by Kevin Hughes
on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 at 11:23am.
If someone is looking at possibly purchasing some Idaho real estate and also happens to be a hockey fan, Boise might be an option well worth considering. Not only is Boise Idaho's capital city, it's also the largest, with just slightly less than 206,000 residents as of the last census in 2010. But best of all, for hockey fans at least, buying a Boise property means access to the home games of one of the leading ECHL premier 'AA' hockey teams, the Boise Steelheads.
While a name like the 'Steelheads' seems perfect for a minor league hockey team, as tough and violent as the game of hockey seems to be, the name actually stems from a species of fish native to Idaho, the Steelhead Trout. Steelhead are popular with local fishermen and are found in many of the area's streams and rivers. When the team started play in 1997 their original team logo featured a hockey puck bouncing off a hockey mask. Since a rebranding effort during the 2006-7 season, however, the logo has instead featured the words 'Idaho Steelheads' superimposed over the likeness of a Steelhead Trout. This change has proved to be quite popular with the home team fans.
Their first season saw the Idaho Steelheads pitted against 3 other teams in the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL): the Phoenix Mustangs, the Tacoma Sabercats and the Tucson Gila Monsters. All three of these teams have since folded, and in 2003, Idaho was taken into the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), where it currently competes. In its first year, the Steelheads finished third in the Division and were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. They failed to progress past the first round of the playoffs the succeeding two years as well. Boise real estate was doing well at the time, which is more than can be said for the home team.
Finally, in 2000, the team made it to the final round of the WCHL playoffs under the tutelage of their new coach, John Olver, who had been coach for the league champion Tacoma Sabercats the previous year. They lost to the San Diego Gulls in the championship and again the next season made the finals but lost to the Fresno Falcons. Even though Idaho had the best record in the league the following year, 2002-2003, they lost in the first round of the playoffs, beaten by Fresno.
Victory At Last The Idaho Steelheads succeeded in winning the 2004 Kelly Cup during their first year playing in the ECHL, being the first team since 1989 to win the Cup during their first season in the League. They again won the Kelly in 2007 and the Brabham Cup in 2010. The Steelheads are currently an affiliate team for the National Hockey League team the Dallas Stars. Hockey fans considering Boise Idaho real estate will likely enjoy taking a trip or two to the 5,000 seat Qwest Arena in Boise to see the home team play.
Whether you come to Idaho for work, play, or any other reasons, the Idaho Steelheads is one team to check out!