Last month, Ryan Clark of the Slightly Chilled blog had these two articles about a possible expansion into Marion, Indiana. The Junior Hockey News has this updated article, posted today.
The article from TJHN mentions possible markets of current CHL teams possibly opting to bring in the USHL and leave the pro game behind. As mentioned in the article, the NAHL has done this with a few cities in the south that were home to CHL teams. Those teams (Odessa, Corpus Christie, and Amarillo) have all faired pretty well, with the lowest average attendance of the 3 being 2,070. So if the NAHL can thrive in former pro cities, why can't the USHL thrive in former pro cities in the midwest?
I'm always optimistic when there are expansion rumors surrounding the USHL, and cautiously optimistic when it comes to going into a former pro market with the USHL. So far, it has worked in Muskegon, but we have seen it fail miserably in St. Louis.
These articles are all very good reads and perhaps there could be some rivalries in the making here with teams in the (far) East being a little bit closer.
As a follow up to last weeks article we have spoken to several sources familiar with and close to the expansion process involving the USHL. Sources have confirmed that more than one Central Hockey League team or arena has expressed interest in joining the USHL. The Central Hockey League has in the last few seasons seen defections to the North American Hockey League, those defections largely taking place in non-traditional hockey markets.
Expansion in the USHL is a very controlled event, ownership standards for the USHL are very high, and many wealthy people would struggle to qualify for ownership because in the USHL it is not about money. There is a reason the USHL is the league of choice, the goal for nearly every serious hockey player in the United States, and that is because from top to bottom the league and its member teams do things right.