It’s official. The ECHL is going to expand to St. John’s starting in the fall.
The team will be owned by Deacon Investments Ltd., which is controlled by Newfoundland businessman Dean MacDonald. The team will be affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which means many of the players will move between its main farm team, the Toronto Marlies, and St. John’s. The ECHL is one step below the American Hockey League.
Glenn Stanford will oversee team operations day to day.
The last professional ice hockey team in St. John’s, the IceCaps, didn’t draw many fans in the waning months but McDonald says things are different with the ECHL as the ownership is local.
Things will be busy, but he says they will be ready to go in the fall. ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna said in a release from the ECHL today that St. John’s has a “long and proud” hockey history and the team will be a strong addition to their North Division.
The announcement comes after a long round of talks that included the owners of the basketball team, the St. John’s Edge, who until January had the exclusive rights to bring hockey to Mile One. The two entities decided to work together to ensure a basketball-hockey partnership.