BLOOMINGTON — Multiple prospective owners have expressed interest in becoming the next hockey tenant at U.S. Cellular Coliseum, Central Illinois Arena Management officials said Thursday.
But no meetings have taken place between Bloomington PrairieThunder ownership and the downtown arena, CIAM president John Butler said.
“I have not been contacted (by the PrairieThunder),” Butler said.
The PrairieThunder has been the arena’s only hockey tenant since it was constructed.
The team’s five-year lease with the Coliseum ended three weeks ago when the team was eliminated from the Central Hockey League playoffs.
PrairieThunder lead owner Tim Leighton, who has been the front man on negotiations for the team, has deferred comment to team general manager Jim Riggs.
Riggs, however, said he has few details, adding that Leighton has told him “he is working on it.”
“He has said that he is committed to having hockey in Bloomington,” Riggs said.
Butler said he has been in contact with CHL officials but would not discuss any ongoing negotiations, only to say that he has not met with Leighton on the lease.
Butler added that he remains open to discussions with “anyone interested in providing a professional hockey team for the Coliseum.”
Also, Riggs is now the PrairieThunder’s only full-time employee in the front office. Chad Bevers, who was director of sales and marketing, has taken a leave of absence, according to Riggs.
Riggs said the front office is occupied by him, part owner Donna Wampler and a couple of interns.