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Minor League Hockey to Return to St. Charles

The St. Charles Chill, a franchise of the Central Hockey League, will start playing in the fall of 2013 at the St. Charles Family Arena.

Minor league hockey will return to in the fall of 2013. 

The Central Hockey League announced Wednesday that it will transfer the Laredo Bucks franchise rights to create the St. Charles Chill

The ownership group includes Gustavo Hernandez, Alfonso Aruindegul and Glenn Hart, all three businessmen based in Laredo, TX.

The CHL has 11 teams across the country, including an expansion team that will start in Denver, CO this year. The closest team to St. Charles is in Independence, MO, the Missouri Mavericks. The regular season runs October through March. 

"This is a great hockey area, we feel that as we go around the towns," said Duane Lewis, Commissioner of the CHL. "We've been in a lot of markets we'd call nontraditional over the years, and it's nice to be in a market like this that has that history."

The St. Charles Chill is the second new sports tenant at the Family Arena, which plans to introduce the Missouri Monsters, an Ultimate Indoor Football League team, this week.  

Mark Reifsteck, General Manager of the Family Arena, said they have stepped up their minor league sports. The Missouri River Otters were the last ice hockey team to play at the Family Arena. The team folded in 2006.

"These players that are going to play hockey here have a chance to go into the NHL, where the Otters, they were guys who were ending their career," he said. 

Between the St. Charles Chill and the Missouri Monsters, Reifsteck says he expects to have 50 additional dates booked in a year.

"We're happy to have hockey back," he said. "More than anything we're happy about being able to have ice."

Reifsteck plans to open up the ice to public skate and leagues as well as bringing in some of the Stars on Ice events. 

"The facility, we've been working on improving a lot of the aspects to it for all the teams," he said. "It's an exciting time for the Family Arena."

Name the Mascot Contest

Nicole Kupaks, president and general manager of the St. Charles Chill, said they hope to find a coach affiliated with the St. Louis Blues or ties to the area.

During the next 12 months, the leadership will work to get to know St. Charles and teach the community about St. Charles Chill. 

"When we first went to Laredo, our prior market, we were there a year in advance too and we really felt like we made a great foundation and really built something the fans could believe in," Kupaks said.

The team plans to host a name the mascot contest in the next few weeks. 

"This is a symbol of you, this is your team and you are going to be involved in the process," she said. 

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Correction: Nicole Kupaks' name was incorrectly spelled in an earlier version of this article.

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