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ECHL approves expansion team in Indianapolis @NHLdotcom

The ECHL announced on Tuesday that the Board of Governors has approved the Expansion Membership application of the Indianapolis Fuel for admission to the league.

Indianapolis will begin play in October, 2014 when the ECHL opens its 27th season, making it the third-oldest active professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

"We are proud to welcome Indianapolis as the newest Member of the ECHL," Commissioner Brian McKenna said. "The city has a rich hockey tradition and is an ideal addition to our mid-west geography. I would like to thank the Indiana State Fairgrounds Commission and [Fuel owner] Jim Hallett and his team for their tireless efforts to make this a reality."

With the addition of Indianapolis, the ECHL will welcome 23 teams for the 2014-15 season.

"I grew up playing hockey on frozen ponds and never lost my love of the sport," said Hallett. "I've also spent nearly 20 years here in the Midwest, and I've seen how sports bring a community to life -- especially in Indianapolis. I want to feed the passion for hockey that's already here, introduce more Hoosiers to it and leave this team as a civic legacy to Central Indiana."

Indianapolis will play its home games at the Fairgrounds Coliseum, a 6,145-seat building located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Coliseum was originally constructed in 1939, and is currently in the midst of a major renovation which began on Oct. 29, 2012. The renovations include a two-level seating bowl, a new video scoreboard and a state-of-the-art sound system.

"This is the most important capital project in the history of the State Fairgrounds, renovating the Coliseum to be a premier venue for sports, entertainment and Fair festivities -- hopefully for another 75 years or more," said Andre Lacy, chair of the Indiana State Fairgrounds Commission. "We're very proud to welcome the Indy Fuel as the Coliseum's anchor tenant."

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