Scott Abbott (second from left) after the Battalion move received league approval (OHL Images)Scott Abbott cleared the major hurdle to move his Battalion to North Bay, but not without a look back and who his team is leaving in Brampton.
Abbott and Battalion president Mike Griffin, who received unanimous approval Monday from the OHL to move north next season, could not have asked for a tighter turnaround. The time lapse between North Bay city council approving a $12-million upgrade to the city's Memorial Gardens and the league signing off was only two weeks. It makes it easier to move ahead making sure the OHL's reboot in North Bay goes smoothly. A local campaign that resulted in nearly 2,150 three-year season-ticket commitments was a big part of welcoming back a city that lost its Centennials in 2002.
"I was confident that we could get to the 2,000 by December 31st, which was the challenge," Abbott said Monday night. "But to have it done in six days from the launch of the campaign was unbelievable.
"This is a milestone, certainly, but there's a lot of work to be done," he added. "Bringing the Memorial Gardens up to contemporary OHL standards. The building is in good shape. It was probably overbuilt for the mid-'50s when it went up, which is keeping us in good stead right now ... there is plenty of work to be done to be ready for the fall of 2013.
"But I'm quite pleased that we've managed it and been able to be aboveboard about it and do it early by November 19. I understand that today is a bad day for our loyal fans in Brampton. I've always said that we have a hard core of very loyal, very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable fans in Brampton, there just haven't been enough of them. But I do feel for them today, yes."Read More »from Battalion owner Scott Abbott glad relocation hasn’t been messy; now the hard work begins in North Bay