Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summerside "Coyotes"... you heard it here first!!!

Lots of talk in the hockey world these days...  Summerside got "outmanoeuvred" by Serge Sevard Sr. and their hopes for Lewiston playing in the "Palace" (Credit Union Place) are all but foiled for now...  but I'm thinking a strategic move for Basil and the "boys" would be continuing to always think big and take a run at getting the Phoenix Coyotes to move to the City of Summerside...  think about it!!!  we just heard the news that the Atlanta Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg and the Manitoba Moose are off to Newfoundland so why not the "Coyotes" to S'Side to help "fill" the Palace... 

Phoenix is not that far out of the way from the concert law suit in San Jose, Calf. so the boys could save some air fare while they're doing the negotiations... remember, you heard it here first!

Maineiacs saga comes to end with yes vote

Published on June 2, 2011
The Guardian

A league buyout is a strange way to dismantle a franchise, but the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League voted to purchase the floundering Lewiston Maineiacs on Tuesday.

A new expansion team will be awarded to Sherbrooke, Que., for the 2012-13 season.

Those interests are spearheaded by Jocelyn Thibault, former QMJHL and NHL goalie.

The league will release later this week a 17-team schedule for 2011-12.

A dispersal draft of Lewiston's players goes Friday at noon, a day before the main entry draft on Saturday in Victoriaville, Que.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The action came after a board of governors vote on Tuesday.

It all was good news for Serge Savard Jr., P.E.I. Rocket president and governor, because it ended months-long speculation and rumour Lewiston planned to relocate to Summerside and the 4,400-seat Credit Union Place arena.

“Obviously, I voted for (the purchase). I think it’s OK. We said all along two teams wouldn’t survive on on the Island. And it was clear the franchise couldn’t keep operating in Lewiston,” said Savard from Victoriaville, Que., where the 2011 QMJHL entry draft is being held on Saturday. “It protected Charlottetown. Owners will always protect their markets. That’s their first mandate.”

The near-unanimous yes vote puts to bed an odd, gossip-filled saga that kept alive talk of Lewiston relocating even after an informal conference call between the governors and league commissioner Gilles Courteau in late May drew little support for the move from the franchises.

The Rocket re-upped with the City of Charlottetown in April for another three years.

That move closed off the odds of a team choosing Summerside at its home base.

But since December 2010, Lewiston, with Summerside native Bill Schurman as a management consultant, and lured by Credit Union Place, and disappointed by its awful gate returns at the Androscoggin Arena in Lewiston, wooed Summerside repeatedly.

The Maineiacs even toured CUP, current home of the Maritime Hockey League’s Summerside Western Capitals, during a two-game road trip to P.E.I. in early March.

But the franchise, which moved to Maine from Sherbrooke in 2003, couldn't survive its poor attendance that flagged even after winning the President’s Cup in 2007.

Last season, Lewiston averaged just over 2,000 spectators per game.

“I am truly sad for Maineiacs fans,” said Mark Just, Lewiston majority owner, in a release. “For those that supported the team over the past few years, I would like to thank you. Nonetheless, mounting financial losses became too much to bear for our ownership group.”

So, Sherbrooke will get a team again, the third time around since 1969.

Next season, it will play at its old home — the 46-year-old, 5,000-seat Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet - once arrangements are made with the current tenant, the Sherbrooke Saint-Francois of the Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey.

“Sherbrooke is not ready to accept a team right away,” said Savard. “We (the board) were on the same page. We would like a franchise in Sherbrooke. It was no-brainer for us.”

A board vote was expected Wednesday to determine in what order the teams will pick in the dispersal draft.

Some of the players available Friday are defenceman Samuel Finn, Columbus Blue Devils prospect Michael Chaput, New York Islanders pick Kirill Kabanov, defenceman Dillon Fournier, the top selection in the 2010 QMJHL draft, and Étienne Brodeur, the league’s only 50-goal scorer this past season.

The Rocket pick ninth overall in Saturday’s entry draft.

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