History Of The ECHL: Idaho Steelheads

When Did They Come to Be?

In 1996, the professional ice hockey team in Idaho officially became known as the Steelheads. They were in the West Coast Hockey League until 2003 when they officially became a part of the ECHL. Their original logo was chosen in a contest, one that involved many of the state’s best graphic designers. The original logo was designed by Blake Thorton. Playing in the state capital of Boise, they have regularly averaged 4,000 guests in the Idaho Central Arena which can hold 5,006.

Why the Steelheads?

The name of the team was also chosen in a contest taking place throughout southern Idaho and was picked over the Ice Hawks. Steelheads are in the same species as rainbow trout. There are no major physical differences between the two, only in their lifestyles. Having different lifestyles makes the two kinds of fish have some small distinctions in their color, shape, and size. Steelheads are very commonly found in Idaho rivers. 

Fun Franchise Facts:

  • The team has made it to and/or past the conference semi-finals of the Kelly Cup in eight of the past 12 seasons.
  • They won the Kelly Cup in their first season in the ECHL
  • Aside from winning the Cup in 2004, they also won it in 2007; and they came very close in 2010 and 2023. 
  • Idaho has one of the highest attendance percentages in the league with 80% of the arena being fully seated on average. 
  • Last season, they set league records for wins (58), points (119), home game wins (32), and sellouts (34)
  • The Steelheads are the ECHL affiliate of the AHL’s Texas Stars and NHL’s Dallas Stars.
  • On November 25, 2023, Captain A.J. White scored his second hat trick of the season, and they extended their win streak to seven games. 

Currently in the World of Idaho Ice:
In terms of the present leaders of the Western Conference, the Steelheads are ahead. Although they are tied with the Kansas City Mavericks in points (24) and wins (12), the Steelheads have played only 14 games so far, and KC has played 15. Idaho also leads in the sense of goals scored (71), leading by six. They have the second-highest win streak of the past 10 games, with 9 wins and a single loss. Lastly, they led with the highest win percentage in the whole conference (0.857). Leading the strong team in goals so far are Mark Rassell (12), Wade Murphy (10), Captain A.J. White, and Keaton Mastrodonato (9). As far as points go for the team, Wade Murphy leads with 23, followed by Mark Rassell with 22, A.J White with 20, and Keaton Mastrodonato with 19. Goalie Dylan Wells leads with a game-win percentage as he has won seven out of seven games played. Overall, the team has a history of being one of the best in the league for the past several years, and they are doing well to keep up with the high expectations.

Gabrielle Klempner

Hello! I'm Gabi and I mainly cover the ECHL's Savannah Ghost Pirates, but also the Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken. For updates, articles, and more on these teams, follow me on Twitter @gabriellediane0

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