Thunderbolts to Skate in Evansville

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Thunderbolts owner Mike Hall was joined by his children for the unveiling. Thunderbolts owner Mike Hall was joined by his children for the unveiling.
EVANSVILLE -

The owner of a new Southern Professional Hockey League franchise in Evansville has announced the name of the team. Mike Hall says Thunderbolts was selected after a public submission process gathered over 1,900 suggestions. The team is set to take the ice this fall.

It will play in the Ford Center for the 2016-2017, filling a pro hockey void left in the city when the IceMen of the ECHL decided to leave town after nine years.

The SPHL and the city announced in February that Evansville would be awarded a franchise in the 10-team, North Carolina-based league.

Ron Geary, owner of the IceMen, said the team could no longer afford to pay the fees required to play in the relatively new Ford Center. He has since announced the pending launch of a different hockey team in nearby Owensboro, providing a multi-million dollar renovation of Owensboro Sports Center is completed.

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