|Most recent season or competition:|
2020-21 SPHL season
|No. of teams||11|
|Pensacola Ice Flyers |
|Most titles||Knoxville Ice Bears and Pensacola Ice Flyers (4 each)|
The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) is a professional ice hockey league based in Huntersville, North Carolina, with teams located primarily in the southeastern United States as well as Illinois and Indiana in the midwestern United States.
Following the 2020-21 season, the Pensacola Ice Flyers are the reigning President's Cup champions. As of 2021, the Knoxville Ice Bears are the most successful team in SPHL history, having won four William B. Coffey Trophies as the regular season champions and four President's Cup playoff championships. The Peoria Rivermen have also won four William B. Coffey Trophies, while Pensacola has also won four President's Cups.
The SPHL's history traces back to three other short-lived leagues. The Atlantic Coast Hockey League started play in the 2002-03 season. After its only season, the ACHL dissolved with member teams forming the nucleus for two rival leagues, the South East Hockey League and the World Hockey Association 2. After one season the SEHL and WHA2 disbanded, with their surviving teams rejoining with two expansion teams to form the SPHL, commencing with the 2004-05 season.
In 2009, the SPHL saw a large expansion with three new franchises, in Biloxi, Mississippi, Lafayette, Louisiana and Pensacola, Florida. In 2010, the league added an expansion team in Augusta, Georgia, another former long time ECHL market. For the 2011-12 season, the league added two-time Central Hockey League champions, the Mississippi RiverKings. For the 2013-14 season, the league lost the Augusta RiverHawks but also expanded northward with two franchises in Illinois: the Bloomington Thunder, a team also moving from the CHL, where they were known as the Bloomington Blaze, and the Peoria Rivermen, who were replacing an American Hockey League team of the same name in their market. In 2015, the Augusta franchise returned and relocated to Macon, Georgia as the Macon Mayhem.
In November 2014, Shannon Szabados became the first female goaltender to win an SPHL game, when the Columbus Cottonmouths defeated the Fayetteville FireAntz 5-4 in overtime. In that same game Erin Blair and Katie Guay became the first female officials to referee an SPHL game.
At the end of the 2015-16 season, the Louisiana IceGators announced a one-year leave of absence for renovations to their arena but never returned. The IceGators' franchise was sold and reactivated as the Quad City Storm in 2018. Then in 2016, the dormant Mississippi Surge franchise was relocated to Southwest Virginia to become the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. One of the inaugural SPHL teams, the Columbus Cottonmouths, suspended operations in 2017 after failing to find a buyer while an expansion team called the Birmingham Bulls were accepted into the league as the tenth team. Following the 2017-18 season, the Mississippi RiverKings suspended operations while the league searched for new owners. With the acceptance of the Quad City Storm, the league was able to remain at ten teams for the 2018-19 season.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019-20 season was curtailed and no champion was named. The following season, the league announced it would only play with five of the ten member teams due to pandemic-related capacity restrictions barring fans from attending games. During the season, the league approved of the Vermilion County Bobcats as a 2021-22 expansion team based in Danville, Illinois.
|Birmingham Bulls||Pelham, Alabama||Pelham Civic Center||3,500||2017||Craig Simchuk|
|Evansville Thunderbolts||Evansville, Indiana||Ford Center||9,000||2016||Jeff Bes|
|Fayetteville Marksmen||Fayetteville, North Carolina||Crown Coliseum||8,920||2002||2004||Cory Melkert|
|Huntsville Havoc||Huntsville, Alabama||Von Braun Center||6,037||2004||Glenn Detulleo|
|Knoxville Ice Bears||Knoxville, Tennessee||Knoxville Civic Coliseum||5,937||2002||2004||Jeff Carr|
|Macon Mayhem||Macon, Georgia||Macon Coliseum||7,182||2010[a]||Zac Desjardins|
|Pensacola Ice Flyers||Pensacola, Florida||Pensacola Bay Center||8,150||2009||Rod Aldoff|
|Peoria Rivermen||Peoria, Illinois||Carver Arena||9,919||2013||Jean-Guy Trudel|
|Quad City Storm||Moline, Illinois||TaxSlayer Center||9,200||2009[a]||Dave Pszenyczny|
|Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs||Roanoke, Virginia||Berglund Center||8,672||2009[a]||Dan Bremner|
|Vermilion County Bobcats||Danville, Illinois||David S. Palmer Arena||2,350||2021||Mike Watt|
As per minor leagues, there are some rule differences between the SPHL and the NHL (and even the ECHL and the AHL, the two official developmental leagues regulated by the Professional Hockey Players' Association).
Awarded to the league playoff champion.
|2005||Columbus Cottonmouths||Macon Trax|
|2006||Knoxville Ice Bears||Orlando Seals|
|2007||Fayetteville FireAntz||Jacksonville Barracudas|
|2008||Knoxville Ice Bears||Jacksonville Barracudas|
|2009||Knoxville Ice Bears||Fayetteville FireAntz|
|2010||Huntsville Havoc||Mississippi Surge|
|2011||Mississippi Surge||Augusta Riverhawks|
|2012||Columbus Cottonmouths||Pensacola Ice Flyers|
|2013||Pensacola Ice Flyers||Huntsville Havoc|
|2014||Pensacola Ice Flyers||Columbus Cottonmouths|
|2015||Knoxville Ice Bears||Mississippi RiverKings|
|2016||Pensacola Ice Flyers||Peoria Rivermen|
|2017||Macon Mayhem||Peoria Rivermen|
|2018||Huntsville Havoc||Peoria Rivermen|
|2019||Huntsville Havoc||Birmingham Bulls|
|2020||Not awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic|
|2021||Pensacola Ice Flyers||Macon Mayhem|
|Knoxville Ice Bears||4|
|Pensacola Ice Flyers||4|
|2004-05||Knoxville Ice Bears||1|
|2005-06||Knoxville Ice Bears||2|
|2007-08||Knoxville Ice Bears||3|
|2008-09||Knoxville Ice Bears||4|
|2013-14||Pensacola Ice Flyers||1|
|2019-20||Not awarded due to season cancellation|