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.