BILLINGS - Minor league hockey was re-introduced to Billings Friday afternoon as founders of the Western Professional Hockey League announced they're bringing a team to the Magic City next year.
MTN Sports reported hockey's return on Monday.
A Single A team is set to start play in November of 2022 with games at Centennial Ice Arena. Plans are in place for an eight-team league with four in the Mountain Region and four in and around Texas.
The WPHL will consist of two divisions with teams making one long road swing per regular season and playing two or three games in each city.
"This is a team that can be here and I hope grow roots for a long time," said Tommy Benizio, consultant for the team's ownership group Pick 6 Entertainment. "There is going to be a 48 game season, 24 played in Billings and 24 in states around the league."
Fans are encouraged to vote on one of four team names — Billings Bullheads, Billings Roughnecks, Montana Magma or Montana Magic — at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Players will be age 21 and up, and for the first season only North American players," said Frank Santelli, founder of the new WPHL with Kyle Kabacinski. "You'll have three hometown hero players. It'll be three guys that grew up here and played."
Pick 6 Entertainment owners Keith Russ and Tell Koan are the same duo launching a new Indoor Football League — the Billings Outlaws — team next year.
The only other WPHL team to this point is the Las Vegas Millionaires who signed on in July but will remain dormant for the inaugural 2022 season.