The new Central Hockey League was created in 1992 as a centrally owned league, owned by Ray Miron and Bill Levins. The league was operated by Ray and Monte Miron and funded by Chicago businessman and minor league sports entrepreneur Horn Chen.
The Central Hockey League (CHL) was revived in 1992 by Bill Levins and Ray Miron under the idea of central ownership of both the league and the teams. Both men were from hockey backgrounds. Miron had been general manager of what is now the New Jersey Devils and had briefly been president of the previous Central Hockey League in 1976.
In the inaugural 1992–93 season the league had six teams, including the Oklahoma City Blazers, the Tulsa Oilers, the Wichita Thunder, the Memphis RiverKings, the Dallas Freeze and the Fort Worth Fire.
In 1996-97 the Huntsville Channel Cats, along with the planned 1996–97 Southern Hockey League expansion teams Columbus Cottonmouths, Macon Whoopee, and Nashville Nighthawks, joined the Central Hockey League following the SHL's demise.
After Levins died, the league's championship trophy (awarded to the winner of the CHL playoffs) was renamed the Levins Cup. After running the league for eight years, Miron retired in 2000 and sold the league. The Levins Cup was renamed the Ray Miron President's Cup.
After several experiments in expansion and a long battle for players and markets with the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL), the CHL merged with the WPHL in 2001.
The CHL commissioner is currently Duane Lewis, who succeeded Brad Treliving on an interim basis after Treliving took a position with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes following the 2006-2007 season. Treliving co-founded the WPHL in 1996, and after the 2001 merger, served with the CHL for seven years. Lewis was named the permanent commissioner in June 2008.
The CHL is divided into two Conferences. Teams compete annually for the Ray Miron President's Cup.
- Amarillo Gorillas (WPHL 1996 to 2001, CHL 2001 to 2010. Team known as Amarillo Rattlers 1996 to 2002)
- Austin Ice Bats (1996 to 2008), began play in WPHL before moving to CHL in 2001, cited lack of support at Chaparral Ice, upcoming competition with future AHL team Texas Stars as reasons for folding, team looking to relocate)
- Border City Bandits (Texarkana, TX) 2000–01 season only, suspended by league on 2/20/01
- Columbus Cottonmouths (Columbus, GA) 1996 to 2001, moved to ECHL from 2001–04 and SPHL from 2004 to date
- Corpus Christi IceRays- (1997-2010), folded, replaced by NAHL franchise of same name.
- Dallas Freeze (1992 to 1995)
- El Paso Buzzards (WPHL 1996 to 2001, CHL 2001 to 2003)
- Fayetteville Force (1997 to 2001)
- Fort Worth Fire (1992 to 1999)
- Huntsville Channel Cats (began in Southern Hockey League 1995–96, moved to CHL from 1996 to 1999, changed name to Huntsville Tornado in 1999–2000)
- Indianapolis Ice (began play in IHL from 1988 to 1999, moved to CHL from 1999 to 2004. Franchise was sold and moved to Topeka, KS where they played as the Topeka Tarantulas for 2004–05)
- Lubbock Cotton Kings (1999 to 2007), arena problems forced team to go dark
- Macon Whoopee (1996 to 2001), moved to ECHL for 2001–02.
- Nashville Nighthawks (1996–97, changed name to Nashville Ice Flyers for 1997–98. The Ice Flyers made looked into the possibility of relocating to Albany, Georgia after the 1997–98 season following the announcement that the Nashville Predators were joining the NHL for the 1998–99 season. For whatever reason that relocation never occurred)
- New Mexico Scorpions (Rio Rancho, NM) - owners hoping to sell/move franchise.
- Oklahoma City Blazers (1992 to 2009), folded on July 2, 2009.
- Rocky Mountain Rage (Broomfield, CO)
- San Antonio Iguanas (1994 to 1997, 1998 to 2002)
- San Angelo Outlaws (WPHL 1997–2001, CHL 2001–02), changed name to San Angelo Saints from 2002–2005
- Topeka ScareCrows (1998 to 2001)
- Youngstown SteelHounds (2005 to 2008), CHL suddenly announced they would no longer be playing in that league, team looking to join IHL or ECHL.
|Year||Teams||Expansion||Defunct||Suspended||Return from Hiatus||Relocated||Name Changes|
Fort Worth Fire
Oklahoma City Blazers
|1994||7||San Antonio Iguanas|
Huntsville Channel Cats
|1997||10||Fayetteville Force||San Antonio Iguanas (went to IHL)||Nashville Ice Flyers (Nighthawks)|
|1998||11||San Antonio Iguanas|
|Nashville Ice Flyers|
|1999||11||Indianapolis Ice||Fort Worth Fire|
|2000||12||Border City Bandits||Border City Bandits (went defunct mid-season)||Huntsville Tornado (Channel Cats)|
|2001||16||Amarillo Rattlers (WPHL)|
Austin Ice Bats (WPHL)
Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (WPHL)
Corpus Christi Icerays (WPHL)
El Paso Buzzards (WPHL)
Fort Worth Brahmas (WPHL)
Lubbock Cotton Kings (WPHL)
New Mexico Scorpions (WPHL)
Odessa Jackalopes (WPHL)
San Angelo Outlaws (WPHL)
|Columbus Cottonmouths (went to ECHL)|
Macon Whoopie (went to ECHL)
|2002||16||Laredo Bucks||San Antonio Iguanas||Amarillo Gorillas (Rattlers)|
San Angelo Saints (Outlaws)
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
|EL Paso Buzzards|
|2004||17||Indianapolis Ice → Topeka Tarantulas|
|2005||15||Youngstown SteelHounds||San Angelo Saints|
|New Mexico Scorpions|
Rocky Mountain Rage
|Texas Brahmas||New Mexico Scorpions||Texas Brahmas (Fort Worth)|
|2007||17||Lubbock Cotton Kings||Texas Brahmas||Mississippi RiverKings (Memphis)|
|2008||16||Rapid City Rush||Austin Ice Bats|
|New Mexico Scorpions|
Oklahoma City Blazers
Rocky Mountain Rage
|2010||18|| Bloomington PrairieThunder (IHL)|
Dayton Gems (IHL)
Fort Wayne Komets (IHL)
Quad City Mallards (IHL)
Corpus Christi IceRays
- 1993 - Tulsa Oilers
- 1994 - Wichita Thunder
- 1995 - Wichita Thunder
- 1996 - Oklahoma City Blazers
- 1997 - Fort Worth Fire
- 1998 - Columbus Cottonmouths
- 1999 - Huntsville Channel Cats
- 2000 - Indianapolis Ice
- 2001 - Oklahoma City Blazers
- 2002 - Memphis RiverKings
- 2003 - Memphis RiverKings
- 2004 - Laredo Bucks
- 2005 - Colorado Eagles
- 2006 - Laredo Bucks
- 2007 - Colorado Eagles
- 2008 - Arizona Sundogs
- 2009 - Texas Brahmas
- 2010 - Rapid City Rush
- ↑ "Treliving new Coyotes assistant GM". Azcentral.com. 2007-07-19. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/sports/articles/0719coyotes0719.html. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- ↑ "News". centralhockeyleague.com. 2008-06-17. http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/pressroom/news/index.html?article_id=2459. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- ↑ "CHL and IHL Make Major Announcement". http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/pressroom/news/index.html?article_id=4670. Retrieved June 28, 2010.