An unnamed source confirmed Thursday that the Quad City Mallards and five other International Hockey League teams will join the Central Hockey League next week.
The move will end speculation about the future of the IHL and make the CHL -- which currently has 13 teams -- the largest AA hockey league in the nation.
"Stability is the No. 1 thing, and with stability builds credibility," said the source who is close to the discussions. "The CHL is now the premier, and largest, AA league in the U.S."
Quad City Mallards owner Chris Lencheski declined comment. Lencheski has been candid about having discussed options with the East Coast Hockey League and CHL in addition to the IHL.
CHL commissioner Duane Lewis would not confirm the expansion, but confirmed discussions.
"We think there is a good fit for teams to join the CHL," Lewis said. "We think we have a good model that would work for several teams.
The CHL is scheduled to become a 19-team league or even 20, according to the source, who said the CHL also plans to add an expansion team in addition to the six new member clubs coming from the IHL.
The source acknowledged travel costs will rise for CHL teams because of the league's expansion. In 2009-10, the CHL iced primarily southern teams -- five in Texas and one each in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arizona. In the IHL, the Bloomington (Ill.) PrairieThunder was the most southern team.
However, the CHL operates a team in Independence, Mo., Wichita, Kan., and Rapid City, S.D., setting up more balanced Northern and Southern Conference realignment opportunities to accommodate the six Midwestern/Northern teams coming from the IHL.
The source said travel costs will make it unlikely each team will play every CHLteam during the regular season. Conference and division alignment details are expected to be determined during the CHL summer meetings next week in Phoenix.
The IHL will end a three-season revival -- 2007 to 2010 -- having named itself after a league that operated 1945 to 2001. The Colonial Hockey League formed in 1991, which included the original Quad City Mallards, morphed into the United Hockey League in 1997 before becoming the "new" IHL in 2007.
IHL commissioner Dennis Hextall said he "can't say much" on the topic, but confirmed talks.
"There is stuff being worked on," Hextall said. "Right now, there's no comment."
Today is Saturday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2013. There are 24 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Some excitement was created in our corn market today by two new buyers who ran the price up to 62 cents per bushel. 1888 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Connelly sold the Johnson property at the corner of 2nd Ave. and 15th St. to A.C. Schafer for $1,800. 1913 -- 100 years ago: O.W. Billings and George P. Herzog have opened a new ready-to-wear shop at 1611-13 2nd Ave. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Farmers in this section of Illinois are preparing to seal part of their 1938 corn crop and receive government loans on it up to 57 cents per bushel, depending on the quality and storage conditions. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Dohrn Transfer Co. is displaying its new general headquarters for its nine-state operations at 4016 9th St., Rock Island, today to its employees and tomorrow to its customers. 1988 -- 25 years ago: In 30 minutes under a Tuesday afternoon sun at the Kmart store in Moline, millionaire columnist Percy Ross raised $1,400 for the Salvation Army.