The Central Hockey League plans to expand by a maximum of two teams for the 2014-15 season.
The CHL added teams in St. Charles, Mo., and Brampton, Ontario before the start of this season, replacing the Bloomington Blaze (changed to Thunder and joined Southern Professional Hockey League) and Fort Worth Brahmas (folded) and currently has 10 teams.
“The board is enthusiastic about the current momentum and future direction of the league and wishes to expand beyond its current geographical footprint,” CHL commissioner Steve Ryan said. “We receive numerous expressions of interest for expansion, both formal and informal, and are now prepared to commence a formal bid process.”
The move thrills Brent Thiessen, president of the Missouri Mavericks, which has been named the CHL Franchise of the Year the past three seasons.
“There certainly wasn't any talk like this a few years back when the future of the league was questioned,” Thiessen said. “Now, it's growing and is as popular as it has been in a long time.
“You don't talk about expansion unless the league is stable and successful. We're proud to be a part of this league and hope to be for a long time.”
Last June, team owners acquired the CHL in an asset purchase acquisition from Global Entertainment, a publicly traded company that had owned the league for the previous two decades.
“When we came together to purchase the league, we gained control of our future and the ability to grow the legacy of the CHL into the future,” said Brad Fain, owner of the Arizona Sundogs. “Under the guidance of the commissioner, we believe this will be the best 'AA' minor league in North America. Our efforts to build a sustainable and compelling business model will attract highly qualified and passionate owners in the best markets.”
Mavs rank No. 2 in CHL: The Rapid City Rush (14-2-0) remained the top team on the CHL's Sher-Wood Power Rankings/Coaches Poll.
The ranking's top four remained unchanged with the Missouri Mavericks (12-3-1), Allen Americans (12-6-1) and Denver Cutthroats (10-6-3) sitting No. 2 through No. 4. The Rush received eight first-place votes, and the Mavericks received the other two first-place tallies.
Quad City (7-3-4) moved up a spot to No. 5, the Brampton Beast (10-8-1) moved up a spot to No. 6 and the Tulsa Oilers (10-9-2) fell two spots to No. 7.