I just got off the phone with a well-placed source within the IHL and the person told me I should be careful using the word "merger," in regards to what's going down between the IHL and Central Hockey League.
Here is what I'm being led to believe: It will be more of an affiliation between the two leagues, and there will be two or three divisions next season with little or no inter-league play.
That would solve the single biggest thing I don't understand about all this: How these IHL teams will deal with the exorbitant travel costs that come with making even one trip to Texas.
I bet the Komets continue playing the same five opponents next season, with the possible addition of teams in, say, Evansville or St. Charles, Mo.
That would start to make a lot of sense.
It would be cool to have no inter-divisional play and have teams meet for the first time in the playoffs, and it would save a lot of money. (Think AFL vs. NFL.)
Alas, the likelihood of making no trips to Texas seems slim.
What did IHL commissioner Dennis Hextall have to say?
"There have been conversations (with the CHL) and we're working on things," he said. "We're working on establishing our teams from the IHL (there). Hopefully, by next week, we'll be in as position that there will be an announcement."
What about Komets president Michael Franke?
"Nothing's been done yet or set in stone," Franke said, "and I don't anticipate anything will occur until the middle of next week."
A couple things of note:
- The CHL is unionized, and that would be something the Komets haven't dealt with since 1999. Even if the IHL somehow stayed independent, I imagine the Professional Hockey Players' Association would have to be involved. I've heard there is a lot of strife going on between the CHL and PHPA, though.
- Since this blog post, I've had three IHL people tell me ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna was being disingenuous and that there has been dialogue between the IHL and ECHL in the past couple of weeks.
- I have to wonder, if the IHL joins forces with the CHL, how many games they will play. The IHL was slated to play 70 games and the CHL to play 64. The IHL will fight to have more than 32 home dates.
- The Komets did move their deposit deadline for season-ticket holders back to June 4, Franke said, but it has nothing to do with the possible league shakeup. They routinely do that, he said, when the team reaches the Finals, recognizing that fans just had to pony up a lot of money in the playoffs.
- So, do shares in Global Entertainment Group, which owns the CHL, go up or down because of this?
- Thanks for record Ice Chips readership today.