Bloomington Bison announce their NHL affiliation with the New York Rangers

Team owner Jim Hallett gave Ranger jerseys to Bloomington City Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe and the City Manager Jeffrey Jurgens immediately after the announcement. (Photo Courtesy of WMBD-TV)


BLOOMINGTON – The Bloomington Bison announced that its team will be affiliated with the New York Rangers during a press conference at Grossinger Motors Arena on Thursday.

The affiliation is a five-year agreement.

Team owner Jim Hallett gave Ranger jerseys to Bloomington City Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe and the City Manager Jeffrey Jurgens immediately after the announcement.

“This affiliation with such a celebrated franchise as the New York Rangers brings a new level of excitement and prestige to Bloomington,” Jurgens said. “We look forward to the positive impact this partnership will have on the City and the electrifying hockey it will bring to Grossinger Motors Arena.”

The Bison are in the ECHL, a class AA minor league hockey franchise. Most teams within the ECHL are affiliated with the National Hockey League.

The Bison also announced that Phillip Barski will be the teams head coach and general manager.

“I am honored and excited to be named head coach and general manager of the Bloomington Bison,” said Barski. “Starting a new team in a city with such enthusiasm for hockey is a tremendous opportunity. I’d like to thank Jim Hallett for this incredible opportunity.  And in the short time that I have gotten to know Larry McQueary with the Bison and Ryan Martin with the Rangers and his staff I feel tremendously honored to be surrounded by such incredible people. Together, we will strive for excellence on and off the ice.”

Hallett also took a moment of silence for Bloomington Bison’s vice president for operations Scott Alan, who died in a two-vehicle car crash on Monday.

More information on the Bloomington Bison is available on their website.

This story will be updated.

WMBD-TV can be reached at [email protected].


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…