Upon its formation in 1904, the International Hockey League became the first professional hockey circuit. The only Canadian team was based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with the others in the Pittsburgh and three in Michigan; Calumet, Houghton, and the American Soo. After the 1906-07 season, problems began to arise. While the league was discussing plans to expand into Toronto, Cleveland and Duluth, the reality was they had problems with their current clubs. The Pittsburgh franchise was actively seeking another league to play in and the Houghton team, the flagship Portage Lake club, wasn’t interested in another season. The league scrambled to add new franchises to fill the holes but the fatal blow came when the American Soo franchise announced it would not ice a team for the following season. The league announced that operations would cease for one season but this proved overly optimistic, and the league never recovered.
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