A legend in Peoria’s hockey community, Bruce Saurs has saved the Rivermen franchise not once, but twice. He is currently a part owner of the team and also serves as an advisor and ambassador to the club. This past May, Saurs made loans to the new Rivermen management group to help launch the team.
A Peoria native, Saurs owned the franchise for nearly 20 years, through their IHL, ECHL and AHL eras. When the Blues abandoned the market and sold Peoria’s AHL team to Vancouver last spring, he returned, at age 87, with an ownership group that put the Rivermen back in business for their 32nd season, and first in the SPHL.
Saurs first purchased the team from the Peoria Civic Center in 1989, when the Rivermen were on the verge of leaving the local scene after six years in the IHL. The investment paid off as during the first six years of Saurs' ownership, the team won the coveted Turner Cup in 1990-91, the Central Division and Eastern Conference in 1993-94 and the Midwest Division and Eastern Conference in 1994-95.