The Indy Fuel was admitted into the ECHL (previously known as the East Coast Hockey League) on November 11, 2013. The ECHL is one of two minor leagues recognized by the National Hockey League (NHL) for player development in North America. As part of the NHL system, Indy Fuel’s players feed into the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League (the other minor league) and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Named in recognition of Indianapolis’ racing history with the, the Indy Fuel rose to prominence as the city’s premier professional hockey team, succeeding the Indiana Ice who went into dormancy in the summer of 2014 (see ). In conjunction with their approval to join the ECHL, the Fuel agreed to play their home games at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Under the eye of owner Jim Hallett and CEO Sean Hallett, the organization hired head coach Scott Hillman and assembled a roster before playing its first game against the Fort Wayne Komets on October 17, 2014. Beyond sparking the Fuel’s tenure in the Circle City, the match also reignited a historic hockey rivalry between the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne hockey teams, dubbed the “I-69 Rivalry.”
In the ensuing seasons, the Indy Fuel failed to make the ECHL playoffs in their first three attempts. In 2016, the Fuel hired head coach Bernie John, who led the team to a fourth-place finish in the Central Division and its first playoff appearance in the 2017-2018 season. However, the team was ultimately swept during their first series of the playoffs by the Toledo Walleye. Dough Christiansen was named the head coach and general manager of the Fuel as the team entered the 2019-2020 season. In their first seven seasons, the Fuel has sent three players on to the NHL–defenseman Justin Holl (Toronto Maple Leafs) and goaltenders Collin Delia (Chicago) and Kevin Lankinen (Chicago).