The Tropical Hockey League was established as an attempt to introduce ice hockey to the Southern United States. The league consisted of four teams: the Coral Gables Seminoles, the Miami Clippers, Miami Beach Pirates, and the Havana Tropicals, all of which played at the Metropolitan Ice Palace in Miami. With three exceptions the players were all Canadians recruited from camps in Port Colborne, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba. One notable figure was Mike Goodman, a former member of the Winnipeg Falcons who won the gold medal in hockey for Canada in the 1920 Summer Olympics; he served the Seminoles as player-coach.
The league's inaugural game, billed as "the first hockey game ever staged in the south", was played between the Clippers and Pirates on December 10, 1938. It was preceded by demonstrations of the sport by the players and featured a mambo concert after the second period. The game ended with a fight following a 4-3 victory by the Clippers. The Tropical Hockey League made it through a 15-game season in 1938-39. However, it failed to attract much interest from the community due to its late start times, weak competition, and a tendency for games to devolve into fighting, and folded at the end of the season.
The Tropical Hockey League experiment did nothing to popularize hockey in the South. There would be no further attempt to establish professional hockey in the region until 1956, when the Eastern Hockey League placed the Charlotte Clippers, later the Charlotte Checkers, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Florida did not get another hockey team until the Jacksonville Rockets joined the EHL in 1964. From 1992–1995 there was another minor hockey league based in Florida, the Sunshine Hockey League.