The St. John's Fog Devils hockey team has been sold to a new Quebec-based owner, leaving a city-owned stadium without an anchor tenant.
The Fog Devils, who play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, were founded in 2005 after the Toronto Maple Leafs pulled their farm team from St. John's that year.
Owner Derm Dobbin has had troubles with management of the Mile One stadium over rental costs, and team president Brad Dobbin said earlier this season that low spectator turnout was making operating the team difficult.
Matthew Ryder, the team's media relations officer, said hockey fans would not likely see a replacement soon for the Fog Devils.
"In my opinion, St. John's has probably had its hockey. It's going to be a long time before another team comes along," Ryder said.
"The belief by a lot of ill-informed folk seems to be, 'What's going to come here in September?' The answer to that question is, 'Nothing.'"
In a deal that must be approved by the league board, the Fog Devils are poised to move to Verdun, Que.
Derm Dobbin and his now-deceased brother, Craig Dobbin, launched the team after the St. John's Maple Leafs decamped after 13 years in the city.
The City of St. John's built money-losing Mile One largely because the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted a larger stadium where its farm team could play. Instead, the Leafs transferred their farm team, which plays in the American Hockey League, to Toronto after only a few seasons in Mile One.
Coun. Ron Ellsworth represents the city on the board of St. John's Sports and Entertainment, which governs Mile One. He said it is too bad the Fog Devils are leaving, but the city does not need a hockey team to anchor the stadium.
"I don't think we had any one anchor. We had a combination of different events and activities happening at Mile One," Ellsworth told CBC News.
"Obviously we will have to meet as a board now that decision has been made, and we'll have to start developing a plan over the next coming months."
In December, St. John's city council voted to increase its annual subsidy for St. John's Sports and Entertainment, which also manages a nearby convention centre, to $2 million per year, an incremental jump of $1 million over the last two fiscal years.
The Fog Devils are currently second from last in their division. Should they not earn a berth in the playoffs, the team will play its last game at Mile One in mid-March.
At least 30 people will lose their jobs.