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IHL HAS NEW LOOK FOR 1995-96 SEASON

SHARE IHL HAS NEW LOOK FOR 1995-96 SEASON

Expansion, relocation and name changes give the ever-evolving International Hockey League a new look as teams will be fighting for the 51st Turner Cup championship this season.

Here's a quick glance at the IHL clubs heading into the beginning of the 1995-96 season:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

North Division

- Cincinnati Cyclones: (49-22-10, 2nd Midwest Division) New head coach Ron Smith will try to help the Cyclone's continue recent success of a .664 winning percentage (98-45-19) over the last two years.

- Fort Wayne Komets: (34-39-8, 3rd Midwest) Now in its 44th season with the IHL, the league's most established franchise has qualified for the playoffs in 20 consecutive years.

- Indianapolis Ice: (32-41-8, 4th Midwest) In his first season as coach, Bob Ferguson will try to guide the Ice to their first winning season since 1990-91.

- Michigan K-Wings: (43-24-14, 2nd Northern) K-Wings hope their name change from the Kalamazoo Wings will lift them to higher ground than the Eastern Conference finals in which they lost to Kansas City last season.

Central Division

- Atlanta Knights: (39-37-5, 3rd Central) Knights will try to regain glory of their Turner Cup championship year of 1993-94. Coach John Paris Jr. is the first and remains the only black head coach in professional hockey.

- Cleveland Lumberjacks: (34-37-10, 4th Northern) Fan interest was sparked last season by the new Gund Arena, which helped the Lumberjacks increase their attendance by 60 percent.

- Detroit Vipers: (48-27-6, 1st Northern) Left Salt Lake City after the 1993-94 season to shatter IHL single-game (20,182) and single-season attendance marks (584,788 season/14,263 per game) in '94-95 at The Palace at Auburn Hills.

- Houston Aeros: (38-35-8, 2nd Central) Drew 11,689 fans a game in inaugural season last year and was selected to host the 1996 All-Star Weekend from Jan. 11-14.

- Orlando Solar Bears: (First season) Center Craig Fisher and defenseman Todd Richards will be key players under the direction of coach Don Waddell, a former IHL player, head coach and executive.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Midwest Division

- Chicago Wolves: (34-33-14, 3rd Northern) Entering second season in the IHL after a solid debut last year under head coach Jim Wiley. Drew 11,512 fans per home game.

- Kansas City Blades: (35-40-6, 5th Central) After finishing on the bottom of their division, the Blades went on to surprise everyone in the playoffs by knocking off Detroit, Peoria and Kalamazoo before losing to Denver.

- Milwaukee Admirals: (44-27-10, 1st Central) Though the Admirals have been to the playoffs 16 times in their 19-year membership with the IHL, they have yet to win the Turner Cup.

- Minnesota Moose: (34-35-12, 4th Central) The Moose will count on the services of their high-scoring center Stephane Morin (114 points), who won the IHL scoring title, to make another playoff appearance.

- Peoria Rivermen: (51-19-11, 1st Midwest) Coach Paul MacLean has led the Rivermen to the IHL's best winning percentage over the past two seasons (.682) with a combined record of 102-43-17.

Southwest Division

- Las Vegas Thunder: (46-30-5, 2nd Southwest) The Thunder have made a lot of noise in their two years with the IHL, averaging 106 points a season. Chris McSorley will take over the reins as head coach.

- Los Angeles Ice Dogs: (37-36-8, 4th Southwest) After a five-year stint in San Diego as the Gulls, the Ice Dogs moved to Los Angeles and will be under the control of new head coach/general manager John Van Boxmeer.

- Phoenix Roadrunners: (41-26-14, 3rd Southwest) Posted a franchise record of 96 points in '94-95 and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1990-91.

- San Francisco Spiders: (First season) Spiders will play their first season, but have a very experienced coach in Jean Perron, who coached the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup championship in 1986.

- Utah Grizzlies: (57-18-6, 1st Southwest) Relocated from Denver after turning in the best-ever record by a first-year franchise (57-18-6) and winning the Turner Cup. Coach Butch Goring was '94-95 IHL coach of the year.