GRAND FALLS, N.B. – The Woodstock Slammers Maritime Junior Hockey League franchise is on the move.
The league announced Wednesday the transfer of the Slammers to the town of Grand Falls, N.B. The Slammers had requested a leave of absence in March after being a member of the league since 2003.
The man primarily responsible for bringing the MHL to Grand Falls is the town’s mayor, Marcel Deschenes.
“When it was announced that the Woodstock Slammers franchise was available, the buzz on the street was that Grand Falls had to get junior A hockey (into the) E.&P. Senechal Center,” Deschenes said.
The MHL received Deschenes’ relocation proposal at a special board of governors meeting last Friday. At that time, the board approved the move.
“After hearing from Mr. Deschenes, the Board of Governors felt the proposal to relocate the Slammers franchise to Grand Falls was a sound one,” said MHL president Brian Whitehead. “Although we are disappointed over the turn of events in Woodstock, which has long been a town that proudly represented our league, we nonetheless welcome and look forward to growing the MHL in Grand Falls. We feel the community will embrace Jr. A hockey as we continue to strive towards making the MHL a league of choice in our region.”
The Grand Falls area is home to almost 6,000 residents. Prior to the arrival of the MHL, the town boasted a rich history of senior hockey. The E.&P. Senechal Centre was built in 2009 and seats 1,200 fans.
A contest will be held in conjunction with area schools and the community in general to name the new team, one of the first steps towards introducing the club – and the MHL – to the area.
“By involving the whole community in choosing a name for our new team, the buzz will keep growing,” Deschenes said.
The first major MHL event for the Grand Falls group will be the league’s annual general meeting and entry draft, being held in Berwick, June 7 to 9.
During their time in the league, the Slammers won three playoff titles as well as a Fred Page Cup and were RBC Cup national junior A silver medallists in 2012.