Springfield Lands Junior Hockey Express

Published 04/17 2014 10:11PM

Updated 04/17 2014 10:57PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo--Junior hockey will return to Springfield after nearly a decade since the Spirit were bought and moved to Alaska.

The Springfield Park Board, and an ownership group out of New Mexico announced Thursday that the Springfield Express will be a part of the Western State's Hockey League this winter. 

The team will play in the AAU Tier three level of junior hockey and will feature players ranging in age from 16 to 20.

The Springfield Express will be one of 32 teams in a newly expanded WSHL and will start play in September at Mediacom ice park.

The Express signed its first player Thursday as well, Parkview's Phillip Solari who will return home after playing junior hockey in Maine last winter.

"I had to move away from home but that was all for the love of the game.  But my parents were very understanding.  This being their inaugural season, I'm just stoked to be a part of it," said Phillip Solari.

"We looked at several different locations prior to settling on Springfield," said Express co-owner Joe MacConnell.  "Because we wanted to make sure it was Springfield's team.  We may own the team but it's really Springfield's team." 

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