The All-American Hockey League was a hockey league that existed as the AAHL for three seasons, 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1988-89. The league was semi-professional, except for its second season, where it was minor pro.
The All-American Hockey League originated from the Continental Hockey League that was formed in 1972. When the league folded in 1986, three of its members, the Danville Fighting Saints, Dayton Jets and Troy Sabres, went to form a new league to replace the folded one - the AAHL was born. Two other teams joined the upstart league; they were the Jackson All-Americans and the Downriver Stars. Danville won the regular season championship for that inaugural season, with their center Troy Nelson dominating the league with 67 goals and 69 assists (136 points).
In 1987, the AAHL and the Atlantic Coast Hockey League merged. The resulting league kept the name All-American Hockey League, but, as a result of the minor-pro status of the ACHL, the expanded league went from semi-pro to minor pro. The Virginia Lancers, the Carolina Thunderbirds, the Port Huron Clippers and the Johnstown Chiefs joined the league. Meanwhile, the Downriver Stars became the Michigan Stars for 14 games before folding and the Miami Valley Sabres appeared out of a merger between Troy and Dayton. Led by John Tortorella, the Lancers won the regular season title with 37 wins in 43 contests. However, it was Pierre Hamel's Thunderbirds who won the playoffs.
In its third and last season, the league was back to five teams and to its original semi-pro status. The Virginia Lancers, Carolina Thunderbirds and Johnstown Chiefs were gone; they had left to form a new minor professional league, the East Coast Hockey League. The Port Huron Clippers were gone too; the team had folded after the last season. The Lincoln Park Patriots and Springfield Capitols joined the last three survivors. The Sabres won the regular season. Following the season, the league ceased its activities and the five teams left disappeared.
Sources and References
- www.azhockey.com for the fate of the teams involved