What an interesting 7 days it has been in the world of junior hockey. First, you’ve got the Central Illinois Flying Aces of the USHL asking for withdrawal from the league for the 2019-2020 season. Next, you’ve got the NAHL announcing two brand new expansions to their league.
Let’s first look at the Central Illinois Flying Aces and how things have gone belly up for them. According to David Proeber of The Pantagraph, he spoke with Zoran Rajcic who is Vice President for CSH International, Inc. of Everett Washington, which owns the Flying Aces. From their discussion it looks like money is the biggest reason for this “withdrawal” that sounds more like ownership is looking for someone to come in and buy:
“After the last few seasons the (financial) losses have been too insurmountable to stay in that marketplace,” said Rajcic when reached Thursday night.
From the sounds of it, it doesn’t sound like its working out in Bloomington which is kind of odd because if you’ve ever been to Bloomington, Illinois, there’s nothing out there besides Illinois State Football, Basketball and corn. I’m pretty sure you could have a $1 beer night in that college town and you’d finance the team for over 10 years.
The players that will stay in the USHL, will take part in a dispersal draft at some point during the off season.
So, while a Tier 1 team is being teared down, you’ve got two new teams in the Tier 2 NAHL able to start up.
The NAHL just recently announced they will be bringing in the Maine Nordiques in Lewiston and the New Mexico Ice Wolves out of Albuquerque.
While the league continues to build on their foot print in the south, the more interesting part is they have added another team out east and will add in their sharing of territory with the EHL. While one is considered Tier 3, the EHL does a good job on it own of developing and sending players to NCAA hockey.
Both of these teams will take part in the 2019-2020 season.