The Birmingham Bulls are back, as the franchise has been granted entry into the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) for the 2017-18 season.
On Wednesday, the SPHL announced that the league would expand to include the Bulls next season. The team will play its games at the Pelham Civic Complex Ice Arena, and will be overseen by Art Clarkson. Clarkson owned a previous incarnation of the Bulls that played in the ECHL from 1992-2001, with his run as an owner lasting from 1992-1998.
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished in this last year to bring the Birmingham Bulls back to the people of the greater Birmingham area,” Clarkson said in a statement.
It was noted here in February that Clarkson had been looking to revive the Bulls, who have a long history in Birmingham. Before the ECHL incarnation of the name, there were versions of the Bulls that played in the World Hockey Association from 1976-79 and the Central Hockey League from 1979-81.
The arrival of the Bulls in the SPHL will coincide with changes to the arena in Pelham, where plans are in place for expanded seating and other upgrades. Pelham officials believe that the arrival of the Bulls will make for a strong addition to the venue. More from AL.com:
Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said that improvements and expansions are being made to the Pelham complex to make professional hockey work.
“Given the improvements we’ve made in our hockey programs at all levels, the move to bring pro hockey to Pelham is the next logical step,” he said.
“We are excited to welcome the Birmingham market as a new member for next season,” SPHL President Jim Combs said in a statement. “Art Clarkson is well-known for his contributions to hockey in this area and we look forward to bringing hockey back to long-time fans of the Birmingham Bulls.”
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