The Federal Prospects Hockey League made the expansion rumors official Wednesday afternoon with a press conference at Grossinger Motors Arena, officially announcing the addition of an 11th team to the league that will play in Bloomington, Illinois, and will be owned by Barry Soskin.
The team will take the ice for the 2020-21 season at Grossinger Motors Arena.
In all, the press conference lasted about 12 minutes, and featured comments from FPHL Commissioner Don Kirnan, and Soskin.
No team name, colors, or anything regarding their branding for the team was announced, but Soskin did say that there will be a name the team contest, that ticket prices will be announced next week, and that tickets will go on sale starting next week as well.
But as the FPHL does at these things, they gave away a ton of information about the future of the league, with Don Kirnan leading off the press conference by stating the the league has started to focus on bigger arenas (Grossinger Motors Arena seats about 7,000 for hockey), and that they are not done expanding yet for this off-season, with more announcements hopefully made within the next 45 days.
That was followed up by Soskin who said, “…It looks really good for 13 or 14 for next year,” in regards to future expansion, the only concrete number we’ve seen in regards to how big the league may be next season, provided none of the current teams fold.
With Bloomington being the 11th team, it appears that the Memphis/Southaven market could be in line to get team No. 12, with the group behind that bid telling BLH that things continue to go well in their talks with the Landers Center in Southaven.
That brings up a TON of questions about where the FPHL could put team 13, and possibly even team 14. There’s been a lot of talk about Biloxi, who has even gone on the record in stating the there has been interest from teams, and are currently in the process of updating their scoreboard. And then don’t forget that the FPHL also has two neutral site games scheduled for Athens, Georgia, who is looking into the possibility of a 6,000-seat arena. But those two are just the tip of the iceberg, and as we’ve seen with the Fed and the recent additions in Mentor, Delware, and Battle Creek, almost no market or rink is off limits.
We’ll keep our ears to the ground in regards to more expansion announcements and information, as well as information on the developments in Bloomington, but it certainly looks like it will be a busy start to the winter for the FPHL.
In addition to the expansion announcement regarding the team in Bloomington, as well as the hints dropped about future expansion, the league announced that Grossinger Motors Arena will play host to three neutral site games in early 2020, with Danbury playing Carolina on January 3 and 4, and then Danville taking on Port Huron on March 21, bringing the FPHL’s neutral site total to five games this season.
There are a lot of questions from fans about the FPHL coming to Bloomington, just go check out the local newspaper’s Facebook page for proof of that, but one thing the Fed has done correctly with this decision, and the pending 1-3 other expansion announcements, is getting them knocked out early.
Bloomington will have roughly 11 months to get a staff, marketing, ticket sales, and whatever else a team needs, while the other teams, if announced within that 45-day window Kirnan mentioned, would have around 10 months, a much better number and realistic time frame than the three months Mentor and Battle Creek have had each of the last two off-seasons.
So the FPHL has a team in Bloomington, and more on the way, your thoughts on this development, and what markets would you like to see the league expand into for next season?