Chicago Express

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Chicago Express
Chicago Express hockey logo.svg
City Hoffman Estates, Illinois
League ECHL
Conference Eastern
Division North
Operated 2011–2012
Home arena Sears Centre
Colors Navy, Gray, Sky Blue
              
Owner(s) Craig Drecktrah
Head coach Steve Martinson
Affiliates

Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

Springfield Falcons (AHL)
Franchise history
2011–2012 Chicago Express

The Chicago Express was a professional ice hockey team located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, serving the Chicago market. The Express was a member of the North Division of the ECHL's Eastern Conference.[1] The team played its home games at the Sears Centre.[2]

The Express were owned by Craig Drecktrah, who formerly owned the United Hockey League's Chicago Hounds and Rockford IceHogs.

It was announced on July 13, 2011 that the Express would be affiliated with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets and the AHL's Springfield Falcons.[3]

On April 6, 2012, it was announced that the Chicago Express would cease operations due to poor attendance numbers and lack of support.[4] The Express finished last in the league for average attendance with 2,508.[5] On some nights, the Express, which also had AHL and NHL competition in the same market, was struggling to get 1,000 spectators at its games.

Team history

Express mascot Traxx the horse (left)

Inception

The team formed out of talks between owner Craig Drecktrah and officials at the Sears Centre. On the heels of the Chicago Hounds folding in 2009 after only playing one season (2006–07) at the Sears Centre, Drecktrah worked with arena and Hoffman Estates village officials to bring in an ECHL franchise.[2] The league approved the franchise's application at the ECHL's annual Board of Governors Meeting in June 2010.[6]

Team name

Express center ice logo during their 1st and only ECHL season in 2011-12

To name the new franchise, the team held a special name the team contest that eventually received over a thousand unique name suggestions. On July 22, the four finalists for the team name were unveiled. They were The Chicago Blizzard, Hoffman Estates Hammers, Chicago Knights and Chicago Express. Voting for the team's name closed on August 4, with Express announced as the winner on September 21. The final four portion of the contest received a total of 20,000 votes.[7]

2011-2012 season

Under the direction of Steve Martinson, the Express finished with a record of 34-26-8-4, good enough for 80 points and 2nd place in the North Division, 4 points behind the division leading Kalamazoo Wings. However, this was only good enough for 9th in Eastern Conference. They were actually tied with the 8th place Reading Royals points wise, however they missed out on the playoffs because the Royals had more wins.

The Express fold

At the end of the season, the Express folded outright. There were a myriad of reason for this. Firstly, the Express could not hope to compete with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) and the Chicago Wolves (AHL). The team had no radio and television deals, and were not promoted on those mediums. The team also had a hard time drawing fans to Hoffman Estates from the heart of the city.[8]

Mascot

The mascot for the Chicago Express was "Trax" the Horse.

Players

Chaz Johnson finished as Chicago's all-time leader in goals scored with 20.
Tyler Donati led the Express with 47 assists and 61 points.
Devin DiDiomete was the Express' all-time leader in penalty minutes.
Allen York played for both the Express and the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2011–12 season.
Nathan Lutz was the captain of the Express.
Skaters
Player # Pos GP G A Pts PIM
Drew Akins 20 F 16 1 0 1 13
Josh Burrows 4 D 43 3 8 11 25
Darcy Campbell 6 D 61 8 29 37 87
Joe Cucci 14 C 14 1 4 5 11
Steven Delisle 5 D 38 1 3 4 20
Devin DiDiomete 27 LW 41 11 16 27 277
Tyler Donati 19 RW 46 14 47 61 29
Taylor Ellington 4 D 17 5 6 11 14
Mike Embach 16 F 60 13 13 26 41
Pierre-Luc Faubert 72 RW 72 19 25 44 70
Matt Gingera 26 F 6 1 0 1 2
Ryley Grantham 71 F 19 6 5 11 75
Maxime Gratchev 93 F 27 8 20 28 38
Dan Henningson 12 D 27 1 2 3 10
Chaz Johnson 98 RW 64 20 15 35 132
Tyler Johnson 18 C 20 3 3 6 8
Scott Lehman 7 D 11 0 2 2 7
Nathan Lutz 44 D 72 6 7 13 121
Anthony Maiani 7 F 39 4 14 18 10
Aaron Marvin 17 C 65 11 27 38 49
Kyler Moje 15 F 2 0 0 0 0
Brett Motherwell 42 D 25 0 8 8 20
Kyle Ostrow 9 F 59 11 20 31 23
Chad Painchaud 27 LW 27 11 11 22 29
Trent Palm 5 D 4 0 0 0 0
Danick Paquette 20 F 13 7 4 11 27
Drew Paris 2 D 22 3 6 9 10
Blair Riley 22 LW 15 7 9 16 8
Bobby Robins 25 F 28 7 8 15 123
Tony Romano 15 C 3 0 0 0 0
Johan Ryd 26 F 3 0 0 0 0
Tim Spencer 21 F 8 0 1 1 42
Evan Stephens 24 D 48 3 16 19 22
Mike Thomas 7 F 2 0 0 0 4
Yannick Tifu 10 C 17 3 8 11 19
Matt Tomassoni 24 D 3 0 0 0 0
Scott Wietecha 3 D 54 14 13 27 69
Jonathan Zion 8 D 40 10 15 25 29
Goaltenders
Player # GP MIN W L OTL GAA SV% SO
Paul Dainton 31 18 794 6 3 2 3.25 .896 1
Rob Madore 31 12 722 8 3 1 2.41 .926 1
Peter Mannino 31 22 1334 10 8 2 3.15 .899 1
Rob Nolan 47 16 844 6 8 1 2.99 .896 0
Brooks Ostergard 47 1 65 0 0 1 4.65 .844 0
Allen York 30 11 604 4 4 1 3.28 .892 0

All player statistics taken from the ECHL.com.[9]

Team captain

  • Nathan Lutz, 2011–12

References

  1. ^ Press release (August 1, 2011). "Annual ECHL Board of Governors Meeting concludes". ECHL. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Selvam, Ashok (June 19, 2010). "Sears Centre to house new hockey team". Daily Herald. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ Press release (July 13, 2011). "Columbus Blue Jackets Announce ECHL Affiliation Agreement Chicago Express for 2011-12". Columbus Blue Jackets. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-21. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  6. ^ Press release (June 24, 2010). "Expansion membership approved for Chicago". ECHL. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  7. ^ Selvam, Ashok (February 8, 2011). "Sears Centre welcomes new hockey team to town". Daily Herald. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "BREAKING NEWS: CHICAGO EXPRESS FOLDS AFTER JUST ONE SEASON - Q101 Alternative". Q101 Alternative. 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  9. ^ "2011–12 Season Statistics - Chicago Express". ECHL. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 

External links

  • Official website of the ECHL
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