On May 11, 2011 the Mallards originally ceased operations due to a lack of funding, but almost a month later, Club 9 Sports, a consortium between Chicago-based investment bank Prometheus Capital Partners, LLC, management and consulting firm Tobacco Road Capitalists and sports management and marketing firm ScheerSports, Inc. (headed by former National Basketball Association general manager Carl Scheer) bought the team from former owner Eric Karls and announced the team would return for the 2011–12 Central Hockey League season.
The original Mallards franchise played in the Quad Cities from the 1995–96 season through the 2006–07 season. Their first two seasons of existence were played in the Colonial Hockey League, which was renamed the United Hockey League (UHL) in 1997. The Mallards were an overwhelming success in their first few years, with attendance figures that regularly topped 6,000 per game. Attendance peaked in the 1997–98 season at over 8,500 fans per game, and while it declined, average attendance remained over 6,000 fans per game through the 2001-2002 season. It continued to drop, though, until it reached a low of 3,120 fans per game in the Mallards' final UHL season in 2006–07.
The Mallards franchise was historic in several ways. The team won three league championships and became the first North American professional hockey team to record 5 straight seasons of 50 or more wins; the Mallards went on to achieve 6 straight 50+ win seasons. In 1996–97, the team's second year of existence, the Mallards won the Colonial Hockey League championship. The next year, they won the United Hockey League championship. After losing in the finals in 1998–99 and 1999–00, the Mallards won their third championship in the 2000–01 season.