The Rockford IceHogs are a professional ice hockey team in Rockford, Illinois USA. They were a member of the United Hockey League from 1999 to 2007. Rockford played home games at the MetroCentre. In 2007, the name and logo were purchased and applied to an American Hockey League team.
The IceHogs began play in October 1999. The team name, IceHogs, was selected during a "name the team" contest. The IceHogs were owned by Tri Vision Sports, LLC prior to acquisition by the Rockford MetroCentre. The team came into existence when Tri Vision Sports bought out the rights of the Thunder Bay Thunder Cats franchise. The team originally joined the Colonial Hockey League in 1991 as the Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks.
During the 2006–07 season, the IceHogs played in the UHL's Western Division with the Quad City Mallards, Chicago Hounds, Bloomington Prairie Thunder, and Fort Wayne Komets. The IceHogs were coached by one of the winningest coaches in professional hockey, Steve Martinson. Martinson helped lead the IceHogs to their best season in franchise history in 2005–06, his first behind the bench for the IceHogs. The IceHogs have also been named the 2004–05 and 2005–06 UHL Member Franchise of the Year for the club's success on and off the ice. The Icehogs won their first division championship in the 2005–06 season. The Ice Hogs won their first (and last) Colonial Cup in a hard fought game 7 at home on Thursday, May 24th, 2007, by a score of 3 to 1 against the Kalamazoo Wings.
The IceHogs and Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League signed an affiliation agreement on December 13, 2005. The IceHogs supplied players to Nashville's primary affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. Every year the team holds a "Jersey Night" during which the team wears a special, one-off alternate jersey and auctions them off for charity. In the past, the alternate jerseys have related to cultural icons such as Elvis Presley and St. Patrick's Day, or were autographed by Rockford-area celebrities such as Rick Nielsen.
The UHL IceHogs' UHL version were replaced by an AHL version for the 2007–08 season. The MetroCentre purchased the IceHogs name and logo from the prior ownership group and applied them to the new AHL franchise. The team has also signed a 10-year player development contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.
United Hockey League season-by-season results
United Hockey League (1999–2007)
|1999–00||74||32||34||8||72||238||268||1712||Lost in 1st Round|
|2000–01||74||30||38||6||66||207||256||1596||Did not qualify|
|2001–02||74||27||41||6||60||234||278||1631||Did not qualify|
|2002–03||76||35||34||7||77||233||271||1698||Lost in 1st Round|
|2003–04||76||28||43||5||61||215||294||1821||Did not qualify|
|2004–05||80||46||25||9||101||246||203||2243||Lost in 2nd round|
|2005–06||76||49||19||9||105||292||213||2592||Lost in 2nd round|
|2006–07||76||48||21||7||103||266||193||2132||Won the Colonial Cup 4 games to 3, beating the Kalamazoo Wings|
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