USHL adding team in Bloomington

File photo.
File photo.

The United States Hockey League plans to expand to Bloomington, Ill., for next season, the league announced Tuesday.

The Bloomington Thunder, currently in the Southern Professional Hockey League, will leave the pro minor league ranks for the junior league, which also includes the Green Bay Gamblers.

Under the terms of the proposal, reviewed by the League’s Commissioner and the USHL Executive Committee and presented to the League’s Board of Directors last week, the Bloomington team would play its home games at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in downtown Bloomington, a venue that was opened in the spring of 2006 and has a seating capacity of up to 6,000 fans for hockey.

Final approval of the expansion USHL Member Club and proposal is subject to execution of proper documentation with the League and review being undertaken by the USHL Commissioner’s Office and the Executive Committee, and to final approval by the USHL Board of Directors.

The Thunder will be the second new team joining the USHL this fall, as the Madison Capitols are also joining. The moves will bring the USHL to a total of 18 teams.

The Thunder played one season in the SPHL, after playing two seasons in the CHL. Prior to that, Bloomington hosted minor league teams dubbed the Prairie Thunder and Blaze played in multiple leagues from 2006-11.

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