Birth Of Professional Hockey / The Amphidrome
Birth Of Professional Hockey
In 1903-04 the Portage Lake Hockey Club became the first hockey team to pay all its players. In March 1904 the club won the U.S. Championship and beat the Montreal Wanderers in the Houghton Amphidrome for what was billed as the World's Championship. Later that year local entrepreneur James Dee and Houghton dentist John "Doc" Gibson, a former hockey player originally from Ontario, organized the first professional hockey league. The International Hockey League (IHL) began play in December 1904 and comprised teams from Houghton; Calumet; Sault Ste Marie, Michigan; Sault Ste Marie, Ontario; and Pittsburgh. The league folded after three seasons, but it marked the start of professional hockey.
The Amphidrome stood on this site from 1902 until 1927, when it burned. The first hockey game was played in the arena on December 29, 1902, when Portage Lake beat the University of Toronto, 13-2. The Amphidrome was the home of the Portage Lakes, a team in the International Hockey League, Ice Hockey's first professional league. The building also hosted the agricultural society's annual Copper Country Fair and numerous other community events. The Houghton Warehouse Company, headed by James R. Dee, who helped organize the International Hockey League in 1904, led the effort to rebuild the Amphidrome. This building opened in 1927 on the site of the original one and hosted professional ice hockey games until 1907. It was renamed Dee Stadium in 1943.