There's been a debate going all spring about the validity of changing the United Hockey League name to the International Hockey League. The owners may have disbanded the UHL and started fresh with the IHL, though the fans see a different name but the same teams, coaches and players.
Many fans believe the renamng is an insult to the former IHL which folded in 2001 (the Komets left in 1999) and tarnishes those players' accomplishments. No matter what the name, they say, this new league will never equal what the IHL was and what it stood for.
There are some people who know something about hockey who disagree with that. On Thursday The News-Sentinel contacted all the on-ice Komets -- nine players and one coach -- who have had their jerseys retired for their reaction. Instead of being insulted, all 10 said they like the change and see the renaming as a sign of respect for what they did.
“It's almost like looking at the IHL as it went through its different eras,” said Colin Chin who retired in 1996. ``The league was a lot different back when Eddie (Long) and Lenny (Thornson) played versus the years in the 70s when there were more teams and it was a tougher brand of hockey. Then there's the era between then and when I came in and then another when it became the NHL affiliates era. I think it's almost fitting to name it the IHL and the way I see it they are just starting a new era.''
Long, who retired in 1966, agrees wholeheartedly.
“I think it's really good,” Mr. Komet said. “If it wasn't for the founding fathers of the league there wouldn't be hockey here, I think this is going to bring back some of the old rivalries amd that will stimulate things. I hope they have learned that more franchises are not the answer. I like this a lot.”