The Portage Lakes Hockey Club from Houghton, Michigan is believed to be the first or one of the first professional hockey teams in North America. Portage Lakes played their first game at the Amphidrome on December 29, 1902 in front of a crowd of 5,000. They beat the University of Toronto, 3-2.
A little more than a year later, they beat the Montreal Wanderers for the "World Championship" in March 1904. They played an exhibition schedule that year as they were not part of any league, as there were no professional leagues at the time. That changed the following season as the IPHL solved that problem by starting what is believed to be the first fully professional league in North America. Five teams from Michigan, Ontario and Pittsburgh competed in a short 24-game circuit, since the teams played on natural ice only available in the winter.
The Portage Lakes Hockey Club would win the title in the second and third seasons of the league, with 19 and 16 wins, respectively. In their second season, they picked up future HOFer Hod Stuart from local rival Calumet, which likely aided their success.
After the 1906-07 season, Canada implemented professional teams and along with the Pittsburgh club looking to stay closer to home, the IPHL folded and took the PLHC along with it.
We've created a custom design that pays homage to the 'PL' the team wore in white on the chests of their green uniforms.