IHL Unveils Massive Future Vision

We have talked a lot about the Interstate Hockey League heading into its inaugural season.

When you have a Commissioner as passionate and future-focused as Drake MacKenzie, it’s a no-brainer to be excited about it.

The league is currently at six teams, with a chance to grow before their season starts in October. On top of that, the IHL has a massive cross-league battle with the GLHL planned this season.

With rumors of whats next coming from around the region, Commissioner MacKenzie has talked to BLH on what’s to come.

Here’s the plan, all from MacKenzie:

Step 1 – Year One:

For this year the goal is simple – Build a foundation. Survive and advance, if you will.

Starting with the budget; Teams are going to save 30 percent of their income. The other 30 percent goes to team fees.

We want to make a stellar impression with rinks and local programs. I’ve picked out four nights that will be our big draw nights.

  1. Trick or Treat Night, for local kids and families.
  2. Throwback/Association Night. Connects with the old-guard of fans, and brings in all levels of youth hockey parents and kids. Blows up our League’s name.
  3. First Responders Night. Police vs. Fire pre-game. Followed by our league game. We’ll be donating admission to a charity for them.
  4. Ugly Sweater/Teddy Bear Toss.

If we ace those nights, then we succeed this season and build a foundation.

All this time, meanwhile, we are going for be connecting with 18 other communities (revealed later in the article) during the season. Starting to assemble teams, rosters, and most importantly sponsors.

By next season, we’re looking at 24 teams, and hopefully generating $5000 in sponsor income. Using our successes of this year to show we are for real.

Step 2 – Offseason One:

We’ll hold our first development camp. Pick up aging-out seniors, put them with pro coaches in our uniforms, and hopefully build up a resume with kids.

Keeps rebuilding teams, and gives the new teams a healthy step forward with making teams.

That 30 percent savings is going to help pay for extended marketing, and help new teams begin purchasing uniforms.

Now, we’re working on building relationships with Community Colleges.

We want to get each team a trainer and an equipment manager. Hopefully colleges will be able to provide that.

We also want to extend our radio coverage to every game, for each team. So, teams will hire a Play-by- Play, and each college can provide an Color Commentator intern.

Each team will also get a mascot, and work on getting a cheer team and ice girls.

The reason for that is:

  • Public Relations gold.
  • Provides teams with another business opportunity
  • More people involved.

With that $5000 sponsorship start, we’re going to buy:

  • 5UHWK cameras
  • Gear: Sweatshirts, Player Bags, SPARX skate sharpener, Tape for a year, and Pucks.
  • Players will also be paying no more than $400 for the season. This is our year two goal.

STEP 3 – Year Two:

Much like year one, connect with communities. Build divisional rivalries. Be sustainable.


Following suit from year ago, except we want to purchase players’ gloves and sticks for the season.

We will also require, by this point, to hire coaches, and practice once a week.

STEP 4 – Year Three, Offseason, and Beyond:

This is our big ticket year. Teams need to strive to build locker rooms, get a video board and a team bus. This might take 3-7 years, but that is a giant priority.

Basically each year, we’re growing a bit. Providing more stuff for the fans, players, and us.

Think about it as fans. You get to see physical homegrown hockey for cheap. Each rink eventually will have a beer license, and I’m thinking we should do live music, and crazy [expletive] like that to get people to come out.

For players, you’re eventually paying just $200. You’ll always pay something just so you have skin in the game.

Anyway for that, you get uniforms., sticks, gloves, two sheets of ice a week, tape, skate sharpening, medical staff, equipment staff. You get to live a pro life.

As owners, you get to make money. Not just off a senior teams, both girls and guys, but a in house-youth program, designed and developed by the best hockey minds around.”

We’ve already mentioned in the past where exactly the IHL is looking to go outside of Michigan to expand to, but this is the first time we’ve been given names of in-state expansion future-markets.

Here’s where the 18 communities the IHL wants to grow to:

  1. Port Huron
  2. Gladwin
  3. Bad Axe
  4. Hartland
  5. Brighton
  6. Jackson
  7. Howell
  8. Ann Arbor
  9. Wyandotte
  10. Trenton
  11. Oak Park
  12. Farmington Hills
  13. Battle Creek
  14. Grand Rapids
  15. Grand Rapids (different team)
  16. Holland
  17. Muskegon
  18. Lansing

There you have it. Below the half-way line of the Lower Peninsula is where the IHL looks to grow to 24 total teams.

Teams require players, owners, GMs, and staff. If you’re located in these areas, and interested in working in semi-pro hockey, contact Drake MacKenzie and the IHL via any of their social media platforms.


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