Junior ‘A’ Hockey Franchise to Relocate to Edmundston
The Maritime Junior Hockey League has formally announced the transfer of the Dieppe Commandos franchise to the city of Edmundston, effective at the end of the 2016-17 season.
PHOTO: Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard, MHL President Brian Whitehead and new MHL Edmundston team president, André LeBel.
The MHL Board of Governors recently approved the transfer following a presentation by several key members of the proposed Edmundston franchise group
President Brian Whitehead said the board was… “Very impressed with both the detail and professionalism of the Edmundston group’s presentation. They are clearly passionate about the game and their desire to join the MHL. Although the relocation of a franchise is never an easy decision and the success of the Dieppe Commandos on the ice should in no way be discounted, this is a great day for the league as we welcome an exciting new group to the MHL.”
The city of Edmundston is home to over 16,000 residents, with approximately 100,000 people living within a 100-kilometer radius of the city. A long time senior hockey hotbed, Edmundston is awaiting the completion of a new amphitheatre, the Jean-Daigle Centre, in the fall of 2017. The centre will be able to accommodate over 2400 people for hockey.
Bringing the MHL to Edmundston is a group led by a number of local residents with experience in business, hockey operations, education, communications and administration. Several key roles within the organization have already been determined, with Team Presidency duties being handled by Andre LeBel.
LeBel has a long history in both hockey and business in the Edmundston area. After a successful Junior A career in Quebec, LeBel suited up for the senior level Edmundston Eskimos and Saint-Basile Aces. A member of several local committees and community initiatives, LeBel is also the retired CEO of the Caisses Populaires Trois Rives.
“It’s a great day for Edmundston,” LeBel said. “There is no doubt as to our community’s passion for hockey and there is no doubt as to the suitability of our new amphitheatre as a home arena for this team. We made a strong proposal with a strong group of stakeholders and we are more than ready to welcome this team and the MHL to Edmundston.”
The Commandos are currently in their ninth season in Dieppe. Since moving to Dieppe in 2008, the Commandos have made three appearances in the MHL Finals (2014-16), won the Kent Cup as league playoff champions in 2015 and have participated in two Fred Page Cups, including 2009 when they were the host team.
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