Peoria Rivermen and Civic Center reach agreement on a new lease
The Peoria Rivermen will call Carver Arena home for at least one more year, with hope for an extended commitment.
The Peoria Civic Center Authority (PCCA) and the reigning Southern Professional Hockey League champions on Friday jointly announced the team will return for the 2023-24 season. The agreement includes a renewal option for 2024-25. The Rivermen’s current lease expires at the conclusion of the current season.
Both sides intend to continue discussions on a long-term lease agreement, with the Civic Center planning to replace the venue’s outdated and malfunctioning ice plant.
“I am pleased that our negotiating teams have reached an agreement in principle with the Peoria Rivermen,” PCCA board chair Yvonne Greer Batton said in a news release. “This agreement demonstrates a willingness by both parties to keep Rivermen hockey in Peoria in ways that serve and support the Rivermen, their fans, the Civic Center, and the community at large.”
Last month, the Peoria City Council approved a $20 million plan to fund capital improvements at the Civic Center, with a new ice plant expected to be among the projects. The facility had a list of needs totaling $47 million, and the city money augments a $25 million state grant from 2019 to cover the bulk of the expenses.
Replacing the ice plant was not originally going to be covered under the state grant. It’s estimated a new ice plant could cost up to $4 million, and Greer Batton has said getting a new ice plant before the start of the next hockey season is not possible.
After winning the President’s Cup title last year, Peoria enters the final two games of the regular season atop the SPHL standings at 37-14-4. The Rivermen host the Pensacola Ice Flyers on Friday and Saturday night at Carver Arena before heading into the SPHL playoffs.
“Being a part of the Peoria hockey community is at the heart of the Peoria Rivermen culture and we’re excited to renew with the Peoria Civic Center, continue long-term discussions, and to defend our title,” Rivermen co-owner and CEO Bart Rogers said in the news release.
“We’re grateful for the planned renovations to Carver Arena and investments to be made by the Peoria Civic Center Authority, the City of Peoria, and the State of Illinois to enhance the fan and team experience. We look forward to partnering with and supporting the Peoria Civic Center management team and their committed staff in putting on exciting fan-centric experiences at Carver Arena.”
The Civic Center is moving forward with other arena upgrades, including a new scoreboard, sound system and remodeled seating. The PCCA board will vote on the agreement with the Rivermen at its next regular meeting on April 27.