The ECHL has signed off on the Expansion Membership application for a St. John’s ECHL club, which will begin play at the Mile One Center this fall.
Recent reports indicated that an agreement for a St. John’s ECHL team was in the works, and more details about that plan have emerged. St. John’s membership is owned by Deacon Investments LTD, an entity led by Dean MacDonald. Glenn Stanford, meanwhile, has been tapped to run the team’s operations.
“We are pleased to welcome St. John’s to the ECHL,” said ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said in a press statement. “The city has a long and proud hockey history and, along with the Maine Mariners, will be strong additions to our North Division.”
According to a separate news release from the city, the City of St. John’s and St. John’s Sports and Entertainment (SJSEL), along with the owners of the St. John’s Edge and Deacon Investments, have finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Mile One Center. Under the terms of the MOU, the St. John’s ECHL team will play 36 home games at the arena for three years, beginning with the 2018-19 campaign. The Mile One Center will also continue to be the home of the Edge, the NBL Canada team that currently uses the arena.
“Both Glenn and I are ecstatic that professional hockey is coming back to St. John’s. We believe that hockey fans in our city will welcome this great product,” MacDonald said in a press statement from the ECHL. “We look forward to working with St. John’s Edge owners Irwin Simon and Rob Sabbagh, along with the City, to bring two amazing sports entities together. This strong partnership will elevate professional sports in Newfoundland and provide many nights of action-packed entertainment for the community.”
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. Additional details about the new St. John’s ECHL team will likely be unveiled over the coming months.
The addition of St. John’s is not the only change that will affect the ECHL’s 2018-19 slate. The Maine Mariners are slated to begin play at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena, while the Quad City Mallards have confirmed that they will withdraw their ECHL membership following the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.