Team owner Chris Lencheski is looking at a landing place for his Quad City Mallards next season, as a move to a different minor league could be in the works — and a Mallards move could send some shock waves through the existing league structures.
We’re expecting movement by teams among the lower tier of professional hockey leagues — ECHL, CHL and IHL — and the Mallards could be part of that. The Mallards played last season in the IHL, but Lencheski is open about seeking a new home for his franchise. He’s been pretty upfront about not wanting to be part of an IHL with less than six teams; with Muskegon walking away from the league and going with a USHL franchise, the IHL is currently at five teams, with the future of the Flint Generals certainly up in the air. Putting a team in Evansville — sure to lose money playing at a 1,000-seat arena — is a stopgap at best.
So, the question is whether Fort Wayne Komets owner Michael Franke — the passion behind the IHL — can keep things together. There’s been talk of four IHL teams moving to the ECHL, but it appears that talk of a move to the CHL is dead for now. If Quad City leaves the IHL, the move could effective kill the league — but never count Franke out. He’s revived the circuit from the dead more than once.