Hamilton Bulldogs moving to St. John's, IceCaps to Winnipeg
Canadiens' AHL affiliate to start playing in N.L. next season
The Montreal Canadiens' American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, will be moving to St. John's beginning next season, as the IceCaps move to Winnipeg.
IceCaps president and CEO Danny Williams and Glenn Stanford, chief operating officer, made the announcement Thursday evening at Mile One Centre in St. John's.
"For me, personally, it's a great honour and indeed a pleasure for the second time in a decade to announce that Newfoundland and Labrador is going from a 'Hab-not' province to a 'Hab' province," Williams joked.
"We're here today, Glenn and I, to announce very proudly that Mile One will be the home for the next two years of the Montreal Canadiens' AHL farm team, formerly the Hamilton Bulldogs."
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Rumours had been circulating that the Bulldogs would take the place of the NHL Jets' minor league club in St. John's.
Previous reports said there was a "strong chance" the Jets would be moving their AHL farm team to the MTS Centre, leaving some sports fans wondering about the future of professional hockey in St. John's.
Williams said the Canadiens' farm team will be in St. John's for at least the next two years.
"They're truly an iconic and a legendary club and organization, and I might dare to say that probably the greatest hockey franchise in the entire world," he said.
"For us to team up with them and to get the benefit of their organization having just dealt with an outstanding organization in Winnipeg and to be able to carry on from here and to again offer the fans in St. John's, and indeed all of Newfoundland and Labrador, professional hockey for at least two more years is truly a great privilege."
The name of the St. John's AHL team will remain the IceCaps, and new uniforms will be released in the next few months.
Williams added the IceCaps will continue the season in St. John's and still have to go through the playoffs.
Last year, the Jets announced a deal with the IceCaps that would see the team remain in St. John's for the 2015-16 season.
It's not yet known what the IceCaps will be known as when they move to Winnipeg. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said the team's name and branding will be released soon.