St. John’s is being eyed for an ECHL team, as a group with ties to the Toronto Maple Leafs is reportedly seeking to establish a club for the 2018-19 season.
Reports have indicated that a group led by Dean MacDonald and Glenn Stanford has received ECHL permission to establish an expansion club in St. John’s. The team would begin play for the 2018-19 season, and the group reportedly has a partnership in place with the Maple Leafs.
Should the plans move forward, the club would play at the Mile One Centre, the arena that was home to the St. John’s IceCaps (AHL) until the club moved to Laval’s Place Bell at the following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. Another group, one led by St. John’s Edge basketball owner Irwin Simon, is also said to be interested in landing a St. John’s hockey team. While his Mile One Centre lease gives Simon a window of exclusivity in bringing a hockey team to the arena, the separate ECHL effort could have an effect on that arrangement. More from The Telegram:
As part of the lease arrangement with Mile One Centre, Simon has an exclusivity clause, giving him an 18-month window in which to obtain a hockey franchise to operate out of Mile One.
But there reportedly is a sub-clause that states if another group comes forward with a plan to deliver hockey to the facility, that window would begin to close.
In early December, the MacDonald/Stanford group formally served notice it was in a position to obtain an ECHL team for St. John’s. That opened a 45-day window in which the Edge owners could respond with their own proposal and retain their exclusivity.
Unless things have changed since last weekend when McCarthy spoke with Simon, the Edge owner does not have a team, and the 45-day mark comes Monday, at which time MacDonald and Stanford can begin negotiations with St. John’s Sports and Entertainment — which runs Mile One — on a lease agreement.
The Maple Leafs are no strangers to St. John’s, as the St. John’s Maple Leafs (AHL) played there from 1991-2005. The Brampton Beast is currently the only ECHL team in Canada.