Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The end of junior hockey in T.O.

Eugene Melnyk is finally getting his Toronto-St. Michael's Majors into a bigger, more modern arena.

As expected, the Ontario Hockey League team is moving to Mississauga, Ont., and will be known as the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors.
An unfortunate, yet completely understandable move.

When I first moved to Toronto, I lived next to and went to quite a few games at St. Mike's old rickety rink, and the 1,000 seater offered a junior hockey experience unlike any other. It was almost like going back in time to Kamloops' old Memorial Arena, a barn that the Blazers moved out of in the early '90s and into one of those 5,000+ arenas that are the rage in medium-sized cities these days.

So, there goes the Canadian Hockey League's presence in the country's biggest hockey market, to the benefit of some deserving fans in St. Catharines. I'm glad the Majors were here while I was still plugged into the OHL, and down the line, I can be one of those old guys who says "remember when junior hockey left T.O."



At 10:37 a.m., June 06, 2007, Anonymous OrderedChaos said...

Sad to see 'em go, though the Majors had clearly outgrown the ol' barn at St. Michael’s College School. Still, what a rollicking place that was to see a game!

At 10:40 a.m., June 06, 2007, Blogger Julian said...

An ex-girlfriend of mine used to live in an apartment overlooking the St. Mikes arena, I always appreciate being a hundred feet from a rink where there was always hockey going on.
I also appreciated how they shut down the ticket stand after the second period, enabling anyone to just walk in a grab a seat for the last third of the game.

At 1:30 p.m., June 06, 2007, Blogger Road Apples said...

Ah damn. I knew it was coming but it still is sad.

We get to the Majors' rink nearly every winter on our annual OHL trip - it will be missed, and because of the lack of comfort. Nearly everyone plays in the more modern arenas, which is a drag - much like the 70s baseball parks all looked the same (sterile donut styles of Riverfront, 3 Rivers, Veterans, etc.), many of these 4500 seaters are indistinguishable (e.g. Oshawa, Mississauga, Barrie)...:

"despite the cold benches, the elementary-school sized bathrooms, and the worst coffee in the O, the arena will be truly missed ... There really is a charm in this old arena; with no modern distractions such as replay or ringed multicolour lighting systems. You’re there for one thing only: hockey. And to some of us, that’s the way it should be..."

And I think their new home (Hershey Centre) in Mississauga is the worst.


At 2:46 p.m., June 06, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

>> I can be one of those old guys who says "remember when junior hockey left T.O." <<

Hey, I'll be one of the old guys who says I "remember when junior hockey left T.O." -- TWICE.

Ah, the Marlies. They won a lot of Memorial Cups back in the day.

At 3:13 p.m., June 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a contest for the stupidest team name in sports? Because I think we have a winner.

At 6:38 p.m., June 08, 2007, Blogger Rand said...

I've always been oddly fond of the name for some reason though I can't really identify why I like it.


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