In 2011, the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors hosted the Memorial Cup, which was supposed to create a bump for junior hockey profile's in the busy Greater Toronto Area market. Now, with a new owner on his way in, there could be a re-branding for the franchise.
Far be it to say Eugene Melnyk selling his team one year after hosting the Canadian Hockey League championship amounts to an admission hosting the tournament in 'Sauga was always about the short-term profit, or perhaps showing, look, junior hockey doesn't work in Toronto except for a big-ticket event. It's taken time to dot the I's and cross the T's, but it's been known for some time Elliott Kerr is purchasing the Majors franchise from the Ottawa Senators owner who arguably kept the team in Ontario's largest market when he bought it in the mid-2000s. It also appears that Kerr, who had to divest his stake in the Guelph Storm before he could become Mississauga's owner, might also change the team's name. Mike Farwell of Sportsnet Radio, who is also the Kitchener Rangers long-time radio analyst, will "be introduced tomorrow as new owner of #OHL's Mississauga Majors. Watch for a nickname change, too.
(Update: Iain Colpitts has confirmed the details. Head coach and general manager James Boyd, who guided Mississauga to a respectable sixth-place finish during a retooling season, will stay on. The ties to St. Michael's College are expected to be "severed.")
Will that do anything to help give the team more of a footprint, or is it more of a reshuffling of the deck chairs? Frankly, the St. Michael's Majors moniker seemed contrived once Melnyk moved the club from the tiny St. Michael's College Arena at 1515 Bathurst St. in downtown Toronto to the Hershey Centre amid Mississauga's suburban sprawl. It always seems like a lot of mental energy is spent on brainstorming a team name — not that the three newest monikers in the Canadian Hockey League,that Victoria Royals, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and Sherbrooke Phoenix, didn't seem like winners — for how much it matters. It's probably not as big or a make-or-break as whether the product is appealing, you know.
The Mississauga News reported last week that city councillors have passed a resolution that "approves a lease transfer from SMC Hockey Corporation (which is named as owner of the OHL club in previous City documents) to 'a new company to be incorporated and led by Elliott Kerr.'
"The resolution doesn't specifically say what the lease is for, but it does mention the City is the landlord and also mentions 'nine suite license agreements.' It's believed to be referring to the Hershey Centre."
Mississauga's Peel Region rival, the Brampton Battalion have also been subject to relocation rumours. The Owen Sound Greys Junior B team is moving to the community, which hasn't exactly diminished speculation.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.