Corner Brook Royals moving to Deer Lake

West coast senior hockey team owner Ross Coates cites cost of playing at Pepsi Centre as rationale for making decision.

Senior hockey team cites cost of holding games at Pepsi Centre as reason for decision

A 'champagne rink on a beer budget' prompts move out of Corner Brook, reports Doug Greer 2:37

Corner Brook Royals owner Ross Coates says moving the team was a tough decision, citing the high costs of playing home games in the mill town.

The team has been re-named the Western Royals, and will operate out of Deer Lake's Hodder Stadium as of this coming season. 

Coates says it's much cheaper to hold games in Deer Lake than at Corner Brook's Pepsi Centre.

"[It's] probably one of the last things we ever wanted to do, because the city is my home as well," Coates said.

"I've been a big Royals fan for as long as I can remember. To want to keep it Corner Brook? Absolutely. But the main reason is the cost of operating there is too high."

Coates says every effort was made to keep the team in Corner Brook, but they did not get any support from city council.

City response

Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley expressed "disappointment" in losing the team.

Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley says there is only so much support taxpayers can provide. (CBC)

"The Royals have been a mainstay in the city of Corner Brook for a long, long time," Greeley said.

But he rejected calls for additional assistance to keep the Royals in the city, noting that council has provided an annual subsidy of up to $850,000 to the Pepsi Centre.

"There’s only so much that the taxpayers of Corner Brook can do," Greeley said.

The Royals compete in the top level of senior amateur hockey in the province, vying for the Herder Memorial trophy.

Deer Lake is located roughly 50 kilometres from Corner Brook.

The town's own team, the Red Wings, folded after the 2010-11 season.