PEORIA, Ill. – The Peoria Rivermen, in partnership with the Peoria Civic Center, announced Friday that they have reached an agreement for the Rivermen to continue to play their home games at the Civic Center through the 2014-15 season.
The five-year lease was finalized earlier today by Peter McLoughlin, CEO of St. Louis Blues Enterprises, and Debbie Ritschel, SMG General Manager of the Peoria Civic Center. As is club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are very excited to have come to an agreement with the Civic Center on an extension of our rental agreement,” said Peter McLoughlin, CEO St. Louis Blues Enterprises. “We have always believed that Peoria should be the home of the Rivermen and this agreement allows us to continue to deepen our relationship with the city, the local business community and our fans – whom we truly believe are the best in the AHL.”
Peoria Civic Center Authority Chairman Peter Couri stated “The signing of this next five years with the Blues organization and the AHL Rivermen continues a proud tradition of professional hockey at the Peoria Civic Center. We encourage other business owners and citizens to consider purchasing season tickets or becoming sponsors and joining us in supporting high level hockey in Peoria.”
SMG General Manager Debbie Ritschel noted that Peoria Civic Center staff members are pleased that the long term partnerships with not only the Rivermen staff but the Rivermen fans will continue for at least five more years. “Cities need exciting activities to attract and retain people from all walks of life. Rivermen hockey games offer top notch sports entertainment to the entire Peoria metro area. We are excited about the Blues involvement with the Rivermen and appreciate the opportunity to seal the next five years contract agreement several months early.”
Built in 1982, the Peoria Civic Center has been home to a professional hockey team 28 years. The Peoria Prancers began play during the 1982-83 season in the International Hockey League before changing their name to the Rivermen in 1984. After 12 seasons in the IHL, the Rivermen joined the East Coast Hockey League in 1996 and ultimately became part of the American Hockey League prior to the 2005-06 season.
Only July 3, 2008 SCP Worldwide, principal owner and operator of the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues, finalized the purchase of the Peoria Rivermen.
The Peoria Civic Center is an SMG managed facility. It recently completed a $55 million expansion and upgrade, which made the Peoria Civic Center the largest convention facility in downstate Illinois. The project included a new total exhibit hall space of 110,000 sq. ft., a new total meeting space of 45,000 sq. ft., over 100 new restroom facilities, a new box office and Rivermen team store, new pre-function space, and a 65-foot-high Great Hall atrium.