The Bloomington Blaze will compete in the Southern Professional Hockey League next season, after spending the past two seasons in the Central Hockey League. The Blaze will be joined by the Peoria Rivermen in their new league, after the latter officially lost its American Hockey League squad Monday.
In two seasons in the CHL, the Blaze failed to make the playoffs. A call to TC Sports, which is operating the Blaze, confirmed that the team will be moving to the SPHL, which is considered the Single-A level of hockey, from the Double-A CHL. The Blaze had planned to officially make the announcement today.
The move strips the Quad-City Mallards of their nearest geographic rival, who they played 19 times this past season. The Mallards' closest remaining rival from last season is the Missouri Mavericks, who are located 375 miles away. The CHL was a 10-team league last season, and plans to add teams in St. Charles, Mo., and Brampton, Ontario, for the 2013-14 season.