| American Inline Hockey League|
|2010–11 AIHL season|
|Founded||[[2008, Orlando, United States]]|
|No. of teams||38|
|Most recent champion(s)|| Huntington Beach Elite|
|Most championship(s)|| Huntington Beach Elite|
|TV partner(s)|| Internet:|
The American Inline Hockey League, often abbreviated to the AIHL, is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates an elite inline hockey league of 38 franchised member clubs, all of which are located in the United States. Headquartered in Orlando, the AIHL is considered a premier inline hockey league in the United States. The Champions Cup is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.
The league was organized in 2008 in Orlando, Florida, United States with 21 organizations from a predecessor organization, the Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA), founded in 2002. It started with 31 teams, and through a series of expansions, contractions and relocations, the league is now composed of 38 active franchises.
|Huntington Beach Elite||1|
| * – One championship while known as the Steel City Phantoms.|
Template:Main A series of disputes in the Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA) between disgruntled team owners and league management led to a meeting about the future of the sport. Realizing the owners limited voice in the PIHA, nineteen teams, representing 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 the 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 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 the Pittsburgh Bandits in 2009), Tucson Desparados (later renamed to the Tucson Slayers in 2008) and Virginia Generals (formerly known as the Winchester Generals, later renamed back to the Winchester Generals in 2009), voted to defect from the league, and on June 16, 2008, formed the American Inline Hockey League. The Philadelphia Growl organization would fold a few weeks later to be replaced by the expansion Philadelphia Brawlers. 12 organizations would join the league as expansion franchises to bring the total to 31 teams. The Garden State Savage Wolves, Georgia Syndicate, Massachusetts Mulissha, Northern California Riot, Oakland GoodLife and Suffolk Sharks all joined from existing PIHA locations, and six teams joining from new areas; the Corona Jr. Ducks, Huntington Beach Elite, Irvine Anarchy and Pama Cyclones from Southern California, and the Las Vegas Aces from Nevada. With the first games being played four months later on October 25, the AIHL's inaugural season was generally considered a successful one.
The Steel City Phantoms won the first Champions Cup, defeating the San Jose Pirates three games to one in the final. Later that summer, the AIHL had its first series of expansion and contraction. The Beantown Braves, Cajun Voo Doo, Houston Sabre Cats, Mile High Mayhem, Ripon Savage, Rocky Mountain Talons and Texas Terror all joined as expansion franchises. The New Jersey Grizzlies and Potomac Mavericks both joined the league from the Professional Inline Hockey Association, although New Jersey would compete in both the AIHL as well as the PIHA. The Oakland GoodLife and Raleigh Dragons both folded after only one season in the league.
In another big step for the league, the final three rounds of the 2010 Champions Cup playoffs were played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Milk House. Also, the 2010 Champions Cup Final was shown live on ESPN3 on May 30, which saw the Huntington Beach Elite defeat the Long Island 495ers 5–2 to capture their first Champions Cup.
Template:Main 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. A new rule was introduced for the 2010 Champions Cup Final that the championship game would lengthen the game to 40 minutes long, composed of two 20-minute periods. At the end of the 30-minute regulation time, the team with the most goals win the game. The winning team is awarded two points in the standings. The losing team is awarded zero. If a game is tied after regulation the game ends in a tie, and both teams receive one point in the standings.
Hockey rink Edit
Template:Main 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.
Template:Main 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 28 teams. The Huntington Beach Elite and Pittsburgh Bandits are the most successful franchises with one Champions Cup championship each.
The current league organization divides the teams into two conferences. The Eastern Conference has four divisions and the Western Conference has three divisions, and each division has anywhere between four and six teams. The current organization has roots in the 2009–10 season when the league added one division to bring the total number of divisions to seven.
The Cajun Voo Doo, Houston Sabre Cats and Texas Terror are the only teams in the Eastern Conference that are located in the central time zone. These teams are in a division with the Georgia Syndicate resulting in significantly increased travel for all four teams.
List of teamsEdit
Season structure Edit
Template:See also 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.
Notable active players Edit
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).