The St. John’s IceCaps are prepping for their final season, and are faced with a question of how to market to fans.
Earlier this year, the Montreal Canadiens announced that the 2016-17 AHL season will be the IceCaps’ last at the Mile One Centre. Following the upcoming campaign, the franchise is moving to Laval, QC, where it will become the Laval Rocket.
The move was not surprising, as the Canadiens positioned the IceCaps to be a temporary solution until the new arena in Laval–Place Bell –was ready for action. In doing so, the Canadiens are following the trend of other NHL teams by bringing their affiliate closer to their home operation.
However, St. John’s is not a bad hockey market and it is possible that the city can attract another team, be it in the AHL or the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. IceCaps COO Glenn Stanford says that, regardless, the IceCaps will do what they can to attract fans this season, but acknowledges the potential boost that could come from a new franchise being announced. More from The Telegram:
Meanwhile, Stanford says efforts to find a hockey replacement for St. John’s are continuing, reiterating they, “are looking at all options.”
That would seem to be an indication of the dwindling chances of gaining another AHL partner, and the increasing likelihood that a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team is more attainable.
Whatever the case, Stanford agrees an announcement of the imminent arrival of another team — in whatever league — probably would help put more bodies in the Mile One stands this season.
“It wouldn’t hurt,” he said of a continuation factor. “Having said that, whatever happens, the quality of the product (the IceCaps) put on the ice will be the same and we believe it will be very, very good.
“It will be worth the money.”
The IceCaps relocated from Hamilton, ON prior to the 2015-16 season.