicago will not have a team this fall to replace the Hitmen, who were recently contracted from the league. We've done the whole geographic imbalance thing with Philadelphia in the West and I'm not inclined to go there again. It was a big headache.

We'll have more options next summer to return to former IceHL cities.

Here are relocation options that will be available for the Narwhals and Outlaws this week.


  • Dallas · Fort Worth
  • San Antonio · Austin
  • San Francisco · Sacramento
  • Las Vegas · Phoenix · Albuquerque
  • Kansas City · Memphis · Little Rock
  • Oklahoma City · Omaha · Wichita
  • Mexico City · Guadalajara · Monterrey
  • Shanghai · Beijing · Hong Kong


  • Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
  • Rapid City · Sioux Falls · Fargo
  • San Francisco · Sacramento
  • Las Vegas · Phoenix · Albuquerque
  • Kansas City · Memphis · Little Rock
  • Oklahoma City · Omaha · Wichita
  • Mexico City · Guadalajara · Monterrey
  • Shanghai · Beijing · Hong Kong

Only the first two options are different between the two teams. The Outlaws could stay in Dallas or move within Texas. The Narwhals could move to a different small market in the north. I'm also offering up a couple of international opportunities for both teams.

This time around voters will choose regions or groups of cities to give us extra options when suggesting team names. For example, if "Las Vegas · Phoenix · Albuquerque" were to win the vote, we would accept name suggestions for any of those cities. And since Phoenix is in the mix, we could also name a team for Scottsdale or Mesa, potentially. (Not that we should.)

For this round of voting, we'll begin with two polls — one for each team. Voters will get to choose up to two options in each poll. Mid-week, we'll introduce two new polls with the top two choices. From there, it's one or the other. By next weekend we'll have our new cities selected and will begin accepting name suggestions for all four teams the week of July 10.

And now you're all caught up. Check back on Sunday when the relocation polls open!