Peoria Rivermen (SPHL)

The Peoria Rivermen are a professional ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League. They play in Peoria, Illinois, United States at the Carver Arena. The team replaced an American Hockey League franchise of the same name that was purchased by the Vancouver Canucks and moved out of Peoria to Utica, New York.[1][2]

Peoria Rivermen
Peoria Rivermen.PNG
CityPeoria, Illinois
LeagueSouthern Professional Hockey League
Home arenaCarver Arena
ColorsRed, navy, gold, white
Owner(s)CSH International Inc.
General managerJean-Guy Trudel
Head coachJean-Guy Trudel
MediaPeoria Journal Star
Regular season titles4 (2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19)

The Rivermen are one of the few teams in the SPHL outside the southern United States, along with the Bloomington Thunder (2013–14 season only), the Evansville Thunderbolts (since the 2016–17 season), and the Quad City Storm (since the 2018–19 season).

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rivermen are one of several SPHL teams to not participate in the 2020–21 season.[3]


On May 13, 2013, it was reported by the Journal Star that after being told the city would no longer have an AHL team, former Rivermen executives John Butler and Bart Rogers and former Rivermen owner Bruce Saurs announced that they had applied for admission into the Southern Professional Hockey League in an attempt to save hockey in Peoria. The SPHL is a low-minor hockey league with teams mostly based in the southeastern United States. Butler and Rogers' plan also included for the group to purchase the Bloomington Blaze of the struggling Central Hockey League and also move them to the SPHL. There was an SPHL Board of Governors and franchise general managers emergency conference call scheduled for the morning of May 14, 2013, to decide on the admission of the Rivermen and the Blaze.[4]

On May 15, 2013, it was officially announced that the team had been accepted into the SPHL, along with the newly named Bloomington Thunder, ending the uncertainty of whether Peoria would have a minor professional hockey team in the coming year. Both teams were owned by Illinois Pro Sports, LLC. The Thunder would be shut down after one season when another ownership group obtained an expansion team in the junior United States Hockey League for Bloomington,[5] isolating the Rivermen in the north.

In 2017, the majority ownership of the Rivermen was sold to CSH International Inc., the same owners of the Bloomington USHL franchise, with the former owners, Bart Rogers and John Butler, staying on with minority ownership.[6]


  1. ^ Eminian, Dave (2013-03-29). "Blues moving Rivermen out of Peoria at end of season - Peoria, IL". Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  2. ^ "Utica Comets to join AHL in 2013-14". American Hockey League. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  3. ^ "SPHL announces changes for 2020-2021 season". SPHL. October 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Eminian, Dave (2013-05-13). "Peoria to join SPHL under former Rivermen management team - Peoria, IL". Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  5. ^ "USHL conditionally accepts Bloomington team". The Pantagraph. April 1, 2014.
  6. ^ "Peoria Rivermen have a new majority owner". Journal Star. August 24, 2017.

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