By Brian Compton
NHL.com Staff Writer
The International Hockey League’s loss has become the ECHL’s gain.
With a need to put another team in the North Division following the loss of the Dayton Bombers, the ECHL’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the expansion membership application of the Kalamazoo Wings, who will begin play in the Double-A league this October in a deal that was orchestrated remarkably fast.
“This came together in about 6-8 days,” team president Paul Pickard told NHL.com. “It was a decision that was made by our owner, William Johnson. Once he made the decision, we recognized the window of opportunity was going to be small. Through the cooperation of the ECHL, we were able to get it done.”
Professional hockey has been played in Kalamazoo, Mich., since 1974-75 — including the last two seasons in the new IHL, a reincarnation of the league that ceased operations in 2001 after more than 50 years. Kalamazoo, which will play its home games at Wings Stadium, ranked second in the league in attendance both years.