MACON, Ga. – There’s a new team scheduled to begin to play in the SPHL this fall, and it’ll add to the league’s northern footprint.
The league announced on Wednesday that it will be expanding to Danville, Illinois for the 2021-22 season, following a unanimous vote of approval by both the SPHL Board of Governors and board of the David S. Palmer Arena.
The team will take the ice under the moniker of the Vermillion County Bobcats.
As far as arenas go, the Bobcats home venue will be among the league’s smallest. According to the venue’s Wikipedia page, it has a seating capacity of 2,350.
Danville is hardly a stranger to pro hockey in recent years. In 2011, the Danville Dashers of the FPHL began play at the Palmer Arena, but due to COVID-19 was not among the team’s returning to play this season.
Now, Danville and the surrounding region will move ahead within the SPHL.
Assuming that the rest of the league returns to play next season, Vermillion County would give the SPHL an 11-team lineup. Not only that, but it’d also represent another addition to the league’s northern arc, joining Peoria and Quad City, and Evansville.
With the prospect of the league returning to play, that’s certainly more friendly in terms of travel costs.
Consider the approximate travel distance for each Peoria, Quad City, and Evansville to the Palmer Arena:
Peoria: 121 miles
Quad City: 214 miles
Evansville: 164 miles
The next closest SPHL team in terms of distance?
Huntsville, some 423 miles away.
Establishing a rivalry should not be difficult for the newest team. With multiple teams so close together, proximity, as well as fans being able to travel to opposing arenas, is also much easier than, say, road tripping from Pensacola to Peoria a few times a year.
Brad Harrison covers the Macon Mayhem for The Sin Bin and is also the SPHL Editor. Follow or interact with him at @SinBinMayhem