Rivermen hockey celebrates SPHL title with Peoria parade, fans

PEORIA – Mitch McPherson remembers the crowd. The noise.

The Peoria native was 6 years old in 2000, when he stood among the seats inside Carver Arena and watched the Peoria Rivermen hockey team hoist the Kelly Cup as champions of the ECHL.

Twenty-two years later, McPherson had a much better seat. The winger was in a Rivermen uniform this week when Peoria lifted the President’s Cup as 2022 champions of the SPHL.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” said McPherson, son of former Rivermen player Darwin McPherson. “I’ve been part of a Rivermen family my whole life, and to see them win it back then and now for me to bring one back … it’s pretty special.”

Champions:Rivermen win SPHL championship for hockey franchise’s first title in 22 years

The Peoria Rivermen depart a Peoria Fire Department ladder truck after a short parade through downtown Peoria to the Peoria Civic Center for an SPHL championship celebration Friday, May 6, 2022 in Peoria.

Celebration of a champion

As was Friday’s celebration in Downtown Peoria.

The Rivermen players and coaches battled a cold and rainy afternoon atop a fire truck paraded from the Riverfront to the Peoria Civic Center.

Hundreds of Rivermen fans lined the streets in support – those and more making their way inside Carver Arena. Many snaked around the concourse to purchase championship gear as hundreds of others filled at least four sections of the lower bowl.

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