Hockey's back! Southern Pro League comes to Biloxi

An ownership group under the name of Coast Hockey LLC has announced their approval today to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League, effectively bringing back hockey to South Mississippi.

The Mississippi Sea Wolves had suspended operations earlier this year after their East Coast Hockey League season was over. At that time, there were hints that hockey could return.

The ownership of the yet-to-be-named team is comprised of Richard Dedaux, Dr. Mike Diaz, Bo Lindsay, Jason Ondriezek, Chuck Thuss and Steffon Walby. The owners are asking hockey fans to help name the team by suggesting names on the website www.nameourteam.com

Thuss is a former goaltender and coach for the Sea Wolves and Walby was a player/coach and then head coach of the team. Dedaux, Diaz and Lindsay are local businessmen with ties to hockey.

The Southern Professional Hockey League currently has teams in Columbus, Fayetteville, Huntsville and Knoxville. Additionally, the Twin Cities Cyclones are exploring relocation opportunities and the SPHL is currently negotiating affiliation agreements with two additional markets to begin play during the 2009-10 season.

SPHL Commissioner Jim Combs said the league is excited to have the Mississippi team join the SPHL.

“Our league’s Board of Governors welcome Coast Hockey, L.L.C. to the league,” he said in a press release. “The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a rich tradition of professional hockey and we look forward to being a big part of that tradition for a long time to come.”

Read more about this story in Friday's Sun Herald.