Soon to be Battalion-less the city of Brampton wasted no time in finding a tenant for the soon to be empty Powerade Centre as they are set to welcome the inaugural CHL (Central Hockey League) Canadian franchise. A league described by Brampton’s mayor Susan Fennel as “high level professional hockey”. Nothing could be further from fact, as i am sure most people reading this have never heard of the prodominately southern state league. The CHLs head offices (assuming more than one office exists ) are based in the hockey hot bed that is Arizona. The claim to recent “fame” of the CHL is the promotion of two of their on ice officials to the NHL.

Years of disgraceful attendance at the Powerade Centre forced Battalion ownership to announce in late 2012 the teams relocation to North Bay starting next Ontario Hockey League season. Despite a rather large (in OHL terms ) population to draw from, the Battalion have seen sparse crowds at best so when the teams fifteen year lease came to an end the move was a no brainer.

News of the as yet unnamed franchises arrival comes with more than a few questions. The financial history of the CHL is spotty at best, so the longevity of the league as a whole is unclear. On more than one occasion rumors have had the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) taking over and absorbing the remaining CHL teams into their ranks.

Travel will be a large factor for both the Brampton franchise and the rest of the league making the trip up to Canada, as all but one of the CHLs other teams reside over 1000 Km away. Who will be responsible for funding the travel for such a low level team?

What is it that makes the CHL and Brampton city council believe that any chance of success for this franchise exists when the Battalion have been trying unsuccessfully for a decade and a half? The constant in every interview and press release regarding the subject has been that the franchise will be “engaged in the community”. Whether its a parting shot to the Battalion or just a catchy phrase being used to deflect the real question remains to be seen.

Ownership is the one apparent stable part of this bizarre story. Gregg Rosen who has previous ownership experience with the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League is the proud new owner of the Brampton franchise. The optimism of ownership and Brampton’s mayor is undoubtedly misplaced as the gta market as a whole has proven time and again that hockey is secondary to Maple Leafs hockey. The recurring theme is that nothing will be successful unless it is is the NHL. Even the AHL (American Hockey League) Marlies (the Leafs direct affiliate ) are having issues with attendance and they are based in the downtown core.

This appears to be a marriage destined for failure. The combination of a relatively unknown league with even lesser known players and a city with a history of non support of almost any franchise to ever call Brampton home would scare most away, but not the CHL. Its definitely not a risk free move, but this doesn’t appear to be a league willing to take the safe route.


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2 Responses

  1. Ken

    Currently the Leafs have only one farm team.If the new Brampton pro franchise switches from the CHL to the ECHL,as did the Ft. Wayne Komets,could this new Brampton pro hockey team become the Leafs second farm club?Most NHL teams have a second farm team in the ECHL.

    • awesomecanada

      We actually have something in the works looking at the viability of the Brampton team and ways they may try to make things work. Your idea is a great one and we are currently investingating it along with a few other options. Keep an eye out in the next few days as we hope to have the article published by Friday.