RELOCATION: Hamilton Bulldogs to St. John’s

The American Hockey League have confirmed that the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate – Hamilton Bulldogs are relocating to St. John’s, Newfoundland. David Andrews, the President and CEO of the American Hockey League confirmed at 5:20pm eastern today that the St. John’s IceCaps (Winnipeg Jets AHL affiliate) are being relocated to Winnipeg effective the 2015-16 season, as well as the Bulldogs relocating to St. John’s effective the 2015-16 season.

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The City of Hamilton first received the American Hockey League franchise in 1996 as a result of the relocation of the Cape Breton Oilers from Sydney, Nova Scotia. Since the relocation of the Oilers, the Hamilton Bulldogs have been playing all of their games out of the FirstOntario Centre (formerly Copps Coliseum). Since being in Hamilton, the Bulldogs have won 1 Calder Cup, 3 Conference Championships, 4 Division Championships and 1 Regular Season title. The 2006-07 Hamilton Bulldogs, which won a Calder Cup, included playoff MVP Carey Price.

In St. John’s, the team can probably look forward to larger attendances. Below is the Hamilton Bulldogs average attendance over the last five seasons, and the St. John’s IceCaps average attendance since their creation:

Hamilton Bulldogs
2014-15: 4,069
2013-14: 4,946
2012-13: 5,342
2011-12: 4,848
2010-11: 4,257

St. John's IceCaps
2014-15: 5,780
2013-14: 6,287
2012-13: 6,287
2011-12 (Debut season): 6,297

 

According to the Montreal Canadiens, the team will be leaving the “Bulldogs” name behind in Hamilton and take on the name of the currently existing St. John’s IceCaps during their tenure in Newfoundland until the end of the 2016-17 season, when Place Bell, the hockey facility in Laval is expected to be ready.

However, the name “Bulldogs” will not be completely abandoned. At the time that the American Hockey League announced the relocation of the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Ontario Hockey League approved the sale of the Belleville Bulls to Hamilton and will be re-named the Hamilton Bulldogs.

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Excluding the next Bulldogs home game at the Bell Centre in Montreal, there are three more home games in Hamilton remaining before the end of the regular season. These games include vs. Chicago (April 2nd), vs. Toronto (April 4th), and vs. Lake Erie (April 18th). Hamilton are currently 7th place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the 9th place team, although having played three more games. Tickets for Hamilton Bulldogs home game can be bought here.

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