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An ECHL game between the Chicago Express and the Toledo Walleye
Photo credit: Toledo Blade

BREAKING: Major Expansion Plans Announced in Chicago

Published January 17, 2024 at 1:21 PM
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Chicago to Get New Hockey Team Next Season

In a major development, the East Coast Hockey League announced a new expansion team in Illinois, set to debut in the 2024-25 season.

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The #ECHL Board of Governors has approved an Expansion Membership for Bloomington, Illinois to begin play in the 2024-25 Season.




The name and NHL affiliations of this upcoming team are yet to be announced.

This expansion aligns with a growing trend among NHL teams to establish affiliations with third-tier hockey teams to help with player development. While some NHL teams currently partner with ECHL affiliates, others are yet to do so.

The Chicago Blackhawks are affiliated with Indy Fuel for the moment. Interestingly, the Hallett Sports and Entertainment ownership group, who has the Indy Fuel, is the buyer of the new ECHL team in Illinois.

The team, which will begin play in the 2024-25 season, will be owned by Hallett Sports and Entertainment, which also owns and operates the Indy Fuel and newly expanded Fishers Freight football team as part of the Indoor Football League.

The relationship between the new team and the Blackhawks' existing affiliate remains uncertain. Given the frequent changes in affiliations within lower-tier professional leagues like the ECHL, don't be surprised if a change is announced soon.

More to come.

As seen on Hockey Patrol - BREAKING: New Expansion Team Heading To Chicago
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January 17   |   59 answers
BREAKING: Major Expansion Plans Announced in Chicago

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