PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL announced on Monday that it will officially welcome Bloomington, Illinois as its newest member.
The team is scheduled to begin play in the ECHL in 2005-06 at a 7,000-seat state-of-the-art multipurpose arena scheduled to be built at a cost of $35.2 million in downtown Bloomington.
"The ECHL is excited to welcome Bloomington into the ECHL," said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. "We are confident that the combination of strong ownership, experienced management, a great facility and the support of hockey fans in the Bloomington/Normal market will prove to be an enormous success in the ECHL. There is already a natural rivalry with the proximity of Peoria, but also because of the history and success Peoria has enjoyed in the ECHL."
The Bloomington membership is a relocation of the Ontario, California membership. The Bloomington membership requested and received a Transfer of Home Territory from the ECHL Board of Governors at the Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting.
Located approximately 40 miles from Peoria, the Bloomington membership was granted permission by the Peoria membership to play within a 60-mile radius of an existing ECHL member.