INDIANAPOLIS – Professional hockey is coming back to the Indiana State Fairgrounds! The Indiana State Fair Commission has approved an agreement with Indiana Hockey Club, LLC, an ECHL expansion franchise that will become an anchor tenant for the fairgrounds’ newly renovated Coliseum and begin playing its home games there in October 2014. The two organizations have signed a five-year deal that also calls for the team to house its administrative offices at the fairgrounds.
Carmel businessman Jim Hallett, the chief executive officer and director of KAR Auction Services, one of North America’s largest automotive remarketing companies, is the chairman of Indiana Hockey Club, LLC and no stranger to hockey. He is a lifelong fan, former player and former team owner.
“Professional hockey is back in Indy and we can’t wait to drop the puck,” Hallett said. “We have a great partnership with the Indiana State Fair Commission and a beautiful new arena that will be one of the premier hockey venues in the Midwest. We’ll offer affordable family fun and a competitive brand of hockey that hasn’t been seen here since the Indianapolis IHL team that played in Market Square Arena in the 1990s. “We are already busy assembling a first class organization, and look forward to sharing our progress as we build toward the 2014 season.”
The Coliseum Complex is in the final months of a $63 million renovation that will modernize the entire arena with new lighting, a two-tiered seating bowl, a digital overhead scoreboard, state of the art sound equipment and ample ADA seating. It will accommodate about 6,200 fans for hockey and is scheduled to reopen in April, 2014.
“This deal makes perfect sense for us and we’re happy to have it done before the building opens next spring,” Indiana State Fair Commission Chairman Andre Lacy said. “I remember going to Capitals games in the Coliseum as a boy eager for a puck to come my way, so bringing pro hockey back to the fairgrounds is especially gratifying to me personally.”