Niagara IceDogs sold to owner of Brantford hockey team
The Niagara IceDogs have been sold.
The owners of the OHL team announcing today, that pending approval from the OHL Board of Governors, the team will be sold to Darren DeDobbelaer.
DeDobbelaer owns and operates the Ontario Junior A Hockey League’s Brantford 99ers, and the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Brantford Bandits.
The Niagara IceDogs have come under controversy once again after the OHL suspended its general manager, along with the head coach, after an investigation into a text message conversation.
The conversation used sexist and homophobic slurs.
OHL Commissioner David Branch announced in April, that the IceDog's general manager, Joey Burke, and head coach, Billy Burke, have been "indefinitely suspended."
They also face, along with the team, a combined $150,000 fine.
The current owners of the IceDogs, Bill and Denise Burke issued a statement today:
"After 15 years, it is with mixed emotion to announce that we have decided to move on. It was one of the greatest joys of our lives to be able to bring major junior hockey back to the Niagara Region and see our fan base flourish as you all embraced us. Our earliest memory of moving to Niagara was when setting up our first office on Queen Street, a lovely woman popped in and welcomed us to the area, but also added that we would be bankrupt in 5 years because "people in this community don't support their sport teams." Well did you prove her wrong! And not surprisingly, that same woman became one of our long-standing ushers until the day she passed away.
We are proud of the brand that we have built here, and the relationships that have been forged in the community. One of our main goals was to make a difference in the Niagara Region through our charitable endeavours and our hope is that in that we have succeeded.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and friendship over the years and look forward to seeing how far this young team will go! We will be cheering them on along side all of you!"
CKTB has reached out to DeDobbelaer for comment.
The Niagara IceDogs play out of the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines.