Gratz resigns as Bloomington coach

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BLOOMINGTON, ILL – The Bloomington Thunder, one of the Southern Professional Hockey League’s two expansion teams, is in the market for a new coach.

New Bloomington LogoWednesday morning, Head Coach Brian Gratz tendered his resignation effective immediately. In a release sent out by the team, the Thunder announced that Zac Pearson will coach the team when it next takes the ice on Friday against the Mississippi Surge.

The Thunder currently sit in last place in the ten team league, having won just three of its twelve games. Bloomington’s offense has scored just 34 goals in while giving up 51 opposition tallies, both stats putting the team at or near the bottom of the league.

The sixth-year head coach had joined the Thunder from the previous incarnation of the franchise, the Bloomington Blaze, which played in the Central Hockey League before closing up shop following the 2012-2013 season.

“This is a decision I have made with a heavy heart because I believe in everything this organization stands for and is trying to accomplish,” Gratz said in the release. “I have very much enjoyed my time in Bloomington these last two hockey seasons. Success is right around the corner for us all. This city deserves the very best and I know under the guidance of John Butler, Bart Rogers and David Holt, professional hockey in Bloomington will continue to grow and flourish.”

Thunder President David Holt praised Gratz for his work with the Blaze and Thunder.

“Brian has played an important role in Bloomington professional hockey during the past two seasons and we thank him for beginning our on-ice transition into the SPHL,” Holt said. “We truly appreciate his efforts and wish him the best.”

Pearson is a former professional player and is head coach of the Bloomington Junior Blaze, who are off this weekend.

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