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Pro hockey could return to Coast next year

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/2009 
 
 Forward Greg McCauley races down the ice while running drills during training camp for the Mississippi Surge. An ownership group has applied to join the Southern Professional Hockey League for next season.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/2009 Forward Greg McCauley races down the ice while running drills during training camp for the Mississippi Surge. An ownership group has applied to join the Southern Professional Hockey League for next season. SUN HERALD

Professional hockey could be returning to South Mississippi next year.

South Mississippi Hockey, a local ownership group, has sent an application to the Southern Professional Hockey League for a franchise to start playing during the 2016-17 season.

South Mississippi Hockey President Andy Makal said the ownership group is awaiting approval from the SPHL. The approval process is in the final stages and expected to be completed sometime in January.

If approved, the franchise would probably have a new name. The Sea Wolves rights are owned by the ECHL and the ownership group does not have rights to the Surge.

"We've made our application to the SPHL and it's a long process," Makal said. "We've done everything the SPHL has asked us to do. It's not a whole lot we can do until we hear back from them."

The Coast has been without pro hockey since the Mississippi Surge folded last spring after five years, mostly with the SPHL. The Mississippi Surge suspended operations following the end of the 2013-14 season.

The Sea Wolves played on the Coast from 1996 to 2009. The Sea Wolves played nine straight seasons in Biloxi, but were inactive from 2005-07 due to damages to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum by Hurricane Katrina. The Sea Wolves suspended operations in 2009.

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