The history of the Cincinnati Cyclones organization began during the summer of 1990 when Knoxville businessman, Doug Kirchhofer, headed up a three-man group to bring professional hockey back to the Queen City by joining the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). The original ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones went 37-24-3 in the first season and 36-20-8 in the second season.
Prior to the 1992-1993 season, Kirchhofer was granted entry into the International Hockey League (IHL) and joined the AAA level of minor league hockey. The ECHL rights were sold and the team moved to Birmingham and became the Birmingham Bulls. Since then, they have been the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies and are now located in Stockton, California, as the Stockton Thunder with coach and former Cincinnati Cyclones player, Chris Cichocki.
The IHL Cyclones were formed in Cincinnati and played there from the 1992-1993 season through the 2000-2001 season. The team went 391-265-80 during that nine-season run and advanced to one conference final. In 2001 the IHL folded and the team ended its operations.
The current ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones organization was born as the Louisville River Frogs prior to the start of the 1996-1997 season. Its inaugural season saw the club post its best record of 39-24-7. After three years and a 100-86-24 record, the club moved to Miami, Florida, and became the Miami Matadors for the 1998-1999 campaign. The Matadors posted a 28-32-10 record and finished last in their division.
Prior to the 2001-2002 season, the club was sold to an investment group headed by David Lefevre, bringing the team out of a two-year dormant period. The team moved back to Cincinnati and filled the void left after the IHL went out of business. During that three-year period (the 2001-2002 through 2003-2004 seasons), the Cyclones went 97-102-17 before again closing the doors.
After a three-year absence, the Cyclones were revived, this time by the Nederlander Entertainment Group. Since their return in 2006-2007, the Cyclones have earned two Division Titles, a Brabham Cup (awarded for ECHL's Best Regular Season Record), and two Kelly Cup Championships (2008, 2010).