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Pro hockey could come back to Columbus after two year gap

Looking Back: Cottonmouths to suspend operations: “Unfortunately, the cup is empty.”

After 21 seasons of professional hockey, the Columbus Cottonmouths have suspended operations for the 2017-18 season, Southern Professional Hockey League officials confirmed on Wednesday. The official announcement has been anticipated for several m
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After 21 seasons of professional hockey, the Columbus Cottonmouths have suspended operations for the 2017-18 season, Southern Professional Hockey League officials confirmed on Wednesday. The official announcement has been anticipated for several m

When the Columbus Cottonmouths announced in May 2017 they would be suspending play after 21 years, a vacuum was left that the Columbus Civic Center has struggled to fill.

On Tuesday, a proposal for a new pro hockey team will go before Columbus Council with a promise to fill 30 event days and bring between $75,000 and $95,000 in revenue to the civic center.

Ignite Pro Hockey, LLC, represented by managing member Jeffery Croop of Glen Allen, Virginia, is proposing to rent the center for an initial lease of five years without auto-renewal.

The name of the team has yet to be announced, but play could potentially begin late this fall.

The team will be part of the Federal Hockey League, which currently has six teams on its roster including the Danville Dashers of Danville, Illinois; the Elmira Enforcers of Elmira, New York; the Mentor Ice Breakers of Mentor, Ohio; the Port Huron Prowlers of Port Huron, Michigan; the Carolina Thunderbirds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and the Watertown Wolves of Dewitt, New York.

A memo from Jon Dorman, civic center director, states that the deal structure is similar to the previous agreement with the Cottonmouths.

Dorman’s memo also states that with the addition of Columbus to the Federal Hockey League roster, the league has indicated potential future expansion in the South and Southeast. That includes the team potentially moving to the Southern Professional Hockey League (the former league of the Cottonmouths) or a team from the SPHL moving to a more nationally based federal league.

The lease agreement will be presented to the council for a vote at their meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. April 23 in the second floor council room at the City Services Center.

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