Coach: 'I don't See Hockey Leaving'


WMBD/WYZZ-TV - PEORIA, Ill. - If the Rivermen move out of Peoria, Derek Nesbitt will have some decisions to make.

"I have a dog here," said the Rivermen forward. "People watch my dog when I go on the road. I think, 'what will I do if I'm elsehwere.' It'd be tough to leave."

Nesbitt isn't the only player thinking about the speculation his team might be sold. Even though the guys on the ice have no say in St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman's decision to either sell the minor league team or keep it in Peoria, they do think about it might be like to call another city home next season.

"Unfortunately, it is out of our control,"' said Rivermen center Adam Cracknell. "We can only control ourselves. There's a lot of us that don't even know where we'll be next year. For the team not to be here, it'd be tough I'm sure."

Dave Allison is in his first year coaching the Rivermen but he knows all about pro hockey in Peoria. He says he can't envision Carver Arena without hockey.

"(Hockey's) hard-wired into this community," said Allison. "I don't think they'll lose it. Hockey is going to stay here. They've got a great fan base. We'll see what happens. I don't see it leaving here."

If the team doesn't make the American Hockey League playoffs, there are ten games left in the season. Mark Cundari is looking at it another way.

"If this is the last year in Peoria, ideally we'd like to go out with a bang," said the Rivermen defenseman. "Show our fans what it is to have a hockey team here in Peoria. And to prove that just because next year is not set in stone doesn't mean this year is already done for us."


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