The Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) was formed for the 2000 season by the Sydney Bears, Canberra Knights and Adelaide Avalanche after the failure of the former national league.
From 2000-2001 the thee teams played round-robin weekends spaced out over the season, with the top two teams playing a single final. In 2001 the revered Goodall Cup ceased to be contested at a separate tournament, and with the expansion of the AIHL to six teams in 2002, became the prize for the AIHL's Finals.
The Adelaide Avalanche won the AIHL championship in 2000 and 2001, while the Bears won the Goodall Cup in the 2001 Goodall tournament.
In 2002 the addition of the Melbourne Ice, the West Sydney Ice Dogs and the Newcastle North Stars made the AIHL a much more purposeful league. The Sydney Bears were 2002 AIHL & Goodall Cup champions, the first time the two were combined.
In 2003 a new finals tournament weekend was introduced, where the top four, not just the top two, teams would play sudden death semi finals on the Saturday and the winners would play for the Goodall Cup and AIHL Championship on the Sunday. This format is unchanged up to now.
The Newcastle North Stars were the 2003 winners, with the West Sydney Ice Dogs winning it in 2004.
In 2005 the AIHL expanded to eight teams, the two newcomers the Central Coast Rhinos and the Brisbane Blue Tongues. 2005 Champions were the Newcastle North Stars.
The same league structure continued through to 2008 season. In 2008 the Adelaide Avalanche folded and a new team, the Adrenaline was founded in its place. 2006 Champions were the Newcastle North Stars, in 2007 it was the Sydney Bears, and in 2008 it was Newcastle North Stars again.
In 2009 the Brisbane Blue Tongues moved to become the Gold Coast Blue Tongues, and had their first ever finals appearance. The Central Coast Rhinos declined to accept the AIHL's new licencing model and the AIHL became a seven team league until 2011.
2009 Champions were the Adelaide Adrenaline, and in 2010 the Melbourne Ice became champions in the new Australian Olympic ice facility in Melbourne's Docklands.
The Goodall Cup was withdrawn from the AIHL in 2009 by its caretakers, Ice Hockey Australia, so it could return to being contested by the states. A new trophy was awarded to the Adelaide Adrenaline, now known as the H Newman Reid Trophy. In 2010 the Goodall Cup was returned as the AIHL's prize, and the new trophy consigned to be the prize for the regular season's top team (minor premiers).
In 2011 the league has returned to a team strength of eight with the inclusion of the Mustangs Ice Hockey Club, who will also play from the Docklands rink in Melbourne.
The Perth Thunder will play exhibition games as a provisional team in 2011, in hope of securing a vote to become the ninth AIHL team in 2012.
History of Ice Hockey in Australia
The first rink in Australia was in Adelaide in 1904, where the first games of bandy were played, basically field hockey sticks were used with a ball on the ice.
Organised hockey games more like the Canadian rules were begun when rinks opened up a few years later in first Melbourne, then in Sydney. In 1909 a Sydney team travelled to Melbourne for the first ever national championship, teams playing for the Goodall Cup.
The Goodall Cup remained as the national trophy for mens ice hockey between the states until it passed to the AIHL in 2002.
In 1960 an Australian team travelled to the Winter Olympics at California's Squaw Valley, the only time an Australian team has qualified to do so.
Currently Australia is one of the bottom-rated teams in the International Federation's Division I level tournaments, in 2011 ranked 34th worldwide.
The Goodall Cup was contested by the state associations until 2002 when it became the prize for the AIHL. In 2009 the Goodall Cup was returned to a state-contested tournament for its anniversary, but was returned in 2010 as Australia's ice hockey holy grail.
The original Cup was partially restored by 2003 winners Newcastle in 2004, then it was further restored and remounted on an impressive Stanley Cup style barrel base in 2007-2008.
Considered too precious to travel, a replica was made of the original in 2009 and on the Goodall Cup's return to the AIHL in 2010, was awarded to new champions the Melbourne Ice.
The replica Goodall Cup will be housed at the Docklands ice rink for the next three years or more, as Australia's ice hockey showpiece.
The original Goodall Cup is now kept on display a the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
H Newman Reid Trophy
Following the removal of the Goodall Cup from the AIHL in 2009, the AIHL commissioned the design of a "new tradition" trophy. With a modern three-tiered design raising from a circular base to a glass puck mounted on top, the trophy was a big departure from the century-old pewter Goodall Cup.
The Adelaide Adrenaline were awarded the then AIHL Champions trophy following their 2009 championship win. When the Goodall Cup was returned to the AIHL in 2010, it was decided to reassign the trophy to honour the regular season's top teams, and the Adrenaline were added to the Goodall Cup for 2009.
For 2010, the trophy was renamed the H Newman Reid trophy in honour of the man who opened the first ice rinks in Australia and who's family fostered ice sports in Australia.
The previous minor premiership trophy was known as the VIP Cup and was last awarded to the Adelaide Avalanche in 2007.
Winners of the H Newman Reid trophy since were backdated, including the Bears (2008) and North Stars (2009 & 2010).
Melbourne Ice were the first team ever to win both the Reid and Goodall trophy in the same season, doing so in 2011.