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Wings relocating to Indianapolis

April 20, 2004 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Danville Wings News Release

Lou Mervis, owner of the Danville Wings, announced on Monday the relocation of the Danville Wings hockey organization to Indianapolis, Indiana.

As part of the relocation, Mervis will partner with Indianapolis businessman Paul Skjodt, allowing the team to play in the Pepsi Coliseum, one of America's most tradition-steeped arenas. Josh Mervis, General Manager of the Danville Wings, will continue as general manager and vice president for operations of the Indianapolis team. Mervis will oversee all on-ice operations of the Indianapolis organization.

Lou Mervis, who has owned the team for nine years, cited continued operating losses as the reason for the relocation.

"Despite the community's support, the Danville Wings lost over $500,000 last year. We cannot continue to sustain such a large operating loss," said Mervis.

The Danville Wings average the lowest attendance of any team in the United States Hockey League, well below the League's minimum attendance requirements. At the start of the 2003- 2004 season, the Wings established an attendance goal of 1,600 spectators per game, consistent with League policy. They averaged 964 per game during the season.

"We appreciate the community's support, but we fell far short of meeting the attendance goals established at the season's outset," said Mervis.

In an effort to maintain junior hockey in East Central Illinois, Mervis has collaborated with a group of community and government interests in Champaign-Urbana to develop a multi-use facility with two sheets of ice. The facility will house a Tier I junior hockey organization. With the Danville Wings' relocation, Mervis has committed to purchasing another organization for the Champaign-Urbana market.

"This transaction does not in any way alter my commitment to brining a Tier I junior hockey organization to Champaign-Urbana. I have already committed the funds to bring an existing USHL Tier I franchise to the area. When the Champaign-Urbana facility opens, we'll be there."

Additionally, Mervis will support efforts to locate a Junior 'B' team in Danville.

"I remain committed to junior hockey in Danville," said Mervis, who thanked the many loyal Wings supporters for their nine years of dedication to the program.

"I appreciate the loyalty of our fans, our housing families, our corporate sponsors, and our staff. Your nine years of dedication have made the Danville Wings one of the great programs in junior hockey."

During Mervis' tenure with the Wings in Danville, 83 of his players received scholarships to play Division I college hockey. In addition, the club compiled an exemplary community service standard that repeatedly garnered league recognition.

All media members with questions should contact Jayson Hron, USHL Director of Communications, at (763) 416-4974.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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