Montreal Canadiens' farm team coming to Laval in 2017
Team currently plays in St. John's, Nfld., used to play in Hamilton, Ont.
If you've ever wanted to help name a hockey team, now is your chance.
The Montreal Canadiens' American Hockey League affiliate will relocate from St. John's, Nfld., to Laval, Que., for the 2017-2018 season.
"The doctors aren't far, the trainers aren't far, the organization's not far, so we can spend a lot more time developing our players because they're 30 minutes away by car, or even less if there's no traffic," said team owner Geoff Molson.
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But the team won't have a name, and that's where the fans come in — the Habs are asking for suggestions on what to call the new team.
Until Friday, July 22, fans can submit their suggestions online. The best suggestions will be put to a vote starting July 26. The winner will be announced in the fall and the creator of the winning entry will receive a pair of season tickets.
Another move for the farm club
The relocation will make it even easier for Habs fans in the Montreal area to keep tabs on the team's up-and-coming stars.
The move to St. John's was a two-year deal. One more season in Newfoundland was possible if the arena in Laval wasn't ready in time, but Laval says construction is on schedule.
"There are only three Canadian cities with AHL teams, so the name Laval will be heard across North America," said Laval Mayor Marc Demers.
The original price tag was to be $92.6 million but by 2014, that estimate ballooned to $200 million.
Losing a hockey team is a familiar feeling for St. John's hockey fans — the AHL's St. John's Maple Leafs left Newfoundland in 2005 to be closer to its parent club in Toronto.
The St. John's IceCaps organization released a statement Monday saying it is "undaunted" about the team's departure, which it points out was expected, and that it is looking for a new team to bring to Newfoundland.
with files from Daniel MacEachern