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Bloomington PrairieThunder
City Bloomington, Illinois United States
League International Hockey League
Founded 2006
Home arena U.S. Cellular Coliseum
Colors Blue, gold, silver, white
Owner(s) Tim Leighton
General manager Jarrod Skalde & Bryan Bloodworth
Head coach Jarrod Skalde
Captain Jon Booras
Media WTRX (93.7 FM)
Inaugural home opener (10/14/2006)

The Bloomington PrairieThunder are a team of the International Hockey League who started play in 2006 (when the league was called the United Hockey League). They play their home games at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Illinois (which is also the home of the UIF's Bloomington Extreme). The PrairieThunder operated in their inaugural season under the ownership of John Butler, Mike Nelson, and Tony Lisman. On May 1, 2007, it was announced that Lisman would assume complete ownership of the team.



On September 12, 1999, John Butler and Mike Nelson, both of Bloomington, began formulating a plan to bring a minor league hockey team to Central Illinois.[1] On August 18, 2004, ground was broken for the $37-million U.S. Cellular Coliseum, the arena that would become the home of the PrarieThunder. On September 20, 2005, the United Hockey League awarded John Butler and Mike Nelson a membership to obtain a franchise. [2]

On February 1, 2006, a contest was announced to name the new hockey franchise and on February 23, 2006, the official name was announced. "PrarieThunder" refers to a train called "The Prairie Thunder" that passed through Bloomington in its early history. [3] On July 20, 2006 the PrairieThunder unveiled their new team logo which features a charging bison smashing its hooves into a sheet of ice. The team's colors are navy, silver, old gold, and white.

  • October 13, 2006: the PrairieThunder played their first game in franchise history against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. They lost the contest 7-3. [4]
  • October 14, 2006: the Prairie Thunder play their first home game at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum against the Fort Wayne Komets. This was also the PrairieThunder's first franchise regular season win as they won the contest 4-2 before a crowd of 5,102. Andre Neic scored the first goal at the US Cellular Coliseum at 4:20 in the first periord. [5]
  • February 17, 2007: Trevor Baker records the first hat trick in franchise history. [6]
  • January 27, 2007: Largest crowd in team history 5,488 (as of Mar. 26, 2009) [7]
  • Jan. 12, 2008: Rookie goalie Loic Lacasse posts first shutout in franchise history in 2-0 win over Port Huron at U.S. Cellular Coliseum
  • April 5, 2008: PrairieThunder establish a professional hockey league record at all levels by scoring four goals in a 35-second span during the first period in a 9-4 win at Flint. Scoring the goals were Jon Booras, John Nail, Neil Clark and Brett Holmberg.
  • July 12, 2008: PrairieThunder defenseman Rob Guinn killed in auto accident in Iowa. This led the team to remember him on their jerseys and the ice during the 2008-2009 season.
  • December 27, 2008: Prairie Thunder center Don Parsons breaks the minor league career goals scored record with his 678th, passing former Flint General, Kevin Kerr. [8], [9]

Season by Season Records

Season Games Won Lost OTL SOL Points Goals
PIM Standing Playoffs
2006-07 76 25 45 6 56 201 285 1392 5th, West Out of Playoffs
2007-08 76 31 38 3 4 69 210 258 1711 6th Out of Playoffs


The Bloomington PrairieThunder were featured in the April 21, 2008 edition of Sports Illustrated. This was because they set a pro hockey record for the fastest four goal spurt. It took them just 35 seconds to score 4 goals against the Flint Generals on April 5th, 2008. This is faster than any level of pro hockey.

Current roster

As of January 12th, 2010.

# Player Date of birth Place of birth
35 United States Andrew Martin November 30, 1982 Dallas, Texas
37 Denmark Sebastian Dahm February 28, 1987 Copenhagen, Denmark
# Player Date of birth Place of birth
2 United States Cole Ruwe April 2, 1985 Pekin, Illinois
3 United States Brian Boulay May 10, 1984 Auburn, Massachusetts
4 Canada Jason Lepine March 26, 1985 Cornwall, Ontario
6 United States Matt Frick November 26, 1977 Detroit, Michigan
11 Canada Noel Coultice January 5, 1985 Pickering, Ontario
16 Canada Matthew Spiller February 7, 1983 Daysland, Alberta
29 Canada Justin Sawyer October 18, 1985 Oshawa, Ontario
# Player Position Date of birth Place of birth
7 United States Matt McIlvane RW November 2, 1985 Naperville, Illinois
8 Canada Mike Liambas F February 16, 1989 Woodbridge, Ontario
9 United States Zach Pearson RW February 27, 1984 White Lake, Michigan
12 Canada Robin Gomez LW October 15, 1981 Victoria, British Columbia
19 Canada Brett Holmberg RW March 22, 1986 Sherwood Park, Alberta
20 United States Chase Watson F October 23, 1982 Media, Pennsylvania
24 United States Bill Bagron C May 18, 1982 Eagle River, Alaska
27 United States Jon Booras F December 17, 1982 Billings, Montana
28 United States Jamie Carroll F October 25, 1983 Andover, Connecticut
39 Canada Travis Banga C November 6, 1979 High River, Alberta
61 Canada Craig Macdonald F October 3, 1982 Milton, Ontario

Coaching Staff

  • Head Coach: Jarrod Skalde


The team held a Name the Mascot Contest, sponsored by the Bloomington Pantagraph, to find a name for the mascot. Megan Fish, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Chiddix Junior High School, was the first of 12 individuals to submit the name Chip. The next most popular entry was “Boomer” which had seven submissions.

Chip the Buffalo made his first public appearance at the Open House and Public Scrimmage held by the PrairieThunder on Wednesday October 4th, 2006, interacting with fans and signing autographs.

Chip the Buffalo at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum (10-4-2006)

External links



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