Hamilton Bulldogs leave city, but OHL Bulls stampede into town

News Mar 12, 2015 Ancaster News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Businessman and hockey team owner Michael Andlauer remains bullish on Hamilton.

In an expected announcement at a FirstOntario Centre news conference, Andlauer said he has purchased the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls and will relocate them to Hamilton starting in the 2015-16 season.

“I had to seize the opportunity when I could,” said Andlauer. “It ensures Hamilton hockey continues in Hamilton for the future.”

The OHL Bulls, which has been based in Belleville since 1981, will be renamed the Bulldogs. Andlauer said the colours and logo will remain the same. He did indicate a third jersey could be introduced in a different colour in a few years.

The AHL Board of Govenors made the unanimous decision for the purchase and relocation of the Bulls at their March 12 meeting.

The new Bulldogs team will become the 10th OHL team to call Hamilton home. Previously the Dukes of Hamilton played out of Copps Coliseum until they left for Guelph in 1991. Prior to the Dukes, the Steelhawks played in Hamilton from 1984 to 1988.

Other major junior teams that played inHamilton include the Fincups from 1974 to 1976 and 1977 to 1978, the Red Wings from 1960 to 1974, and the Tiger Cubs from 1953 to 1960.

The Hamilton Bulldogs first came to Hamilton in 1996. Andlauer, who also holds a piece of the Montreal Canadiens, purchased the Bulldogs outright in 2004. The Bulldogs, the farm team for the Canadiens, played in three Calder Cup series, in 1996, 2003, but won the cup in 2007.Hamilton’s AHL team is relocating toSt. John’s, Newfoundland after the Canadiens bought out Andlauer’s interest. The team will remain inSt. John’s until a new arena in Laval, Que. is completed.

Audlauer said the entire scenario happened quickly within the last six weeks that provided a “window of opportunity.”

Andlauer remained somewhat confident the OHL team will provide the same economic impact to the city as his AHL franchise did over the last 19 years.

“I would anticipate it will (be) equal,” said Andlauer, who is a trucking executive. “I’m certainly banking on it.”

He said by introducing an OHL team to Hamilton, the new team will create regional rivalries with surrounding teams, most notably the Niagara IceDogs that will energize the local fan base, he said.

If the new Bulldogs are a winning team, “we will be getting a lot of the attention,” he said.

Still, Andlauer acknowledged the OHL team, which will be in the league’s east division, will be playing out of the cavernous FirstOntario Centre, built in 1985 for an NHL team and seats 17,000 people. The AHL team was at the bottom in league attendance attracting over 4,000 people per game.

“This building is too big for an OHL (and) AHL team,” he said. “We’ve done what we had to do. When you have 5,000 people in there with the new Jumbotron, and the LED ring, it makes it more exciting.”

The Bulldogs have one more year left on its lease. Andlauer said he will be exercising his option to remain inHamiltonfor a total of three yeas.

“I want to stay here,” he said.

Team officials say no discussions with local hockey teams have taken place about establishing affiliations with the Bulldogs. Stephen Ostaszewicz, president of the Bulldogs, said those talks will start at the end of the season. He said there are a number of relationship possibilities the team can examine, including with Ancaster Avalanche, the Hamilton Redwings, or evenBurlington.

“The tradition of the OHL (is to affiliate with) a junior B or Tier 2 team,” he said. “We have not entered into any discussions with any teams. We will focus on that once we conclude our season.”

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead, who is also chair of council’s NHL sub-committee, applauded Andlauer’s decision to relocate an OHL team toHamilton. He said in the lease agreement with the owner, Andlauer committed to keeping an OHL or AHL team in the city.

“We avoiding having no tenant,” said Whitehead. “Is it the NHL? No. (But) it’s a real opportunity here that has yet to be experienced by the fans.”

Whitehead said junior hockey has expanded its popularity with the success of the World Junior Championships over the years, a television contract, and a solid fan base.

“It has stability,” he said. “It creates more opportunities for rivalries. I don’t think you will see a dramatic difference in the number of games.”

Whitehead said Andlauer, who lives inBurlington, believes in the city and has kept his word to keep hockey in Hamilton.

“He has a love for this community,” said Whitehead. “He is probably the most stellar owner I’ve every met in his commitment to building a community base. That kind of owner you don’t want to see leave the community.”

Hamilton Bulldogs leave city, but OHL Bulls stampede into town

News Mar 12, 2015 Ancaster News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Businessman and hockey team owner Michael Andlauer remains bullish on Hamilton.

In an expected announcement at a FirstOntario Centre news conference, Andlauer said he has purchased the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls and will relocate them to Hamilton starting in the 2015-16 season.

“I had to seize the opportunity when I could,” said Andlauer. “It ensures Hamilton hockey continues in Hamilton for the future.”

The OHL Bulls, which has been based in Belleville since 1981, will be renamed the Bulldogs. Andlauer said the colours and logo will remain the same. He did indicate a third jersey could be introduced in a different colour in a few years.

The AHL Board of Govenors made the unanimous decision for the purchase and relocation of the Bulls at their March 12 meeting.

The new Bulldogs team will become the 10th OHL team to call Hamilton home. Previously the Dukes of Hamilton played out of Copps Coliseum until they left for Guelph in 1991. Prior to the Dukes, the Steelhawks played in Hamilton from 1984 to 1988.

Other major junior teams that played inHamilton include the Fincups from 1974 to 1976 and 1977 to 1978, the Red Wings from 1960 to 1974, and the Tiger Cubs from 1953 to 1960.

The Hamilton Bulldogs first came to Hamilton in 1996. Andlauer, who also holds a piece of the Montreal Canadiens, purchased the Bulldogs outright in 2004. The Bulldogs, the farm team for the Canadiens, played in three Calder Cup series, in 1996, 2003, but won the cup in 2007.Hamilton’s AHL team is relocating toSt. John’s, Newfoundland after the Canadiens bought out Andlauer’s interest. The team will remain inSt. John’s until a new arena in Laval, Que. is completed.

Audlauer said the entire scenario happened quickly within the last six weeks that provided a “window of opportunity.”

Andlauer remained somewhat confident the OHL team will provide the same economic impact to the city as his AHL franchise did over the last 19 years.

“I would anticipate it will (be) equal,” said Andlauer, who is a trucking executive. “I’m certainly banking on it.”

He said by introducing an OHL team to Hamilton, the new team will create regional rivalries with surrounding teams, most notably the Niagara IceDogs that will energize the local fan base, he said.

If the new Bulldogs are a winning team, “we will be getting a lot of the attention,” he said.

Still, Andlauer acknowledged the OHL team, which will be in the league’s east division, will be playing out of the cavernous FirstOntario Centre, built in 1985 for an NHL team and seats 17,000 people. The AHL team was at the bottom in league attendance attracting over 4,000 people per game.

“This building is too big for an OHL (and) AHL team,” he said. “We’ve done what we had to do. When you have 5,000 people in there with the new Jumbotron, and the LED ring, it makes it more exciting.”

The Bulldogs have one more year left on its lease. Andlauer said he will be exercising his option to remain inHamiltonfor a total of three yeas.

“I want to stay here,” he said.

Team officials say no discussions with local hockey teams have taken place about establishing affiliations with the Bulldogs. Stephen Ostaszewicz, president of the Bulldogs, said those talks will start at the end of the season. He said there are a number of relationship possibilities the team can examine, including with Ancaster Avalanche, the Hamilton Redwings, or evenBurlington.

“The tradition of the OHL (is to affiliate with) a junior B or Tier 2 team,” he said. “We have not entered into any discussions with any teams. We will focus on that once we conclude our season.”

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead, who is also chair of council’s NHL sub-committee, applauded Andlauer’s decision to relocate an OHL team toHamilton. He said in the lease agreement with the owner, Andlauer committed to keeping an OHL or AHL team in the city.

“We avoiding having no tenant,” said Whitehead. “Is it the NHL? No. (But) it’s a real opportunity here that has yet to be experienced by the fans.”

Whitehead said junior hockey has expanded its popularity with the success of the World Junior Championships over the years, a television contract, and a solid fan base.

“It has stability,” he said. “It creates more opportunities for rivalries. I don’t think you will see a dramatic difference in the number of games.”

Whitehead said Andlauer, who lives inBurlington, believes in the city and has kept his word to keep hockey in Hamilton.

“He has a love for this community,” said Whitehead. “He is probably the most stellar owner I’ve every met in his commitment to building a community base. That kind of owner you don’t want to see leave the community.”

Hamilton Bulldogs leave city, but OHL Bulls stampede into town

News Mar 12, 2015 Ancaster News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Businessman and hockey team owner Michael Andlauer remains bullish on Hamilton.

In an expected announcement at a FirstOntario Centre news conference, Andlauer said he has purchased the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls and will relocate them to Hamilton starting in the 2015-16 season.

“I had to seize the opportunity when I could,” said Andlauer. “It ensures Hamilton hockey continues in Hamilton for the future.”

The OHL Bulls, which has been based in Belleville since 1981, will be renamed the Bulldogs. Andlauer said the colours and logo will remain the same. He did indicate a third jersey could be introduced in a different colour in a few years.

The AHL Board of Govenors made the unanimous decision for the purchase and relocation of the Bulls at their March 12 meeting.

The new Bulldogs team will become the 10th OHL team to call Hamilton home. Previously the Dukes of Hamilton played out of Copps Coliseum until they left for Guelph in 1991. Prior to the Dukes, the Steelhawks played in Hamilton from 1984 to 1988.

Other major junior teams that played inHamilton include the Fincups from 1974 to 1976 and 1977 to 1978, the Red Wings from 1960 to 1974, and the Tiger Cubs from 1953 to 1960.

The Hamilton Bulldogs first came to Hamilton in 1996. Andlauer, who also holds a piece of the Montreal Canadiens, purchased the Bulldogs outright in 2004. The Bulldogs, the farm team for the Canadiens, played in three Calder Cup series, in 1996, 2003, but won the cup in 2007.Hamilton’s AHL team is relocating toSt. John’s, Newfoundland after the Canadiens bought out Andlauer’s interest. The team will remain inSt. John’s until a new arena in Laval, Que. is completed.

Audlauer said the entire scenario happened quickly within the last six weeks that provided a “window of opportunity.”

Andlauer remained somewhat confident the OHL team will provide the same economic impact to the city as his AHL franchise did over the last 19 years.

“I would anticipate it will (be) equal,” said Andlauer, who is a trucking executive. “I’m certainly banking on it.”

He said by introducing an OHL team to Hamilton, the new team will create regional rivalries with surrounding teams, most notably the Niagara IceDogs that will energize the local fan base, he said.

If the new Bulldogs are a winning team, “we will be getting a lot of the attention,” he said.

Still, Andlauer acknowledged the OHL team, which will be in the league’s east division, will be playing out of the cavernous FirstOntario Centre, built in 1985 for an NHL team and seats 17,000 people. The AHL team was at the bottom in league attendance attracting over 4,000 people per game.

“This building is too big for an OHL (and) AHL team,” he said. “We’ve done what we had to do. When you have 5,000 people in there with the new Jumbotron, and the LED ring, it makes it more exciting.”

The Bulldogs have one more year left on its lease. Andlauer said he will be exercising his option to remain inHamiltonfor a total of three yeas.

“I want to stay here,” he said.

Team officials say no discussions with local hockey teams have taken place about establishing affiliations with the Bulldogs. Stephen Ostaszewicz, president of the Bulldogs, said those talks will start at the end of the season. He said there are a number of relationship possibilities the team can examine, including with Ancaster Avalanche, the Hamilton Redwings, or evenBurlington.

“The tradition of the OHL (is to affiliate with) a junior B or Tier 2 team,” he said. “We have not entered into any discussions with any teams. We will focus on that once we conclude our season.”

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead, who is also chair of council’s NHL sub-committee, applauded Andlauer’s decision to relocate an OHL team toHamilton. He said in the lease agreement with the owner, Andlauer committed to keeping an OHL or AHL team in the city.

“We avoiding having no tenant,” said Whitehead. “Is it the NHL? No. (But) it’s a real opportunity here that has yet to be experienced by the fans.”

Whitehead said junior hockey has expanded its popularity with the success of the World Junior Championships over the years, a television contract, and a solid fan base.

“It has stability,” he said. “It creates more opportunities for rivalries. I don’t think you will see a dramatic difference in the number of games.”

Whitehead said Andlauer, who lives inBurlington, believes in the city and has kept his word to keep hockey in Hamilton.

“He has a love for this community,” said Whitehead. “He is probably the most stellar owner I’ve every met in his commitment to building a community base. That kind of owner you don’t want to see leave the community.”