After hiccup, Interstate Hockey League aims for November start
After a failed attempt to debut this past season, the Interstate Hockey League is now scheduled to begin play in November.
It is expected to feature 12 teams, all in Michigan – the Battle Creek Cavalry, Alpena North Stars, Traverse City Gulls, Macomb Stags, Lansing Capitals, Lapeer Nepessings, Bay City Muskie, Holland Beacons, Muskegon Mohawks, Flint Wolfpack, Port Huron Grizzlies and Great Lakes (Fraser) Knights .
The schedule will likely be less than 40 games, which will be played on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays.
According to IHL President Drake MacKenzie, players will pay a $100 registration with the league to cover the cost of their equipment and uniforms. They also will share in 80 percent of the gate proceeds with the remainder going to their team/rink.
According to the league and MacKenzie, all 12 teams will offer full season-ticket packages for $100. The plan is to make admission to every game $7.
MacKenzie is only 24, and is a native of Hadley Township, which is just outside of Lapeer. He played High School hockey at Hadley High School.
And the IHL is not the first league that MacKenzie has founded. He created the short-lived Union Hockey League in 2016 after graduating from High School in 2014. The UHL had six teams.
“It was pretty cool to have high-level guys playing and teaching the younger guys,” MacKenzie told Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave. “It meant something to play for each team. Everyone took it seriously because everyone cared.”
MacKenzie says he does not fit the stereotype of the typical entrepreneur, businessman or hockey player.
“I have no idea how to make my hair look nice, I wear button-up shirts and jeans to every meeting and I am easily identified by my hat, which is always on backwards,” he said. “I didn't go to college (well, okay, I did, for like a week) and I got cut from High School hockey. I 100 percent run my mouth too much.
“But if you know me, you'll be hard pressed to find someone that cares about hockey and people as deeply as I do. I am just a young, aggressive guy.”
MacKenzie said he plans inflatable characters, video boards, and food trucks as part of the fan experience at rinks that host the IHL.