IHL STRETCHES FROM PEORIA TO THE "HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH"
The IHL awarded its 19th expansion franchise to the Richard
DeVos family and Orlando. The team will play in the Orlando
Arena, home of DeVos' NBA Magic. The Orlando franchise paid $6M
to join the league and plans to spend around $1.2M to upgrade the
arena for hockey. Orlando Magic GM Pat Williams, who admitted
that the new owners "do not know much about hockey": "The whole
thing happened in not much more than six weeks. ... They really
came to us." Williams said there was a possibility that the team
will affiliate with the neighboring Tampa Bay Lightning, who
played 5 regular season games in Orlando last year. The IHL is
expected to announce another expansion franchise in San Francisco
today (Cammy Clark, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/14).