Now that the dust has settled in regards to the surprising announcement of Brampton’s expansion team in the Central Hockey League for the upcoming season, a look into the clubs future is in order.


The yet to be named franchise will play at the Powerade Centre, a 5000 seat facility currently home to the Brampton Battalion of the OHL.  The Battalion’s exit at season’s end for the greener pastures of North Bay necessitated the new tenant.


Dwindling attendance at the Powerade Centre in recent years forced the Battalions impending move, so what does the Central Hockey League see that the rest of the hockey world doesn’t?


If the team is expecting any level of success in the GTA market (and presumably they are), there are a few things that need to happen.


Be Affordable 


Brampton’s cultural diversity means that many residents haven’t grown up with hockey and they will need every incentive to get them into the seats.  Low ticket prices are an easy way to accomplish this.  Currently on their website tickets are broken into five categories with prices ranging from $10-$18 a game for season ticket holders claiming a savings of 50% off box office pricing.  Simple math says they are therefore planning on single game ticket prices ranging  from $20-$36. The departing Battalion (with all their attendance issues) current single game ticket prices range from $10-$20.  In order to get Bramptonians into the arena a reassessment of ticket prices is a must.


Be Family Friendly


Brampton along with much of the surrounding area is built up of families.  As the target audience the team needs to make the game experience one that the whole family will enjoy.  Sure the game itself is why dad is there but mom and the kids are not so easily entertained.  Simple things like give-aways and a likable mascot  can go a long way to pleasing the entire family.


Build Excitement


Probably the most difficult task the team will face is building a buzz in a crowded marketplace.  The teams Facebook page having 39 likes is evidence of the work that needs to be done.  Putting a winner on the ice would be a good start but more will need to happen to accomplish this.  The “Name Your Team Contest” currently running is the clubs first attempt at engaging the community.  Successful or not, constant contests, draws, and a boat load of advertising will be required to get the people of Brampton interested about whats going on at the Powerade Centre.


Become an Affiliate


While the likelihood of becoming an NHL affiliate in their first year is slim, its sure worth a shot.  Geography says the obvious choice would be the Toronto Maple Leafs, who since breaking off their affiliation with the Reading Royals of the ECHL have only the AHLs Marlies as a direct affiliate.  The CHL is no stranger to NHL relationships, currently three teams are listed as affiliates and all reside in the same market as their big league clubs.  Brampton would provide a convenient, local place for the Leafs to put players lower in their rankings, while garnering immediate credibility for the new team.


There is no doubt that a lot of work needs to be done in the coming months to prepare Brampton for the Central Hockey League, and the club needs to start yesterday if they have any hope of making the CHLs first Canadian team a success.



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8 Responses

  1. awesomecanada

    You do have the advantage of being a season ticket holder as i have never seen that interaction, or lack there of from the team. And i do agree that Mr. Abbott has had more than one foot out the door for quite some time, just waiting for the lease to be up, leading to a lack of marketing. But the club has done (maybe not as much as they needed to but still some) community work. They have been involved in programs to give tickets to volunteers of local charities and to students of local schools as well as awards programs for local student athletes, They have also sponsored many local minor teams. The main point that i’m trying to raise is the need to market the team to the many different groups within Bramptons borders. Trying to focus all marketing on one segment of the population would just be foolish and there is a real opportunity for this team to cross into some non traditional households.

    • bb

      Abbott did not want to move, but the arena, specifically RealStars refused to agree on some very simple requests from the team as conditions of renewing the lease. There is no logical reason for Abbott to want to move the team 5 hours away as he himself is not moving to the North Bay area and will be commuting for each game. Attendance is the politically correct excuse being used by both sides to avoid the finger pointing game. If Abbott was that concerned about the money he would have dumped the team and moved on in life as so many owners have in Mississauga and other OHL towns. Real Stars has been trying to get the Battalion out for a while.

  2. Ken

    I agree with this excellent article.The club needs to try to sell the great game of hockey to people who did not grow up with the game.Many citizens of Brampton were born in India.A Diwali night would be an excellent idea.

    • awesomecanada

      A Diwali night or something to help cater to Brampton’s population is an interesting idea. We are very interested in this story and plan on keeping tabs on how the team works out. Thanks for your feedback!

      • Lorne

        While a Diwali night isn’t a bad idea, all most people think of when they think of Brampton is our large new Canadian population, but there are 300,000 people in Brampton who are 2nd generation Canadians or older.

      • awesomecanada

        The problem being that marketing to that demographic has been tried and failed with the Battalion, so for any kind of success the new club will need to find a way to bring people who aren’t traditional hockey fans in to the arena.

      • Lorne

        No, it hasn’t. The Battalion haven’t done anything to reach out to any community for the 7 years I have been a season ticket subscriber. I live and work in Brampton, and the Battalion have never had any sort of community presence,. The Battalion failed in Brampton, and the sole reason is the owner, Scott Abbot. Any halfway decent marketing plan, coupled with an owner who cares and listens to their customers (don’t forget that this is a business venture first and formost) will be a leaps-and-bounds improvement, and success will be so much more attainable. I’m not going to say that a CHL team will be a sure-fire, slam-dunk hit, but an owner that cares will have a better than decent chance.