Bannockburn, Il (Dec. 10) - Horn Chen, the former owner of the revived Central Hockey League (CHL) and dozens of sports entities, including the Wichita Thunder, passed away Monday. Chen was 83.
In 1992, Ray Miron approached Chen about reviving professional hockey in the south. Not only did Chen agree to fund the league operations, he owned and operated its original six franchises - the Thunder, Oklahoma City Blazers, Tulsa Oilers, Memphis
RiverKings, Fort Worth Fire, and Dallas Freeze. He later owned CHL teams in San Antonio, Indianapolis, and Topeka, as well as the ECHL's Columbus Chill and Jacksonville Lizard Kings.
"We are saddened to hear about Horn's passing," commented Joel Lomurno, GM of the Wichita Thunder. "Without him, the CHL and the Wichita Thunder may never have existed. But thanks to Horn, thousands and thousands of people through the years enjoyed a night out, spent time with their family and made new friendships over a Wichita Thunder game"
Chen owned the Thunder from their inaugural CHL season in 1992 until the summer of 2011, when he sold the team to local Wichita businessmen Rodney, Brandon and Johnny Steven. The Thunder played in the CHL for two more seasons before the league finally disbanded in 2014 and the remaining seven teams joined the ECHL.
The Chicago businessman's impact on minor pro sports was significant, as he also owned dozens of teams in minor league baseball, arena football, and minor league basketball. Chen also owned the CFL's Ottawa Roughriders, and was a minority investor in the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.