With the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) set to cease operations, TaxSlayer Center officials will explore their options for a new hockey tenant.
This week, it was announced that the Mallards will cease operations after the 2017-18 ECHL season concludes. Financial difficulties were a reportedly a factor in owner Jordan Melville‘s decision to fold the Mallards after their current season.
That decision, however, does not necessarily spell the end of hockey at the TaxSlayer Center. The prospect of landing another ECHL team for the 2018-19 season is being ruled out by the league, but the Moline, IL-based venue could some other options in the mix, including the SPHL and USHL. Upon the announcement that the Mallards would shut down, TaxSlayer Center executive director Scott Mullen indicated that arena officials will explore their options. More from The Quad-City Times:
“We’re pursuing all our options and we’d love to make (hockey next year) happen,” Mullen said. “If we can find the right situation.”
Even though Melville has decided to no longer own the team, he does think that hockey can work in the Quad-Cities, given somebody with the right attitude going in.
“I don’t believe they’re going to be without hockey for very long,” Melville said. “It is a great market, but I think it needs a new start, it needs a new vision, it needs someone to come in and maybe not call it the Mallards anymore. The market needs a new team. The Mallards have had their flight.
“The advice I would give to the new owner is start new. It’s a great hockey town, they love the team, they love the sport but start baggage free.”
While nothing is official at this point, a USHL club at TaxSlayer Center would have plenty of regional rivalries with opponents in existing league cities such as Dubuque, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Madison and Des Moines.
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