Thread: OHL Expansion
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04-27-2013, 08:41 AM
  #11
Dadof3
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OHL Expansion

While new to the board, I have been reading for a while now and I'd like to throw in my 2 cents regarding expansion.

While I don't think the league has expansion on their minds, it is always good to have a few markets researched in case teams want to move.

Here are some markets that have been thrown around....

ONTARIO

1. Chatham - need a new arena, not sure the community would support the team. Location is fantastic though as Sarnia, London, Windsor and other geographical rivals will bring fans to the arena. Memorial Arena (jam packed) sits about 3,100.
2. Brantford - Arena is OK, unsure of the community. Proximity to Hamilton could bring fans in. Fans from Kitchener, London, Guelph, Niagara will help fill the arena. Had the Alexanders in the 80's but they moved out of town. Brantford Civic Center seats about 4,000 when full
3. Cornwall - Everything in place here. Arena is big enough (seats 5,000), just unsure if the team will be supported by the community. The Royals have a great history in the QMJHL and were in the OHL after that........would be a perfect fit in the East.
4. Thunder Bay - if a team ever did move into TBay, the owner would have to have huge pockets as teams would have to fly in, and travel costs would have to be subsidized by the home team. I think it is too costly a venture.......Fort Williams Gardens is a good barn from what I have heard (seats around 4,000), but some improvements to host an OHL team would be necessary.
5. Waterloo - has been talked about everywhere, and would need to jump through some hoops to get this done. KW has always been Ranger Country, and both Guelph and Kitchener would need to OK the team there. Arena seats over 4,000 and has the population to support the team.

USA

1. Toledo, OH - brand new arena downtown that is amazing, geographically speaking would tie into a road trip to Saginaw and Plymouth. Everything yells move to this city, but the ECHL has a team here and infringing on the territory might be difficult.
2. Youngstown, OH - new arena (seats over 5,100) and while this market would be a perfect fit for the league (tie in as a 2 game road trip with Erie) there are obstacles. USHL has a franchise there, but the thought is interesting.
3. Buffalo, NY - if a team would go here, where they would play would be interesting. First Niagara Center seats over 19,000 which is obviously too much for the OHL, but just look to Edmonton and Calgary to see that a franchise can flourish if they work with the big club. Again, tie in a trip here with Erie (and possibly Youngstown) and it eases the travel burden.
4. Elmira, NY - This would be a longshot at best IMO. An ECHL franchise exists in this market, the arena seats just under 3,800, but it does fit into the geographic footprint of the league. Current owners would have to be replaced as they have been 'shady' at best since their pro team, the Jackals, came into existence in 2001.
5. Flint, MI - Flint has a few things in place...arena size is about 4,400, but need some repairs (reportedly). Has always been a pro hockey town, so I'm not sure how will this would go over. Flint is a town that is very depressed due to the economy and the fanbase may not support a team due to financial situations in the city.

These are just some of the top markets I have thought of off the top of my head...many things factor into a new market, education possibilities for the players, population of the city and local area, news outlets etc.

Are there any other markets suitable to mention here........

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