June 16, 2011
The Montreal Juniors franchise is doing what a lot of people in Vancouver wished they could have done — flee for the countryside and suburbs.
As first chronicled last week, an ownership group headed by former NHL defenceman and TV personality Joël Bouchard (pictured) is moving the Montreal Juniors to the growing suburb of Boisbriand, Que., in time for next season. Other investors might include NHLers such as Daniel Brière, Jean-Sébastien Giguère and fait partie du groupe, avec Ian Laperrière. For Bouchard, et al., it is a culmination of a long drive to put a team in the new arena opened in Boisbriand. RDS reported the purchase price is about $4 million, while the team while have a new nickname and colours.
"Ce fut un long processus, il y a longtemps qu'on tentait de faire l'acquisition d'une franchise, a mentionné Bouchard en entrevue à RDS. Je connais beaucoup le circuit et vous connaissez ma passion pour le hockey. On va discuter du plan entre nous, mais c'est sûr que de finaliser l'entente était la priorité."
Les détails de la transaction n'ont toutefois pas été dévoilés, mais RDS a appris qu'elle serait évaluée à environ quatre millions de dollars.
Les couleurs et le nom de l'équipe seront remplacés. (RDS.ca)
Does this close the book on the QMJHL trying to build another beachhead in Canadiens-mad Montreal, where two teams (Juniors and the Montreal-turned-P.E.I. Rocket) have come and gone in the past decade? Not necessarily. RDS' Stéphane Leroux explained the team's protected territory will not include the south shore of Montreal, meaning a new team in the province's hub city is possible if a modern arena is built. It won't happen if the team has to play in the old Verdun Auditorium.
Meanwhile, as Bert Richardson put it, it's been anything but a sedate off-season for the league:
It's been a wild few weeks in the league since the season ended with the Saint John Sea Dogs hoisting the Memorial Cup. Since all the good press the QMJHL got with that Cup win, one team has completely folded, another is relocating, and the No. 1 selection in the Entry Draft [Nathan MacKinnon] may not even report. There is never a dull moment in Quebec league land. (Station Nation)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.