|Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA)|
|2010–11 PIHA season|
|Founded||[[2001, Middletown, United States]]|
|No. of teams||16|
|Country(ies)||United States (16 teams)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Colorado Springs Thunder (2nd title)|
|Most championship(s)||Pennsylvania Typhoon (3 titles)|
|Related competitions||PIHA Minor League|
The Professional Inline Hockey Association, often abbreviated to the PIHA, is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates an elite inline hockey league of 16 franchised member clubs, all of which are located in the United States. Headquartered in Middletown, Pennsylvania, the PIHA is one of the premier inline hockey leagues in the world. The Founders Cup is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.
The league was organized in 2002 in Middletown, Pennsylvania, United States. It started with eight teams and, through a series of expansions, contractions, and relocations, the league is now composed of 16 active franchises. After the creation of the American Inline Hockey League in 2008, the league survived with 16 returning franchises including the original two, the Harrisburg Lunatics and the Pennsylvania Typhoon (formerly the York Typhoon), and two expansion franchises.
The PIHA draws many highly skilled players from all over the United States. Although players are usually located in close proximity to their franchise locations, players have come long distances to compete in the league.
|Colorado Springs Thunder||2|
| * Three championships won while known as the York Typhoon.|
Template:Main In 2001, after the creation of a series of struggling inline hockey leagues --Roller Hockey International, Pro Beach Hockey, and Major League Roller Hockey-- a longtime inline hockey rink owner, Charles Yoder, and his sons CJ and Jami, had an idea of a professional league for about three years. After RHI started for its second time; and its chances didn't look good, Charles Yoder thought 'There's gotta be a way for it to work'. His sons, CJ and Jami, played in RHI, PBH and MLRH, and every league they played in had a list of things they did wrong so Charley and his sons put it down on paper. This led to the creation of the Professional Inline Hockey Association in 2002; the founding teams were the Cherry Hill Renegades, Delaware Blades (which became the Marple Grenades in 2003), Harrisburg Lunatics, Line Lexington Law Dawz, Mount Laurel Generals, Pottstown Machine, Reading Nasty Boyz, and York Typhoon.
The first season of PIHA was a successful one. The York Typhoon won the first Founders Cup defeating the Delaware Blades. After the 2002 season, PIHA went through its first series of expansions and contractions. The Pottstown Machine, Line Lexington Law Dawgz, Mount Laurel Generals, and Cherry Hill Renegades all contracted after their first season, while the Philadelphia Growl, Philadelphia Beast and West Chester Shockwave (who became the Dowingtown Rage) were the three expansion franchises bringing the league total to seven. The league's second series of expansion and reductions led to the Marple Gladiators and Philadelphia Beast contracting and expanding with the Bridgewater Extremes, Morristown Minutemen (later the New Jersey Minutemen and now the New Jersey Stampede), and the South Jersey Scrappers, along with the first two franchises located outside of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware tri-state area; the Buffalo Wings and theFrederick Vipers, both of which folded after competing in only seven games during the 2004 season bringing the league total back to eight by seasons end. For the 2005 season, the league reached its lowest number of franchises at six. The Bridgewater Extremes, South Jersey Scrappers and Reading Nasty Boyz all contracting. The Nasty Boyz retracting left the Harrisburg Lunatics and York Typhoon as the only original two franchises. PIHA expanded with the PA West Inferno (now the Scottsdale Inferno). The Downingtown Rage contracted after the 2005 season.
The PIHA further expanded out of the tri-state area with 19 new franchises in two years. The Pittsburgh Phantoms (now the Pittsburgh Bandits), Richmond Rollin Robins, Aurora Crimson Catz (now the Fort Collins Catz), Colorado Springs Thunder, Littleton Fire, Pikes Peak Prowlers, and Westminster Blizzard entered in 2006; and a season later the Boston Roller Rats, Massachusetts Bombers, Connecticut Blaze, Hartford Fire Ants, New Jersey Grizzlies, Feasterville Fury, Marple Gladiators, Cincinnati Flying Monkeys, Midwest Tornados, River City Whalers, Southside Snipers, and St. Louis Pythons were all added bringing the total to 25 teams. Expansion continued in 2008 with the introduction of 18 more teams and the reduction of the Pottstown organization bringing the league total to 42 teams.
Template:Main Each Professional Inline Hockey Association regulation game is an inline hockey game played between two teams and is 24 minutes long. The game is composed of two 12-minute periods with an intermission of two minutes between periods. At the end of the 24-minute regulation time, the team with the most goals wins the game. If a game is tied after regulation time, overtime ensues. During the regulation season, overtime is a four-minute, three-player on three-player sudden-death period, in which the first team to score a goal wins the game. If the game is still tied after the first four-minute overtime, a second three-minute, two-player on two-player, sudden-death period ensues. Previous to the 2008–09 season, if a game was still tied at the end of the first two overtime periods, the game would enter a two-minute, one-player on one-player, sudden-death period.
Beginning in the 2008–09 season, if the game is still tied at the end of both overtime periods, the game enters a shootout. One player for each team in turn take a penalty shot. The team which scores, while the other team does not, wins the game. If the game is still tied after the first shootout round, the shootout continues in the same manner. Whichever team ultimately wins the shootout is awarded a goal in the game score and thus awarded two points in the standings. The losing team in overtime or shootout is awarded only one. Shootout goals and saves are not tracked in hockey statistics; shootout statistics are tracked separately.
Shootouts do not occur during the playoffs. In the playoffs, sudden-death 12-minute four-on-four periods are played until one team scores.
Hockey rink Edit
Template:Main Professional Inline Hockey Association games are played on a rectangular hockey rink with rounded corners surrounded by walls and plexiglass The recommended size measures 80 by 185 feet (24.38 by 30.48 m). The minimum size measures 65 by 165 feet (19.81 by 50.29 m). The center line divides the rink in half that divides the rink into halves, which divide the floor into two attacking zones. Near the end of both ends of the rink, there is a thin red goal line spanning the width of the floor, which is used to judge goals.
Template:Main While the Professional Inline Hockey Association follows the general rules of inline hockey, it differs slightly from those used in international games organized by the IIHF-InLine (IIHF-InLine) such as the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship. Infractions of the rules can lead to either the stoppage of play or a penalty call for more serious infractions.
A rule difference between the PIHA and the IIHF-InLine rules concerns illegal clearing calls. In the IIHF-InLine, a linesman stops play the moment the puck crosses the goal line for an illegal clearing violation. In the PIHA, there is no illegal clearing violation.
The PIHA and IIHF-InLine differ also in penalty rules. In the PIHA, minor penalties have a duration of two minutes, as opposed to one and one-half minutes in the IIHF-InLine. major penalties in the PIHA have a duration of five minutes, as opposed to four minutes in the IIHF-InLine.
The Professional Inline Hockey Association originated in 2002 with eight teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 16 teams, all of which are based in the United States. The Pennsylvania Typhoon are the most successful franchise with three Founders Cup championships. The next most successful active franchise is the Colorado Springs Thunder with two Founders Cup championships, and are currently two-time defending champions. The longest streak of winning the Founders Cup in consecutive years is three, held by the Pennsylvania Typhoon from 2002 to 2004; the Colorado Springs Thunder (2009–2010) and the now defunct Philadelphia Growl (2005–2006) have two-year championship streaks.
The current league organization divides the teams into two conferences. Each conference has two divisions. Each division in the Eastern Conference has three teams, while each division in the Western Conference has five teams. The current organization has roots in the 2010–11 season when a league realignment added two divisions to bring the total number of division to four.
List of teams Edit
- (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.
- (†) denotes a franchise left the league, then returned at a later date.
Season structure Edit
Template:See also The Professional Inline Hockey Association season is divided into a regular season (from the second week in October through mid to late January) and a postseason (the Founders Cup playoffs). During the regular season, clubs play each other in a predefined schedule. The Founders Cup playoffs, which goes from the end of January to the end of February, is an elimination tournament where two teams play against each other to win a series in order to advance to the next round. The final remaining team is crowned the Founders Cup champion. Beginning in the 2009–10 season, the PIHA regular season has begun in October.
In the regular season, each team plays 24 games; 12 games at home and 12 on the road. In the Eastern Conference, each team plays 12 games in its division (6 against each divisional opponent), and 12 games against non-divisional intra-conference opponents. That is, 4 games against each team in its conference, but not in its own division. In the Western Conference, each team plays 24 games in its division (6 against each divisional opponent), and no games against non-divisional intra-conference opponents. Points are awarded for each game, where two points are awarded for a win, one point for losing in overtime or a shootout, and zero points for a loss in regulation.
At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points in each division is crowned the division champion. In the Eastern Conference, each division champion along with one other team in each division with the next highest number of points, for a total of 2 teams in each division, qualify for the playoffs. The division winners are seeded one and the other team with the next best record in the division is seeded two. In the Western Conference, each division champion along with the three other teams in each division with the next highest number of points, for a total of 4 teams in each division, qualify for the playoffs. The division winners are seeded one, and the next three teams with the best records in the division are seeded two through four.
The Founders Cup playoffs is an elimination tournament, where two teams battle to win a series in order to advance to the next round. The first round of the playoffs, or division semifinals, consists of the first seed playing the fourth seed, and the second seed playing the third seed, in each of the Western Conference divisions. In the second round, or division finals, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other. In the third round, or conference finals, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Founders Cup Finals. The first two rounds are contested in best-of-three series. The conference finals round is contested in best-of-five series, and the Founders Cup Finals is contested in best-of-seven series.
In each round, except the Founders Cup Finals, the higher-ranked team is said to be the team with the home-floor advantage. All games are played at this team's home venue. In the conference finals, the team in each conference with the most points during the regular season is given home-floor advantage, regardless of where each team ranks in their own division.
Trophies and awards Edit
Template:Main The Professional Inline Hockey Association presents a number of trophies each year. The most prestigious team award is the Founders Cup, which is awarded to the league champion at the end of the Founders Cup playoffs. The team that has the most points in the regular season is awarded the Best Overall Record Trophy. The Joe Cook Award is awarded to the league scoring champion (goals and assists) based on their statistics during the regular season. For the 2009–10 season the Joe Cook Award was awarded to Brian Yingling of the Colorado Springs Thunder. In addition to the regular season awards, the Walt Frazier Award is awarded annually to the most valuable player during the PIHA's Founders Cup playoffs.
Players, coaches, officials, and team builders who have had notable careers are eligible to be voted into the Professional Inline Hockey Association Hall of Fame.
Notable active players Edit
The top five point scorers in the 2009–10 season were Brian Yingling (57), Robbie Fulton (51), John Healy (48), CJ Yoder (48), and Greg Thompson (46). The top goal scorers were Brian Yingling (31), Greg Thompson (25), John Healy (22), Robbie Fulton (20), and Jason Allen (19). The top four scoring defencemen were Robbie Fulton, Greg Thompson, Jami Yoder, and James Manganaro. The top goaltenders (by wins) were Dan Lamb (15), Kyle Mikel (12), and Pete Pennecke (11).