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Southern Professional Hockey League

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Southern Professional Hockey League
SPHL logo
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 2004
No. of teams 9
Country(ies) Flag of the United States United States
Most recent champion(s) Mississippi Surge
Most championship(s) Knoxville Ice Bears (3)
Official website

The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) is a low-level professional ice hockey league based in Charlotte, North Carolina, with teams located in the southeastern United States.

History Edit

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, Mississippi,[1] Lafayette, Louisiana and Pensacola, Florida,[2] 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. For the 2011–12 season, the league added 2-time Central Hockey League champions, the Mississippi RiverKings.[3][4]



Team City/Area Arena Joined Head Coach
Augusta RiverHawks Augusta, Georgia James Brown Arena 2010 Flag of Canada.svg Brad Ralph
Columbus Cottonmouths Columbus, Georgia Columbus Civic Center 2004 Flag of Canada.svg Jerome Bechard
Fayetteville FireAntz Fayetteville, North Carolina Cumberland County Crown Coliseum 2004 Flag of Canada.svg Todd Bidner
Huntsville Havoc Huntsville, Alabama Von Braun Center 2004 Flag of Canada.svg Randy Murphy
Knoxville Ice Bears Knoxville, Tennessee James White Civic Coliseum 2004 Flag of Canada.svg Mike Craigen
Louisiana IceGators Lafayette, Louisiana Cajundome 2009 Flag of Canada.svg Kevin Kaminski
Mississippi RiverKings Southaven, Mississippi (Memphis area) DeSoto Civic Center 2011 Flag of Canada.svg Derek Landmesser
Mississippi Surge Biloxi, Mississippi Mississippi Coast Coliseum 2009 Flag of Canada.svg Jeff Bes
Pensacola Ice Flyers Pensacola, Florida Pensacola Civic Center 2009 Flag of Canada.svg Todd Gordon


Mississippi RiverKingsAugusta RiverhawksPensacola Ice FlyersMississippi SurgeLouisiana IceGatorsRichmond RenegadesTwin City CyclonesPee Dee CyclonesFlorida SealsWinston-Salem Polar TwinsMacon TraxKnoxville Ice BearsJacksonville BarracudasHuntsville HavocFayetteville FireAntzColumbus CottonmouthsAsheville Aces

Defunct franchisesEdit

Key rule differences Edit

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.[9]



President's CupEdit

2004–05 Columbus Cottonmouths
2005–06 Knoxville Ice Bears
2006–07 Fayetteville FireAntz
2007–08 Knoxville Ice Bears
2008–09 Knoxville Ice Bears
2009–10 Huntsville Havoc
2010–11 Mississippi Surge

Regular seasonEdit

William B. Coffey TrophyEdit

Originally known as the Commissioner's Cup, the regular season trophy was renamed in honor of league co-founder William B. Coffey during the 2007–08 season.[10]

2004–05 Knoxville Ice Bears
2005–06 Knoxville Ice Bears
2006–07 Columbus Cottonmouths
2007–08 Knoxville Ice Bears
2008–09 Knoxville Ice Bears
2009–10 Mississippi Surge
2010–11 Mississippi Surge


  1. Giardina, A.J. (April 9, 2009). Local investors may bring another hockey team to the coast. WLOX-TV. Retrieved on April 10, 2009.
  2. Blakeney, Jason (April 30, 2009). Hockey's Back!. Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved on April 30, 2009.
  3. "Mississippi RiverKings Join SPHL For 2011-2012 Season", Press release, Southern Professional Hockey League, June 13, 2011. Retrieved on June 13, 2011. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. 
  4. Van Tuyl, Chris. "Mississippi RiverKings announce change to Southern Professional Hockey League", 13 June 2011. Retrieved on 13 June 2011. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. 
  5. Florida Seals cease operations. Press release (January 5, 2007). Retrieved on 16 March 2010.
  6. Gates, Nick (June 21, 2009). Murray liking SPHL expansion. Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved on 16 March 2010.
  7. Renegades Officially Done. Press release (April 30, 2009). Retrieved on 16 March 2010.
  8. Cyclones To Cease Operations. Press release (March 24, 2009). Retrieved on 16 March 2010.
  10. History of the SPHL. Retrieved on 16 March 2010.

External linksEdit

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