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 Sunday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2014. There are 122 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad will carry all who wish to attend the Chicago convention for half fare — that is, full fare to Chicago and return free. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Hardy Hetter, for several years yardmaster in the Burlington Railroad yards in Rock Island and Moline, was transferred to Beardstown. He was succeeded here by J.E. Albrecht. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Corn was estimated at 50 percent of the normal crop in Rock Island County by Crop Correspondent Thomas Campbell. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Robert Carroll, 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Farr Carroll, of near Aledo, won the grand championship of the Mercer County baby beef show with "Fat Stuff." 1964 -- 50 years ago: About 250 persons attended the first in a series of horse shows at the Hillandale Stables off Knoxville Road near Milan on Saturday afternoon and evening. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Ground was broken this morning for the $4.5 million Rock Valley Business Park near Rock Valley Plaza, Rock Island. The first building is 17,000 square feet for offices and a warehouse and should be completed by Dec. 1.