With the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps set to move to Laval in 2017, officials at Mile One Centre are looking for a replacement — but so far there are no takers, either on the professional or junior levels.
The loss of the IceCaps is a pretty big hole to fill. And while in the past city officials were successful in bringing in a replacement when a previous tenant left, that streak may be ending. Indeed, entreaties to the AHL, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and the ECHL for a Mile One Centre tenant have so far yielded no results. That will mean some belt-tightening at Mile One Centre according to the CBC:
While Mile One does host a variety of non-sporting events throughout the year, having a team like the IceCaps as a full-time tenant meant staff at the facility could expect to get consistent work throughout the season.
Now, the whole financial structure of Mile One could be reworked, leaning more on public ice rentals to generate revenue — something Hickman said was not part of the original vision for the stadium.
“Mile One was built for spectator entertainment, not for public ice rentals,” he said.
“It would be structured different, especially in terms of staffing. Part-time staff wouldn’t be required as much, and there’s no question there would be empty evenings there and lost ice time.”
We definitely will not see an AHL replacement in 2017, as that league has pretty much settled on a lineup. And while potential AHL expansion should come down the line with Las Vegas enters the NHL, it’s a pretty safe bet that any new AHL team will be in the western United States or Canada, probably in an existing ECHL market.