TaxSlayer Center officials continue to pursue a hockey team for next season, with the Southern Professional Hockey League still in play.
The future of hockey at the Moline, IL-based venue has been in question in recent months. In March, the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) announced that they would fold operations after the 2017-18 season. There has been much discussion since about whether the TaxSlayer Center will land another hockey tenant, and what league could ultimately place a team in the venue.
For right now, it appears that the SPHL is still an option for the upcoming 2018-19 season. An initial May 15 deadline to land an ownership group for a TaxSlayer Center-based team came and went, but arena executive director Scott Mullen says that the league has granted more time. More from the Quad-City Times:
While the TaxSlayer Center was initially given a May 15 deadline by the Southern Professional Hockey League to have an ownership group in place, executive director Scott Mullen said the league has allowed him more time to continue trying to find a group willing to keep hockey in the area for the 23rd straight season.
The Quad-City Mallards ceased hockey operations in April after the 2017-18 ECHL season after owner Jordan Melville announced he would no longer fund the team the month before. Since then, Mullen has been working to get an ownership group in to ensure hockey would remain in the Quad-Cities for next season.
“We all thought this would be done by now but we’ve got moving pieces that just keep changing,” Mullen said.
Mullen says there are still potential ownership groups interested, including one that came forward Monday. He said he doesn’t have a firm deadline or timetable on when a deal needs to be done in order for a team to be in the SPHL for next season.
The SPHL’s current lineup consists of 10 teams, most of which are based in the Southeastern United States. However, the league does feature teams in both Indiana (Evansville Thunderbolts) and Illinois (Peoria Rivermen).