Mo Mallard can come home.
The Quad-Cities newest hockey team was introduced with a familiar old name on Tuesday at the i wireless Center.
Enlisting Doc Brown's flux capacitor-driven DeLorean Time Machine to hammer home the theme, Chris Lencheski and Eric Galler - the pair of out of town professionals who together form QCHT, LLC - announced "Quack to the Future'' to an estimated 150 avid Q-C puck fans at an introductory media conference at the i wireless Center.
With Lencheski as principal owner, the duo will field the new Quad-City Mallards, a Q-C team in the Double-A International Hockey League starting in October.
That league was formed from the remnants of the United Hockey League that the Quad-Cities left behind two years ago for an unsuccessful attempt at fielding a Triple-A, American Hockey League team.
IHL chairman Michael Franke, who also is president of the league champion Fort Wayne Komets, called the old UHL Mallards "the model franchise in minor league'' hockey during an era when they were winning three UHL titles while drawing crowds of 7,500 or better from 1997 through 2001.
Still, the new Mallards must attempt to reverse a near-decade-old trend of dwindling attendance in a market many feared would not field a professional team next winter.
Scott Mullen, the i wireless Center executive director who worked tirelessly since March to lure a new ownership group to the Q-C, is confident this marketing savvy duo has the creative energy to get the job done.
"The ideas they have shared with me in just the few short weeks I have known them are amazing, and they are going to take the marketing and the promotions to a level they ought to be,'' Mullen said.
Lencheski said his group will attempt to lure back casual fans with fan-friendly promotions, building-aided discounts on concessions and parking, and innovative ideas like allowing a select group of ticket holders access to the team in the locker room for up until a half-hour until face-off.
He said luring casual fans back to the arena will be the key to success, and said giving the fans their money's worth will be the key to doing that.
"When someone spends $15, they are going to leave here knowing that $15 was treated with respect,'' he said.
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Under counsel of consultant Steve Ryan, a former president of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, Lencheski said he and Galler opted for the IHL because its business model is based on an affordable Midwest-based travel budget and a home schedule heavy on weekend dates.
The new owners will be in Fort Wayne, Ind., today to begin working on the schedule. An expansion draft of players on five existing IHL teams, as well as a dispersal draft of the former Kalamazoo Wings roster, will be held on Thursday.
Galler said the hiring of a general manager and coach could be imminent and said the group shortly will begin putting together a sales and marketing team.
"Good people, hard work,'' he said when asked how the new team makes up for lost offseason sales time.
Ticket prices and other marketing plans will be announced in the coming weeks.
That will include the return of mascot Mo Mallard, likely in new togs, Lencheski said.