OJHL approves Preds move to Trenton
OJHL approves Preds move to Trenton
Preds had to make move based on economics
Posted By Ernst Kuglin - The Trentonian
All that's left is the unveiling of a new team name and logo.
The Port Hope Predators are coming to Quinte West. The 36-team Ontario Junior Hockey League voted 31-1 in favour of the franchise moving to Trenton. Only the Wellington Dukes voted against.
Dukes team management cited 'territorial boundaries' and player recruitment as the reason why the team voted against the move by the Predators.
The Cobourg Cougars, Markham Waxers, St. Mike's Buzzers and the Newmarket Hurricanes did not vote.
Voting closed last Friday at 9 p.m. Under the OJHL constitution change of venue clause, the Predators won the required two-thirds majority vote.
"We are very excited and thank our league partners for their support," said Tim Clayden, Trenton's Jr. A director of operations.
OJHL chairman Lloyd Stockley said the league is "excited'' to have a Junior A franchise back in Trenton.
"The Predators have been a successful organization over the years and the OJHL is confident they will continue with that success in their new location,'' said Stockley.
According to the league constitution, the OJHL retains the right to place a team in abandoned franchise locations. "The OJHL has exercised that right,'' said Stockley.
In addition, the change of venue clause states since the league's board of governors have approved the move, no other team came file objections to the Ontario Hockey Association or any other hockey governing body.
"The standards of provincial Junior A hockey are changing. Practicing four times a week during prime time with the added arena advertising incentives that Quinte West has afforded our franchise will allow our club to maintain a strong on ice development program as well as sound financial opportunities that will help ensure the fiscal success of this program for many years to come. Economically speaking, this move had to be made,'' said Clayden.
Clayden praised Mayor John Williams, Trenton ward city councillor Doug Whitney and Quinte West Minor Hockey President Bevett Horner for going "out their way'' in negotiating a successful deal.
"They made the Predators feel welcome and comfortable all the while helping to ensure this franchise had long term concessions that will keep Junior 'A' hockey in the Trenton community for many seasons to follow,'' said Clayden.
Horner said the Predators have already taken big steps in developing a working relationship with minor hockey, and getting involved with the broader community.
One of the first contacts made with the community, said Horner, was with Quinte West Minor Hockey.
After years of troubled relationships between minor hockey and previous Junior A franchises, Horner described the move as a breath of fresh air.
Horner added he hasn't been to a Junior A game in Trenton in over nine years. He says a page has been turned.
"We're looking forward to working with the team.That's one of the first things the team told us,'' he said.
Naturally, minor hockey wants more local athletes playing on the local Junior A team.
Horner said team officials have assured minor hockey local players will be given every chance to make the team.
"It was really nice hear and realistically there's no reason why five to seven local players could not be on the team,'' he said. "I hope the community comes out and supports the new team."
At city hall, Mayor John Williams had nothing but good words for the franchise.
"This is fantastic. It's good news. These are a group of really good guys and they've made all the right moves,'' said Williams. "The team wants to get involved with the community and they want the community to get involved with the team.''
The mayor said the team has fulfilled three primary ingredients that make a Junior A franchise successful. The team is financially viable, it treats players well and wants to get involved with the community, and perhaps more importantly, work with minor hockey.
"We're lucky to get all of that,'' said Williams.
A press conference has been scheduled Thursday, April 2 at city hall where team officials will unveil a new name and team logo.
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