The Quad City Mallards, the former arch-rival of the Rockford IceHogs, is folding its organization at the end of this season.

As a long time fan and supporter of the Rockford IceHogs, I think of the team in two eras. I have great memories of both for many different reasons.

There is the current team with the affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks with great players and hockey coming through the BMO Harris Bank Center. It's fun and affordable family entertainment. You get to watch future NHL stars.

Then there were the UHL or old United Hockey League days.True minor league hockey played in it's purest form at the outdated Rockford Metrocentre. Do you remember the ugly orange seats? The players were good, but not great. Very few would play at a higher level. The fans were more interested in the fights than the actual game.

In either era, the rivalries are important. Nowadays, the Hog's biggest enemy is the Chicago Wolves.

Back in the UHL days, it was the much hated Quad City Mallards. When those two teams got together, there was definitely going to be a fight if not several.

I attended an annual school day game with mostly students in attendance between the teams and there were three fights in the first period.

Unfortunately, the rivalry came to an end because they started playing in different leagues.

I really do miss those games.

During the United Hockey League years, the teams were so different. The Mallards were very successful making the playoffs year after year in front of sold-out crowds.

The IceHogs were a new franchise so they had growing pains. They struggled on the ice and sometimes in the stands.

Since both teams left the UHL, they have gone in totally opposite directions. Rockford has thrived. Producing incredible players for the Blackhawks organization and breaking attendance records.

Quad Cities has had some issues. They tried switching leagues a couple of times, changed names, and then brought back the Mallards brand. Attendance suffered.

Now comes the bad news.

"The Quad City Mallards will cease operations following the end of the current season."

Here's the reason why...

“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision to reach and one that I arrived at only after lengthy deliberation and a lot of soul-searching,” said owner Jordan Melville. “In the end, it became clear I would no longer be able to make the financial commitment required for the team to continue and that, as hard as it was to reach this conclusion, the time has come to cease operations.”

It's a very sad day in minor sports and hockey to lose a historic franchise like that. I feel really bad for the Mallard fans. I have great memories of those games.


 

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