The Western Professional Hockey League was started in 1996 with 6 teams. The teams were based mostly in Texas and Louisiana. The games were played in arenas with a 3000 to 5000 seat capacity. The WPHL was stared by Global Entertainment Corporation led by current Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving.
The biggest issues facing the league were scheduling games and practice times around rodeos and livestock auctions. Life in the WPHL was well chronicled by Jason Cohen in " Zamboni Rodeo" . The league grew to as many as 19 teams at its peak and included games against Russian teams Electrostal Kristall and Traktor which counted in the standings. At the end of the fifth season the league was purchased by the Central Hockey League in 2001.
Shown below is the WPHL All-Star jersey worn by Billy Newson formerly from Northeastern University. Billy's first year of professional hockey was the 2000-2001 season with the Amarillo Rattlers of the WPHL. Like so many of the men who skated in the WPHL, the apex of Newson's career was a stint in the ECHL. A lucky few had a cup of coffee in the American Hockey League.
The jersey was made by the American Hockey Company which can be seen on the back by the neck. It features the WPHL All-Star logo on each shoulder and the WPHL's fifth year patch. Included with the jersey are Newson's All-Star pants. I particularly like the fact that running down each side of the hockey pants are the letters WPHL. The pants also have the fifth year patch on them. The jersey and the pants are both autographed but does not detract from the obscurity of the jersey and pants set.
Thanks to Chuck for taking the time to photograph his striking jersey and pants (!) and the details of the not only the history of the league, but Newson's career as well as the details of the uniform, as this is the first pair of pants we've ever had submitted.
We really love the colors of this jersey and the bold, curving semi-diagonal shape to the striping. We're personally fond of diagonal, or "sash", striping generally found on soccer jerseys as a design element and this reminds us in a way of one of our personal favorites, the 1992 Norway Olympic jerseys. We really appreciate the work involved when our readers take the time and effort to share their jerseys through their writing and their photos.
On a personal note, we have an unread copy of Zamboni Rodeo that we are now looking forward to reading even more after hearing about the league and it's travails.
If you have a jersey in your collection that you'd like to share with us and your fellow readers, please submit your pictures and a story to go with it, no matter how brief or detailed, to firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to seeing your favorites!