Coralville Getting First Professional Hockey Team
Professional hockey is officially coming to the city of Coralville. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the announcement was made on Thursday afternoon than an agreement is in place to bring a team from the minor league ECHL to the new Xtream Arena. The expansion team hopes to begin play in the 2021-2022 season.
Coralville Mayor John Lundell told the Gazette that the city has been after a hockey team for Coralville after the new arena became a reality. He said that hockey is a growing sport in the community and the team will be another entertainment option for people who live in Eastern Iowa. The new Xtream Arena will seat 5,100 fans for hockey games and around 6,000 for concerts.
The owner of the expansion franchise is Deacon Sports and Entertainment of Canada. The Gazette reports that they already own the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL. The two sides have a multi-year agreement to use Xtream Arena. The league is considered a double A level of hockey, with each team having an NHL affiliate. While no affiliation has been announced, it is assumed by many that the Minnesota Wild would be an obvious choice. They already have a team in Des Moines in the American Hockey League.
The ECHL was formed in 1988 and has 26 teams set to play for the 2020-2021 season. The league says that over 670 of their players have advanced to play hockey in the NHL.