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Scott Mullen has been hard at work to try and ensure hockey remains in the Quad-Cities.

The executive director of the TaxSlayer Center has been fielding interest from several ownership groups in the two weeks since current Quad-City Mallards owner Jordan Melville announced he would cease operations at the end of this season.

Howard Cornfield has also been helping as a consultant to determine which offers are legitimate. Cornfield was the longtime owner, team president and general manager of the Mallards, the architect of the early successes of the franchise.

"We're in the process of getting their financial information," Mullen said of the offers. "Some are for real and some aren't, some just don't have the money and others we're waiting on more information from. When we get everyone's info we'll figure out if there's someone that's going to work, put two groups together, or do nothing. We don't want to do it if it's going to fail."

One option that seems realistic is for the team to join the Southern Professional Hockey League, with the Peoria Rivermen operating just 100 miles away. 

The Peoria Journal Star reported Monday that a group of prospective owners made the trip to the Carver Center and met with Rivermen co-owner Bart Rogers prior to a Sunday game against Evansville.

Mullen was not aware of who the prospective owners who visited Peoria were, but did confirm the TaxSlayer Center was looking at the SPHL as a possible option. Mullen also said that the ECHL and the United States Hockey League are being considered as well.

"If somebody can show us they've got the money to do it and can do it right," Mullen said. "A lot of it depends on them. We'll want to see their budgets and make sure they have the capital to do it." 

A decision could be coming soon. SPHL commissioner Jim Combs said he'd like May 15 to be the deadline for a Quad-Cities owner to join his league, while Mullen expressed desire to get a deal done beforehand.

"I know Peoria wants us in the league," Mullen said. "But we're dealing with a few different entities."

ECHL, PHPA ratify new CBA: The ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players' Association announced the ratification of a new five-year collective bargaining agreement last week. The new CBA, effective from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2023, has been modified to include enhancements to the veteran reserve system, housing and travel reimbursement provisions, basic medical benefits for players and their families through the off-ice health insurance program as well as increases to the salary cap and per diem.

Ex-Mallards sweep weekly awards: A pair of former Quad-City Mallards earned league recognition this week.

Parker Milner was named the CCM goaltender of the week after going 4-0-0 with a 1.41 goals against average and a .937 save percentage in four games with the South Carolina Stingrays. Milner played for the Mallards in the 2014-15 season, going 24-14-3 with a 2.28 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.

Brady Brassart was named the Sher-Wood Athletics Group player of the week after scoring one goal and adding four assists in two games last week. Brassart played two seasons with the Mallards from 2015-17, scoring 20 goals and adding 40 assists in 93 games.

This week: The Mallards travel to Rapid City, South Dakota, to face the Rapid City Rush at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. The Mallards and Rush have not faced each other this season. Both games can be heard on Fox Sports Radio 1230 AM.

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Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times