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updated: 4/6/2012 2:38 PM

Chicago Express folds after 1 season at Sears Centre

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  • Chicago Express owner Craig Drecktrah speaks to the press during team media day last October at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

       Chicago Express owner Craig Drecktrah speaks to the press during team media day last October at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.
    George Leclaire | Staff Photographer October

  • The Chicago Express of the ECHL, which played its games at Sears Centre Arena, has ceased operations after one season, team officials announced Friday.

      The Chicago Express of the ECHL, which played its games at Sears Centre Arena, has ceased operations after one season, team officials announced Friday.
    Chicago Express file photo

 
Daily Herald staff report

After one season of competing in the ECHL, Chicago Express officials have decided to close their operations in Hoffman Estates and withdraw from the ECHL.

For the Sears Centre Arena, it is the second hockey team to fold there. The Chicago Hounds previously played at the Hoffman Estates arena.

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"Although the Chicago Express are ceasing operations, on behalf of the staff and players, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for all the support we received from the village of Hoffman Estates, Global Spectrum, our business and community partners, our corporate sponsors, and especially, our fans," team owner Craig Drecktrah said in a statement released Friday morning. "I would also like to thank our ECHL partners, and wish good luck to those teams participating in the 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs."

Bob Mills, director of media relations and broadcasting for the Express, said the organization would make no further comment on its disbanding.

But information released by the ECHL shows that the Express had the lowest home attendance in the 20-team league.

Across the 36 games of last season, the Sears Centre drew 90,273 fans -- an average of 2,508 per game. The league average was 4,282 per game.

The Express was an affiliate of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets and posted a winning record of 34-26-8-4 for 80 points, just narrowly missing the ECHL playoffs due to losing a tiebreaker.

Team officials said any vouchers for Chicago Express Youth Jerseys still can be redeemed at the Sears Centre Arena Box Office. People must have the voucher with them for jersey redemption. The vouchers expire on June 1.

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