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Old Posted Mar 14, 2018, 3:37 PM
djslue djslue is offline
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[St. John's] Sports & Entertainment

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Old Posted Mar 14, 2018, 3:38 PM
djslue djslue is offline
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It's a done deal: St. John's to join ECHL beginning next season

Expansion team will have an affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs; quality of play is "very, very good" says league commissioner
After 20 years of American Hockey League play in St. John’s, sandwiched by three seasons in which the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League featured a team in the province’s capital, the city is now branching out into a new level of minor professional hockey — the ECHL.

The league made official Tuesday what’s been known for some time, that St. John’s will ice an expansion team in the ECHL beginning play next season.

“St. John’s has had a long, successful tradition of hockey,” league commissioner Brian McKenna told The Telegram. “It has a solid fan base, solid corporate support and an ideal arena.

“On top of that, Dean (MacDonald) is a very qualified owner, and the icing on the cake of us is Glenn Stanford, giving his background in hockey. We certainly know him from Boise (where Stanford ran an ECHL team in Idaho for two years). He brings a lot of credibility.”

The yet-to-be named St. John’s team will play, as reported in The Telegram Monday, in the Eastern Conference’s North Division with the Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Manchester Monarchs, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers.

St. John’s will also be affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which was first reported in The Telegram back in January.

The city will be the ninth former AHL team to join the ECHL — which touts itself as North America’s premier AA hockey league — joining Adirondack, Maine, Manchester, Worcester, Norfolk, Va., Cincinnati, Ohio, Indianapolis, Ind. and Salt Lake City, Utah.

There would have been a 10th, but the Quad City Mallards (Moline, Ill.) have indicated they are withdrawing their ECHL membership at the conclusion of the current season.

The Colorado Eagles are also not returning next season as they will be moving to the AHL to become the chief affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. The Eagles play out of Loveland, Co., just north of Denver.

McKenna said Stanford and MacDonald made an “impressive” presentation to the ECHL’s board of governors during the league’s all-star weekend in January in Indianapolis, Ind.

The vote to accept St. John’s, he said, was unanimous.

Just as it did in the AHL, St. John’s will have to provide a travel subsidy to teams visiting Newfoundland.

The team will be owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment, an entity controlled by MacDonald, with Stanford overseeing the operations.

“Both Glenn and I are ecstatic that professional hockey is coming back to St. John’s,” MacDonald said in a statement. “We believe that hockey fans in our city will welcome this great product.”

MacDonald and Stanford will be working with Irwin Simon and Rob Sabbagh, owners of the National Basketball League of Canada’s St. John’s Edge.

Simon and Sabbagh envision taking over management of Mile One Centre and the St. John’s Convention Centre, a development which could take place in the next 12 to 18 months.

“We are excited about being part of the St. John’s community with the success of The Edge basketball team,” Sabbagh said in a news release. “We are equally excited to now play a role in the new hockey team and ultimately running Mile One and the Convention Centre.”

“This,” McKenna told The Telegram, “is now a St. John’s team with local ownership. It’s not going someplace else.

“This is a community asset which will have control of the product on the ice. Local ownership brings stability.”

The St. John’s Maple Leafs, which operated in St. John’s for 14 years, were owned by the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the start of what’s been a trend with NHL teams and their AHL affiliates, Toronto opted to move the Baby Leafs closer to home, in this case the Ricoh Centre in Toronto.

The same scenario applied to the Winnipeg Jets, who for four years owned the IceCaps. They moved their minor league operation to Winnipeg, and the Montreal Canadiens, who farmed their players to the IceCaps the past two years, now have their AHLers playing in Laval, Que., just north of Montreal where the Canadiens constructed and own the arena.

McKenna had hoped to put to bed the St. John’s deal in January. As a result, the league’s schedule for the following season, which is usually announced by early April, is likely to be delayed by a few weeks due to the developments in St. John's and Quad City.

MacDonald and Stanford went through the process of acquiring an expansion franchise in December. All criteria were met, with the exception of one item: an arena lease agreement.

Simon and Sabbagh, through a clause in their lease agreement with Mile One Centre, had first dibs, if you will, for a hockey team to play at Mile One.

After St. John’s Sports and Entertainment — the board which runs Mile One — ruled Simon and Sabbagh had lost the exclusive rights to bring hockey into the building, the Edge group announced it would be seeking arbitration.

And given that move, SJSE said it would not negotiate with MacDonald and Stanford while the arbitration process was ongoing, causing the delay.

Basically, what you had was one group with a hockey team, but nowhere to play, and another group with an arena, but no hockey team.

Given that scenario, the competitors came together just over a week ago, agreeing to some form of partnership.

“This strong partnership,” MacDonald said, “will elevate professional sports in Newfoundland and provide many nights of action-packed entertainment for the community.”

As with the AHL, the ECHL — that is its official name since 2003, when it was previously known as the East Coast Hockey League — has two conferences and four divisions.

Teams in the Eastern Conference’s South Division are the Atlanta Gladiators, Florida Everblades, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Jacksonville Icemen, Norfolk Admirals, Orlando Solar Bears and South Carolina Stingrays.

The Central Division in the Western Conference feature the Cincinnati Cyclones, Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings, Toledo Walleye and Wheeling Nailers, while the Mountain Division have the Allen, Tx. Americans, Idaho Steelheads, Kansas City Mavericks, Rapid City, S.D. Rush, Tulsa Oilers, Utah Grizzlies and Wichita Thunder.

Generally, teams play within their own division and conference, although McKenna said there are interlocking games between East and West teams scheduled every year.

And teams in the far east — for example Manchester — play teams in the far west — say Utah or Idaho — at least every three years.

“Fans tell us a little variety is good,” he said.

To most Newfoundland hockey fans, the ECHL is an unknown entity, though McKenna, who was once director of hockey operations for the Ottawa Senators and vice-president and general manager of the AHL’s Carolina Monarchs, promises hockey fans will be pleasantly surprised.

About one-half of the ECHL players, on any given year, will play in the AHL.

“There’s a lot of movement back and forth,” he said.

“You won’t see the high-end draft picks, unless they’re a goalie, but the quality of play is still very, very good.

“Not all kids are drafted out of Canadian major junior or U.S. college hockey, and of those that are drafted, not all will sign contracts. We are seeing some of the better kids from the Canadian Hockey League and NCAA D1 college playing in the ECHL.

“It’s a caliber of hockey people will grow to appreciate. There will be an education process that will have to occur as fans come to know who we are and what we are about.

“We’ve gone through this in Worcester, which was a long-time AHL market and people there have embraced the ECHL.”

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done before the team hits the ice next October. No doubt, fans will be keenly interested in what the team will be named, and its logo and colours. A schedule has to be drawn up, and the team needs to sell tickets.

A web site is expected to launched next week.

Most importantly, there needs to be a team. It’s expected the roster will be filled out by a combination of free agents and players assigned to St. John’s by the Leafs.

Toronto will have a big say in who will be hired to coach the team, along with the training and equipment staff.

Source: http://www.thetelegram.com/sports/ho...season-193190/
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2018, 3:40 PM
djslue djslue is offline
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Mile One management 'one of the carrots' to get deal between ECHL, Edge owners

Mile One Centre operations could soon be headed up by the Edge ownership team and the group bringing an ECHL franchise to St. John's

Dean MacDonald, who's with Deacon Investments, the owner of the ECHL franchise, told the St. John's Morning Show on Wednesday that running Mile One was discussed as a way to bring his group together with Edge ownership — which had been working on its own hockey team proposal.

'Collectively, we bring a lot of horsepower to bring really top-notch entertainment into the city in terms of concerts and other acts.'
- Dean MacDonald
"We're going to work with the Edge group in [that] regard," he said, adding that St. John's Mayor Danny Breen encouraged the idea.

Mile One and the city's convention centre are currently run by the city's St. John's Sports and Entertainment.

"The mayor, you know, worked hard to get the two sides together, and that was kind of one of the carrots he put out there that, look, if we could find a way to work together as two groups, the city would definitely consider having the two groups manage the facility," MacDonald said.

Danny Breen
Mayor Danny Breen says the two sports groups have a memorandum of understanding to manage Mile One and the convention centre, and details are being worked out. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The Edge ownership group, led by Irwin Simon, and the ECHL group each bring a lot to the table in event management experience and connections, according to MacDonald.

"We have an extensive relationship with Live Nation and Ticketmaster and other groups, and the Simon group have a good relationship with Madison Square Garden," he said.

Lot of work to get ready
"We obviously have the relationship with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment so those groups, collectively, we bring a lot of horsepower to bring really top-notch entertainment into the city in terms of concerts and other acts."

The details of how that would work are still being ironed out, said MacDonald. In the meantime, there's a lot of work to be done to have the team ready for the 2018-19 season — not least of which is deciding on a name.

Ice at Mile One Centre
Hockey is returning to Mile One Centre in downtown St. John's in the fall. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

"We've got to go hard to get everything organized and ready, so name will be the very next thing on the list and hopefully by later this week or weekend, hopefully, we'll be in a position to have that nailed down," he said.

MacDonald is working with former St. John's IceCaps chief operating officer Glenn Stanford, who helped get the Edge ready for its first season this year.

"We've got to get team colors, and the pattern for the uniforms and all the things that go with the logo, all those matters that have to be put together now," he said.

"So there's a lot of work to be done in a short period of time, but, you know, Glenn was instrumental in getting the Edge up and running in a matter of weeks, so he probably feels like this is a much easier task, even though it's not."

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfou...ions-1.4575503
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Old Posted May 22, 2018, 3:05 PM
djslue djslue is offline
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The new ECHL team for the city is known as the Newfoundland Growlers.

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Old Posted Oct 10, 2018, 1:50 PM
goodgrowth goodgrowth is offline
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Edge/Growlers ownership group interested in purchasing Mile One Centre:

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