IHL President Dennis Hextall, who was in Dayton today where the Gems announced their plans for next season, said the International Hockey League will return next season with six teams, including likely Flint. Hextall said he's 85 percent sure the Generals will be returning and operating in Flint under new ownership.
``I think the league is going ahead next year with six teams,'' Hextall said. ``We're still working up in Flint trying to put that all together, but once we get them set up then we're all set for six teams. We're hoping to know as soon as possible, hopefully a couple of weeks after the season is over.''
As for Flint, Hextall said, ``I think right now with everything we're doing, we're talking to different people and I would hope the team stays in Flint and operates out of Flint next year. I think Flint is a viable market, and they've gone through a lot of ups and downs with past ownership, and it's a matter of consolidating that.''
As for playing with more than six cities, Hextall said the league definitely wants an even-number of teams. ``We are talking to other cities. I'm not saying we're aggressively trying to expand, but this year we want to make sure we have six solid teams and we'll go from there.''