The Peoria Rivermen were founded in 1982–83 in the International Hockey League, operating under owner Ken Wilson as the Peoria Prancers. They played in Peoria, Illinois at the Carver Arena. The franchise was taken over by the Peoria Civic Center in 1984, which held a contest with the Peoria Journal Star newspaper to rename the team with Rivermen as the winner. The IHL's Peoria Rivermen began operations for the 1984–85 season and won the Turner Cup in their first season.
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