The Interstate Hockey League (IHL) is creating a model, which is believed to be right for the time, economy and environment of minor professional hockey. The Interstate Hockey League Business Model was created after much research, studying and investigations of leagues and teams that have both succeeded and failed in the past. The studies looked deeply at the causations of both failures and successes, not only of hockey leagues and teams, but that of minor pro baseball teams and leagues. Investigations looked at failures of leagues such as the Federal Hockey League, International Hockey League, United Hockey League, and failures of teams in those leagues as well as the successes through adversity such as the American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and teams like the Hershey Bears and Fort Wayne Komets.
The Single-A Professional model is rarely sustainable, both the Federal League and the Southern Pro League have continuously cycled out teams in the 10-15 years of their existence, leagues try to expand to far, pushing travel cost to insanely high levels. Meeting a set salary for staff and players is extremely hard to do and even harder to do profitably and teams rarely have the financing possible to majorly assist youth programs or arena overhauls. The Interstate Hockey League will never expand beyond the Great Lakes Area, cutting travel cost and time, we pay players entirely through door sales, keeping our operating cost low and enabling us to renovate building to our means and majorly assist youth programs.
Another issue plaguing all levels of professional sports is the playing of too many games, the National Football League has the perfect level of games at 16 through a 17 week season, allowing fans to follow multiple teams and games simultaneously and working their personal schedules around football games, the IHL will look to duplicate this, by playing 32 games over a 20 week season, with all of our games being on peak times (Friday-Sunday) and working around High School and College football games, by not starting our season till November.
One of the main purposes of the Interstate Hockey League is to develop a league that will give opportunities for individuals to develop their skills and move to a higher level of sport organizations. This includes not only players, but coaches, trainers, front office staff and on ice officials. It is the goal of the Interstate Hockey League to become a stable league, with teams valued and cherished in their respective communities. One of the key research points revealed was that when most teams fail, it is because they stop developing their people and become stagnant parts of the communities, whereas teams that have had long term success have helped their employees grow, taken care of their respective communities, and have consequently thrived from it.
The Interstate Hockey League Business and Marketing Model also studied the economic environments in the various cities as it has evolved in the last several years and due to business cycles, have concluded that the culture of the games and its participants must change to be successful. In all the sports leagues studied, it was learned that certain leagues position themselves and their teams to be viable within specific socioeconomic conditions.
The past failures in minor league hockey were due to several reasons. Insolvencies across the board were shown by teams that didn’t involve themselves in the communities, leagues allowing in owners in without proper finances or a solid business strategy, league and team budgets beyond their income, teams operating without any league guidance and having their own agendas. Moreover, teams did not focus on marketing in their immediate areas and did not have or properly execute their operations plans. Teams also often overlooked resources near to them.
One of the most notable trends of the failures of minor league sports in general is large, untenable leases, in large stadiums that no matter how many fans show up, they seem empty. The El Paso Rhinos of the Western States Hockey League are a prime example of how to manage this, formerly playing in a 6,000-seat massive arena, they have downgraded to a small 2,000 seat arena that they have poured in money into the theatrics and a great on ice product that they fill consistently. The Interstate Hockey League will start and small and grow into a larger capacity building through our development plan, never outgrowing our capacity and always consistently filling what we can.
The successes of leagues and teams are attributed to those that connect and identify with their communities and fan bases and stayed true to a budget. They were prepared for potential economic downturns and took extra steps to provide a desirable experience for sponsors, players, officials and fans. The product and event put on the ice is one that draws both new and returning fans in each night.
The Interstate Hockey League also understands that not every player or staff member wants to advance to higher levels and simply wishes to continue playing hockey for there community, these weekend warriors are absolutely necessary for our league. We look at Rucker Park in New York as the prime example of what these weekend warriors can do for an area, these basketball players are legends in these small street basketball leagues and some have even progressed to the NBA, but the vast majority just want to continue playing for something, the IHL will provide it.
The Interstate Hockey League will be a self-contained, Senior/Semi-Pro free agent hockey league focused on the development of communities, arenas, players, coaches and operations staff forward to the next chapter in their careers.
In summary the Interstate Hockey League is revolutionary in its business model, taking care of our staff, through high pay and manageable hours, taking care of players by offering comparable pay, weekend only games, workable practice schedule and having everything provided for a player. Our community service is unmatched, by pouring $2 million in renovations and donating portions of sales towards the youth program or outright donating to them and of course pushing a heavy marketing scheme and providing a low cost and cheap game atmosphere for fans. The Interstate Hockey League will change the way pro hockey is thought of forever.