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Illinois is officially getting second hockey franchise

Published January 16, 2024 at 5:57 PM
BY JOSHUA
     
Illinois is set to become a state of hockey, as a major announcement was made today regarding a new minor hockey league team.

The ECHL Public Relations announced that the league will be expanding into Illinois and has chosen Bloomington as the city to be awarded the next expansion team.

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The league will be expanding to 30 teams with this move in the 2024-2025 season.


Bloomington, Illinois is the latest city to join the ECHL expansion, with Lake Tahoe in Nevada being the other newest expansion city in the league.

Bloomington, Illinois will be getting an ECHL franchise in 2024-25.

The ECHL is the 11th-ranked ice hockey league in the world and third-ranked in North America, according to our global league rankings (pinned on our page).


The new team will be managed by Hallett Sports and Entertainment, who already run the Indy Fuel, a current ECHL team.

The new ECHL team will play at Grossinger Motors Arena for the 2024-2025 season and is currently owned by the city of Bloomington.

A lease will be negotiated on January 22nd, with a press conference following on the 24th. The team in Bloomington will be a part of the Central Division in the ECHL, sharing the division with teams such as the Cincinnati Cyclones, Fort Wayne Komets, Toledo Walleye, Indiana Fuel, Iowa Heartlanders, and Wheeling Nailers.

«My goal is to get to 32,» Crelin told FloHockey's Justin A. Cohn in a recent interview about expansion. «Sometimes, it takes markets four or five years to develop. Other times, they fall in your lap, quite honestly. They've got to make sense geographically, they've got to make sense market wise and you've got to make sure you have the right ownership teams in there. But it's a really big focus of mine, to bring all of that to pass.»

With this move, the ECHL moves closer to reaching their goal of 32 teams, in order to match the AHL and NHL, and their goal is to bring in more teams to serve as NHL affiliates.

As Seen On: flohockey.tv
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Illinois is officially getting second hockey franchise

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