An ECHL hockey team is coming to Coralville's Xtream Arena next year
Coralville city administrator Kelly Hayworth speaks about the new ECHL hockey team that will call the Xtream Arena its home, Sept. 17, 2020. Iowa City Press-Citizen
Prior to Thursday's ribbon-cutting for Coralville's new Xtream Arena, arena management gathered press in the development's media room for the facility's inaugural press announcement.
"We are very excited to have an announcement today that we have signed a lease with a new hockey team," Coralville city administrator Kelly Hayworth told the crowd. "An ECHL hockey team that we're going to be very proud to start here next fall."
The team's owner will be Deam MacDonald of Deacon Sports & Entertainment, who also owns two other ECHL teams, including the Newfoundland Growlers.
The East Coat Hockey League is a "AA" hockey league encompassing more than two dozen teams through the U.S. and Canada. Though the league's 2020-21 season is set to begin on Dec. 4, Coralville's as-yet-unnamed team won't hit the ice until the league's 34th season kicks off next fall.
According to the ECHL website, over the course of a typical 72-game season, the league draws an average of 4,445 fans per game. That number is just shy of the arena's 5,100 fixed seats, and MacDonald hopes to fill the space when the city's team hosts its first home match-up next year.
“It’s incumbent upon us to put a very good product on the ice," MacDonald said. “The thing I absolutely adore about your city is it has such a good vibe, so in my mind, the bar is set very high for us, in terms of providing entertainment.”
MacDonald said "the economic impact — in terms of hotels, restaurants, employment — is about $14 or $15 million a year" in St. John's, Newfoundland, home to the Newfoundland Growlers and 150,000 Canadians.
Though the team is as yet unnamed — MacDonald suggested a contest could be heald locally to determine that nomenclature — those who toured the area Thursday night likely noticed some recurrent coloring used throughout the arena, a fact that hasn't been lost on ArenaCo president Josh Shaumbauger and his associates.
"We've joked that the whole arena is black and gold, so we know at least what the colors should be."
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