Faced with the impending departure of the Quad City Mallards (ECHL), TaxSlayer Center officials continue to explore their options for bringing another hockey team to the arena.
Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the Mallards will fold operations at the conclusion of the current 2017-18 ECHL season. Financial difficulties were a reportedly a factor in owner Jordan Melville‘s decision to fold the Mallards, and the team’s upcoming departure leaves questions about the future of hockey at the TaxSlayer Center.
Down the road, however, the TaxSlayer Center could attract a new hockey tenant to replace the Mallards. Nothing has been finalized to this point, but TaxSlayer Center executive director Scott Mullen indicates that the venue will vet its options. It also appears that multiple leagues could viable fits for the Moline, IL venue. More from the Quad-City Times:
“We’re in the process of getting their financial information,” Mullen said of the offers. “Some are for real and some aren’t, some just don’t have the money and others we’re waiting on more information from. When we get everyone’s info we’ll figure out if there’s someone that’s going to work, put two groups together, or do nothing. We don’t want to do it if it’s going to fail.”
One option that seems realistic is for the team to join the Southern Professional Hockey League, with the Peoria Rivermen operating just 100 miles away.
The Peoria Journal Star reported Monday that a group of prospective owners made the trip to the Carver Center and met with Rivermen co-owner Bart Rogers prior to a Sunday game against Evansville.
Mullen was not aware of who the prospective owners who visited Peoria were, but did confirm the TaxSlayer Center was looking at the SPHL as a possible option. Mullen also said that the ECHL and the United States Hockey League are being considered as well.
An SPHL club at the TaxSlayer Center could have a rivalry with Peoria. The USHL also presents a broad slate of potential regional rivalries, as the circuit currently features teams in cities such as Dubuque, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Madison and Des Moines.