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ECHL expands to Hoffman Estates

Pro hockey returns to Hoffman Estates’ Sears Centre in 2011, as a new ECHL franchise will set up shop in a place where hockey can work.

The ECHL announced on Thursday that the Board of Governors has approved the Expansion Membership application of Chicago for admission to the ECHL.

Chicago is scheduled to begin play in October 2011.

The Chicago membership is owned by C & S Family Sports, LLC, an entity controlled by owner/CEO Craig Drecktrah. The team will play its home games at the Sears Centre, located in suburban Hoffman Estates, Ill., approximately 25 miles northwest of Chicago.

The Sears Centre opened in 2006 and has a capacity of 9,400 for hockey. It features 43 luxury suites with two lounges on the private suite concourse. The facility was formerly home to the Chicago Hounds of the UHL, a team that drew fairly well but was folded after the firm managing the arena and the team couldn’t made ends meet.

“I am pleased to welcome Hoffman Estates as the newest addition of the ECHL,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “We are excited about the potential of both the market and the Sears Centre to showcase the ECHL and look forward to working with Craig and his staff over the next year to prepare for a successful introduction.”

“We are in the ECHL, which is exactly where we wanted to be,” said Drecktrah. “And as such, I guarantee all of our fans and the Village of Hoffman Estates that their new ECHL team will provide buzzer-to-buzzer entertainment. We are leaving everything on the ice every night.”

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