Now that a key agreement is reportedly in place, plans are expected to be announced next week for a St. John’s ECHL team that will begin play next season.
Previous reports have indicated that a group led by Dean MacDonald and Glenn Stanford had received ECHL permission to establish an expansion club in St. John’s. In that scenario, the team would begin play for the 2018-19 season and reportedly have a partnership with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
One complication, however, was the use of the Mile One Center. A group led by St. John’s Edge basketball owner Irwin Simon had a lease that granted it exclusivity in bringing a hockey team to the arena, but questions arose as to whether that exclusivity window had lapsed and indications were that the issue would have to be settled through arbitration. That could have stalled efforts to launch the ECHL club, but the two groups are reported to have reached an agreement that will allow the team to begin play at the Mile One Center for the 2018-19 season. Additional details on that agreement will likely be released next week. More from The Telegraph:
But sometime over the weekend — you can just imagine someone announcing “One minute left in the period!” — things changed.
Irwin Simon, one of the Edge owners ,came to St. John’s and met with city officials. How that tied in with what followed is unclear, but phone conversations between Simon and the Stanford/MacDonald group resulted in a hockey deal that should be revealed next week.
Details won’t be available until that announcement, but the two sides are expected to share more than revenue. It’s likely the hockey and basketball teams will also share a front office to some degree.
The Mile One Center has hosted several professional hockey teams in the past, including the St. John’s IceCaps (AHL), who moved to Laval’s Place Bell at the following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.
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