Rivermen fans react to departure

By Chad Weber

March 29, 2013 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 1:12 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Fans were shocked and disappointed to discover their team will not be returning to play on the ice in Peoria next season.

"I was a little bit devastated," said Rivermen fan Tristen Geary.

"Shocked is the initial reaction," said Rivermen fan Dave Edgecomb who attended the game with his son Aiden.

"I mean we are just in total shock." said Rivermen booster club board member Linda Vlasis.

"Heartbreaking, if there is no team next year I don't know what I'm going to do," said Riverman season ticket holder for 40 years William Schmidt. "Forty years, that's what I've done every winter. I haven't missed a home game here for 29 years. The front office people they just learned about it across the wire like we all did."

"The Civic Center found out by e-mail," said Rivermen director of communications Brendan Burke. "We just kind of found out like everybody else found out."

"A lot of people think that Tom Stillman just doesn't want to support hockey anymore," said Linda Vlasis referring to the Blues owner.

"I don't think that guy has ever cared about Peoria from the get go," said William Schmidt.

"Efforts to make the crowd larger weren't made," said Rivermen fan Ben Mcallister who attended the game with his son Jackson. "I know in previous years we had a lot more after-game concerts or giveaways."

"It's a great hockey venue," said Brendan Burke." There's no question about it. It has worked for a long time. I don't see why it couldn't work in the future."

"I am hoping that they will get another team in here," said Linda Vlasis.

"ECHL, IHL, UHL, hockey's hockey," said Ben Mcallister.

"I hope they can get another team here," said William Schmidt, "but right now I'm pretty depressed"