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BLOOMINGTON - Voting to name Bloomington's hockey team has been close among the five choices, according to one contest official.

The Name the Team contest ended Friday, but the results of voting will not be released for another two weeks or so, said Beau Bradle, director of sales and marketing for the managers of U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

The options for the Bloomington United Hockey League team that will take the ice next fall at the Coliseum are the 66ers, Bolts, Bullfrogs, Firestorm and Prairie Thunder.

The results of the voting will determine the name of the team.

"All the names were in the running near the end of the week," Bradle said. "Everything is very even."

By Thursday, the arena management had received more than 2,000 votes.

A panel from contest sponsors The Pantagraph and Central Illinois Arena Management narrowed the choice from the 836 names submitted down to five.

More than 2,300 entries suggesting team names were submitted for the first round of the contest, but many were duplicates.

Jonell Kehias, marketing services manager for The Pantagraph, said interest in the team and participation in the contest has been phenomenal.

"From reading the comments on , the story has generated quite a bit of interest - some good, some bad - but it is great to see the community taking such an interest in its team," Kehias said.

Originally, the contest panel thought they would narrow the list to three names. Bradle said it was hard to trim the list, so five names were chosen instead.

No specific date for an announcement on what the team's name will be has been made.

The person who submitted the winning name will receive two season tickets for the 2006-07 hockey season, a team-signed jersey and an opportunity to "present the puck" at a home game.


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