Florida company interested in bringing hockey team to area - WNEM TV 5

Florida company interested in bringing hockey team to area

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The Saginaw Spirit are getting some company in Mid-Michigan.

Exciting plans were announced on Tuesday that will likely bring a new hockey team to the area.

A company plans on acquiring Perani Arena in Flint to place a new hockey team there.

"What you're going to see here is the best of the best of hockey from age group 16 through 20 years old," said Rolf Nilson, with IMS-USA.

Nilson is excited about the caliber of hockey he plans on bringing to Flint and Genesee County. His company, based out of Cape Coral, FL, will spend between $2 million to $3 million upgrading Perani Arena and acquiring a new hockey team to play in it.

The organization will apply for membership in the United States Hockey League. That is a tier-one junior hockey league that is very competitive and would bring high caliber hockey to the area.

As for the arena itself, Nilson said the interior is in great shape, but the outside needs some improvements.

"Giving it some better curb appeal, the sign out on I-69, improving that sign, I think would be fantastic. There's 80,000 cars a day that drive by it," he said.

Developers said upgrading the arena and bringing a new hockey team to the area will really beef up the economy.

City and county officials agree, saying it could also mean concerts and other events at the arena.

"Right now we have very limited entertainment in Genesee County. Our people are driving 45 minutes and paying top dollar, one way, for entertainment," said Jamie Curtis, Genesee County commissioner.

Officials said there's a 90 percent chance that the organization will receive the OK from the USHL in January to have a team in the league for the 2015-2016 season.

The current hockey team playing at Perani is the Flint Warriors of the North American Hockey League. That squad will probably be sold and moved to another city.

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