Thunder's league to merge with IHL

The Central Hockey League and International Hockey League announced this afternoon that they have agreed to merge and play next season under the CHL name.

The CHL, which includes the Wichita Thunder, had 15 teams last season and the IHL had seven. It's not known how many teams will remain in the CHL for 2010-11.

Terms have not been finalized. Leaders of both leagues are scheduled to meet at CHL meetings later this week and IHL meetings June 21-23.

The CHL will enter its 19th season this fall, while the IHL has been in business for 59 years. Last season, its seven teams were in Bloomington, Ill.; Dayton, Ohio; Flint, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Moline, Ill. (Quad Cities); Muskegon, Mich.; and Port Huron, Mich.

Muskegon has since left the IHL and will play as a junior team. Flint has been reported to have financial problems.