Ice (IHL) all-time team

This series started last summer as part of our 75-year celebration of hockey in Indianapolis. Some personal conflicts and the wheel of hockey season put the brakes on it for a few months, but we’re finally back with the final three All-Time Teams for Indianapolis hockey. Again, this is based on play in Indianapolis, and not necessarily what came before or later. The Indianapolis Ice came into the IHL in 1988 after the Indianapolis Checkers went dark for a year. Armed with black-and-silver colors, they came with a lot of marketing splash and attitude. They played 11 years in the IHL, winning a championship in 1990 and a division title in 1997, before suspending operations in 1999. In that time, the IHL went from being a Midwestern bus league to a coast-to-coast league with largely independent teams, leaving the Ice – who were affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks for all but their first year – an anomaly in the league. Shortly thereafter, the IHL itself would cease to exist, but many of the Ice’s rivals found themselves in other leagues. Here are the 18 players on our All-Time Team.

Previous all-time teams: Capitals, Chiefs, Racers, CHL Checkers, IHL Checkers

First team
LW: Warren Rychel (1989-91)
Rychel became best known as an enforcer in the NHL, but he was also a scorer in two seasons with the Ice. He certainly could stick up for his teammates – he had 712 penalty minutes in 145 regular-season games with the Ice from 1989-91 – but he could also put the puck in the net. He had 23 goals in 1989-90, and added four points in 14 playoff games as the Ice rolled to the Turner Cup. The following year, he had 33 goals and 30 assists and was the team’s third-leading goal scorer. He finished his Ice career with 56 goals and 46 assists in two seasons. He also had seven points in 19 playoff games those two years. He went on to a long NHL career where he had 38 goals and 1,422 penalty minutes in 406 games. In 1993, he had 13 points to help lead the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup Final. He won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.

C: Sean Williams (1989-93)
Williams was the quintessential Ice player in the team’s early years. He played for the team for four seasons, led them to a Turner Cup championship in 1990, and was the team’s leading scorer. He was the only player during the team’s 11-year IHL run to have his number retired. He played 320 games for the Ice from 1989-93, scoring 130 goals and 156 assists. All were Ice team records. He had eight goals and 13 points in 14 playoff games to lead the Ice to the 1990 Turner Cup and was the team’s third-leading goal scorer. The following year, he had his best season as a pro, with 46 goals and 98 points for an Ice team that went 48-29-5. He was the team’s leading scorer again in 1991-92 with 65 points, and had 65 points again in 1992-93. He left the Ice in 1993 to play a year in Italy, then played two seasons with the IHL’s Minnesota Moose. He had four 20-goal seasons in his four years with the Ice, and had nine goals and seven assists in 21 playoff games.

RW: Brian Noonan (1989-91, 1998-99)
Noonan played with the Ice at the start and the end of his career. In 1989-90, he had 40 goals and 76 points to lead the Ice to a 53-21-8 record in the regular season, then tallied 15 playoff points in a 12-2 run to the Turner Cup. He had 38 goals and 91 points the following year. He returned to the Ice near the end of his career in 1998-99, but finished that season in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes. He had 97 goals and 133 assists with the Ice in 180 games. In the playoffs, he had 12 goals and 13 assists in 21 games, all in 1990 and 1991. Noonan also had a long NHL career, with 116 goals in 629 games. He won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994, and appeared in the Cup Final in 1992 with the Blackhawks. Noonan was also twice named an IHL First Team All-Star RW in 1990 and 1991.

D: Brad Werenka (1995-97)
Werenka was an offensive dynamo who was also solid in his own end during his two seasons with the Ice. He had 15 goals and 42 assists to lead the Ice from the blueline in 1995-96, then followed up with a 20-goal, 56-assist season the following year, helping lead the Ice to a division title. He also was +28 in 1996-97. In 155 games with the Ice, he had 35 goals and 98 assists, and also had two goals and seven assists in nine playoff games. He went on from the Ice to play three full NHL seasons with the Penguins and Flames, and had 78 points in 320 total NHL games, also playing for the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks. He was an IHL First Team All-Star in 1997.

D: Bruce Cassidy (1989-90, 1994-97)
Cassidy was a critical part of the 1990 Turner Cup championship. He had 57 points – including 46 assists – and was an IHL First Team All-Star defenseman in 1990. After playing three seasons in Europe, he returned as a veteran leader and played parts of three more years with the team. In all, he played 170 games with the Ice, with 18 goals and 79 assists. He also had 11 points in 12 games during the 1990 championship run. He retired as a player during the 1996-97 season to begin coaching, and returned to the Ice in 1998 as the team’s final IHL head coach, leading the team to its first playoff series win since the 1990 title. Cassidy has gone on to become an NHL head coach – with the Washington Capitals – and is currently the coach of the AHL’s Providence Bruins

G: Jim Waite (1989-92, 1994-97)
No goaltender is synonymous with the Indianapolis Ice than Jim Waite, who played parts of six seasons with the team. In 1989-90, he had his best year as a pro, going 34-14-4 with a 2.53 GAA and five shutouts, leading the Ice to the Turner Cup title. He also was 9-1 with a 1.89 GAA in the championship run that season. He won the James Norris Trophy for fewest goals allowed in a season in 1990, as well as being named an IHL First Team All-Star. He shared the net with Dominik Hasek the following year, going 26-18-4 with a 3.47 GAA. After playing for the San Jose Sharks, he returned to the team at the end of the 1994-95 season, and played for two more years, and was a key part of the 1997 division title. He played 217 games with the Ice, going 112-73-21 in the regular season with 12 shutouts and a 3.12 GAA. Waite also had a 14-11 playoff record, and backstopped 14 of the team’s 24 postseason victories in its IHL history. Waite also played 106 NHL games for Chicago, San Jose and Phoenix. He is currently the Chicago Blackhawks’ goaltending coach.

Coach: Darryl Sutter (1989-90)
Who else would it be? Sutter led the team to its most dominant year in 1989-90, going 53-21-8 in the regular season and clinching the West Division title weeks ahead of the end of the season. The team then rolled through the playoffs, going 12-2 and sweeping the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the Turner Cup Final. He was named the IHL Coach of the Year that season. Sutter was in his second season in his first head coaching job – he also coached the Saginaw Hawks in 1988-89, and came with the team when the Blackhawks shifted their affiliation to Indianapolis in 1989. He went from there to become an assistant coach – and later head coach – with the Blackhawks. He also has coached the San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. He has led the Kings to two Stanley Cups, and nearly won a third with Calgary in 2004.

Second team
LW: Brad Lauer (1991-93)
Lauer played two years with the Ice, with 74 goals and 71 assists in 119 games. He had a 50-goal, 91-point season in 1992-93, leading the Ice to a playoff appearance. He was a first-team All-Star in 1993. He is probably best known for his part in one of the most heartbreaking moments in team history – scoring a late goal for Cleveland in Game 4 to tie the Ice, a game the Lumberjacks’ Dave Roche would win in OT, eliminating a division championship team. Lauer is currently an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks.

C: Tony Hrkac (1992-93)
The Hrkac Circus played just one year for the Ice, but it was an unbelievable one. He had 45 goals and 87 goals for 132 points, leading the Ice to a playoff spot. He was the IHL’s MVP and leading scorer that season, and his 132 points are the second-highest total for an Indianapolis hockey player in a single season. Only Ron Handy (135 points w/Checkers in 1986-87) has more. Hrkac finally stuck in the NHL in 1997-98, and he won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars the following year.

RW: Sergei Krivokrasov (1992-96)
Krivo was a popular winger for the Ice who played parts of four seasons with the team. A former first-round pick, his best year was his first, when he had 36 goals and 33 assists in 1992-93. He had 71 goals in 169 games, and added 79 assists. He played in 450 NHL games, and had a 25-goal season with the Nashville Predators in 1998-99.

D: Ryan McGill (1989-92)
There’s good reason many of the 1990 championship team players are on this list – that team was flat-out stacked. Ryan McGill is a good reason – he was a solid Second Team All-Star defenseman in 1991 who could score, but was also rugged. He had 29 goals and 70 assists in 180 games with the Ice. His best year came in 1990-91, when he had 51 points in 63 games. He also had 585 penalty minutes in three seasons with the Ice. McGill played 151 NHL games, mostly with the Flyers and Oilers.

D: Ivan Droppa (1992-97)
Few players played in more games for the Ice than Droppa, who was a fixture on the team’s blueline for five seasons. He played 297 games with the Ice, with 35 goals and 110 assists. His best year came in 1992-93, his North American rookie pro year, when he had 14 goals and 43 points in 77 games.

G: Dominik Hasek (1990-92)
“The Dominator” was the IHL’s First Team All-Star goalie in 1991, and for good reason. He was 20-11-1 with a 2.52 GAA in 33 games as a North American pro rookie. He also played the next season with the team, and in total, played 53 games with the Ice, with a 27-21-4 record and a 2.91 GAA. He went on to have a distinguished Hall of Fame career, backstopping the Buffalo Sabres to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999, and winning Stanley Cups with the Red Wings in 2002 and 2007. He won six Vezina Trophies, three William Jennings Trophies for fewest goals allowed, and twice was named the NHL’s MVP.

Coach: Bob Ferguson (1995-98)
“Fergie” joined the Ice after having much success in the junior ranks. He led the team to a 127-98-21 record and three playoff appearances in his three seasons – taking over a team that had missed the postseason in three of its previous four seasons. The Ice won a division title in 1997 under his tutelage. He continued to coach in the ECHL and USHL for several more seasons, and has since served in scouting and front office roles.

Third team

LW: David Hymovitz (1996-99)
Hymovitz was a key player on the final Ice team in 1998-99, when he had 46 goals and 76 points to lead the team. All told, he had 57 goals and 40 assists in 147 games with the team. He also had three goals and four assists in 11 playoff games.

C: Kip Miller (1995-97)
Miller was a key veteran scorer for the Ice. He had 91 points in 1995-96, with 32 goals and 59 assists. He played a partial season the following year and helped push the team to a division title. Miller played 110 games with the Ice, with 49 goals and 83 assists. He also had four goals and eight assists in nine playoff games.

RW: Bob Bassen (1989-90)
Bassen was a First Team All-Star in 1990 with the Ice, as he had 22 goals and 32 assists for a division championship team, playing 73 games. He also had 11 points in the Turner Cup title run.

D: Karl Dykhuis (1992-95)
Dykhuis played three years for the Ice before embarking on an NHL career. He had 17 goals and 64 assists in 184 NHL games.

D: James Black (1995-96)
Black had one year with the Ice, but he produced serious offense from the blueline, with 32 goals and 50 assists in just 67 games.

G: Marc Lamothe (1996-99)
Lamothe was one constant during the Ice’s last three seasons, playing 101 games with the team in those three years. He was 47-40-12 with a 2.93 GAA with the Ice, including a 2.44 GAA in 1997-98. In 1999, he came on in relief in the postseason and posted a long shutout streak to lead the Ice to their first series win in nine years, posting back-to-back 1-0 shutouts of Cincinnati and Detroit. He was the winning goalie in the Ice’s last four playoff victories.

Coach: Dave MacDowall (1990-91)
MacDowell led the Ice to a 48-29-5 record in his one season with the team.

Honorable mention: LW Craig Fisher, C Mike Stapleton, C Ron Handy, C Todd White, RW Mike Prokopec, C Steve Dubinsky, RW Rob Conn, F Brent Sapergia, F Mike McNeill, D Cam Russell, D Chris Snell, G Ray LeBlanc, G Christian Soucy

1 Response

  1. June 29, 2015

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