The Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates will host the new ECHL club.
Expansion Club will Join the ECHL for the 2011-12 Season
Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Saturday, June 26, 2010) – The East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) announced this week that a franchise in the Chicago region has been approved for the 2011-12 season. The team will play at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, which is a 9500-seat arena located about 25 miles outside of Chicago.
“I am pleased to welcome Hoffman Estates as the newest addition of the ECHL,” ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna said of the Chicago franchise. “We are excited about the potential of both the market and the Sears Centre to showcase the ECHL and look forward to working with Craig and his staff over the next year to prepare for a successful introduction.”
The Chicago club is owned by C & S Family Sports, LLC, with its CEO Craig Drecktrah leading the ownership group. Drecktrah brings a wealth of experience in professional sports to the new ECHL franchise, most recently in four years as a Governor for the International Hockey League (IHL). He has also served on the ownership group for the Chicago Hounds of the United Hockey League (UHL), which played at the Sears Centre during the 2006-07 season, and the Rockford IceHogs of the UHL, which he operated from 2005-07. During the same time frame he was with the IceHogs, Drecktrah also served as an UHL Governor.
“We are in the ECHL, which is exactly where we wanted to be,” Drecktrah stated. “And as such, I guarantee all of our fans and the Village of Hoffman Estates that their new ECHL team will provide buzzer-to-buzzer entertainment. We are leaving everything on the ice every night.”
The Sears Centre has hosted a variety of teams since opening its doors in 2006, such as the Chicago Storm of the Major Indoor Soccer League, Chicago Shamrox of the National Lacrosse League, Chicago Bliss of the Lingerie Football League and the Chicago Slaughter of the Indoor Football League.
“The Village is very excited to welcome an ECHL hockey team to the Sears Centre Arena,” Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod remarked. “With a growing interest in hockey, having an ECHL hockey team at the Sears Centre Arena is a great way to make hockey accessible to families with youth hockey players and fans.”
The ECHL was founded in 1998 and concluded this past season with 20 teams in the United States and Canada. The league is tied into an official feeder system to the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League, and it is widely regarded as the Premier AA hockey league in North America. For more information on the ECHL, visit www.echl.com.