Plymouth Whalers plan move to Flint, pending OHL approval — reports

 Plymouth Whalers' rookie Will Bitten has had a promising start (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)
Plymouth Whalers' rookie Will Bitten has had a promising start (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

So "hopefully, Chatham" has given away to "all signs point to a move to Flint" for the Plymouth Whalers.

The proof will be in the details that come out Wednesday, of course, but Terry Camp of Flint's ABC 12 News and Aaron McMann of the Flint Journal have passed along word that a franchise move within the state of Michigan is just a matter of finishing the paperwork and getting OHL approval. The team has called a press conference for Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET in Plymouth. 

That clears up weeks, nay months, of speculation about how much longer the franchise was for Plymouth. 

Ultimately, the OHL gains from keeping a third team Stateside, along with the Saginaw Spirit and Erie Otters. That is essential for maintaining a strong recruiting base from the U.S.. Flint's Perani Arena is also adequately sized for major junior hockey at 4,021, especially if the new product is marketed and promoted properly. That's more of a benefit to 19 other teams than continuously small crowd in Plymouth, or playing at a temporary home in Chatham.

Saginaw would also gain a more natural rival. 

In terms of expediency, this makes sense. Chatham has some appeal as an idea, but the lack of a suitable venue might not make it a suitable landing spot for a team in an apparently rush to move (as previously outlined).

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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