How the OHL can survive in Cornwall. Again.
Word on the street is the Plymouth Whalers are on the move out of Michigan. First place that ownership would like to re-locate to is Chatham, Ontario. If sold, Cornwall could be the first place on the market. We have to realize that Cornwall is starting to grow and grow rapidly no matter what the nay-sayers say. The OHL would become a major attraction to the city.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time Cornwall has housed an OHL team. The second half of the Royals life played out in the OHL from 1983-1992. Poor attendance is what caused its demise and eventual move to Newmarket. Now, the franchise is known as the Sarnia Sting.
First issue you’d have to tackle is an arena housing three teams. Well, Cornwall is not big enough to support two major players in the River Kings and this new OHL franchise so guess what? Bye-bye River Kings for good. All of the drama it went through would have been done for absolutely nothing.
The CCHL Junior A Colts are a perfect feeder for the new OHL team. Send them over to the Benson Centre and fill that place night in and night out. It’s really a no-brainer that way. Ian McInnis and company know how to develop players to an elite level and they wouldn’t have to go further than down the street to reach that next level.
Next step to tackle? The 1970s barn of the Ed Lumley Arena inside the Cornwall Civic Complex.
For nostalgia’s sake, I love the Complex. It’s a great venue for hockey but let’s be honest with ourselves. It would never work for a modern team in this day and age. It needs major upgrades. Brand new score-board, sound system, get rid of the dungeon locker rooms, etc. Best bet might be to tear the damn thing down and start fresh. That turns into a city council issue though.
Kingston did it. They tore down the old police station and built the K-Rock Centre and look at the beauty of the Kingston Frontenacs right now. Just with a new arena, the team was given life again. Either way, we need something done about the Complex.
Going inside the Complex, or new arena, the concessions need a local business handling things. No more trying to save money by outsourcing to other cities. (Can you believe that the concessions right now in that arena is home to a business from Kingston? The arena, the city, nor the teams that play there get any kick back from it.) You need that money for your team to survive.
Alright, so we’ve got a team, got an arena, now what do we need. That’s right.
Yeah, that means you.
This is pretty much a no-brainer too. Cornwall would have to, at the very least, have 2500 fans at every home game. That will be done and then some. There are so many people in this city that still cry for the good times that the Royals brought that they would come out in droves to support this new team. Season ticket drives would be off the charts.
Bascially, you would need at least 2,000 season tickets sold and then another 1,500 that would show up to games. Easy peasey if you consider that businesses will buy season tickets too!
It’s a money maker for the city too. How many people would come in from all over to watch major junior hockey? A hell of a lot. A lot of fans do OHL road trips. You could hit Ottawa, Cornwall and Kingston in one shot to the see the future of the NHL.
Advertising wouldn’t be an issue because we only have one team occupying that arena now. Businesses would flock to have their logos appear on national television. In fact, you’d have big, national, corporate sponsors knocking at your door to throw money your way. That’s something no hockey team is Cornwall has ever had and that’s the beauty of Major Junior hockey.
Like any new hockey franchise starting out, you’re not going to make money off the hop. Hell, you might not break even. However with a little patience and perseverance, it can turn into a goldmine which is what any major hockey playing team will end up in Cornwall in due time. I’m serious. That includes the poor old River Kings.
Major Junior is a whole different breed of monster. The people who buy teams and invest in them know that they will most likely lose some cash at the beginning but that’s hardly the point. The point is the game of hockey.
Finally, I’m going to mention something that I will likely get backlash for.
DO NOT CALL THE TEAM THE ROYALS.
My god, they’ve come, conquered and are now a thing of the past. Let’s leave them that way! What happens if this new team sucks and is a gong show for the next 10 years? The name is now tainted and that’s all anybody will remember.
It’s a new era of hockey in Cornwall.
It’s time to face the future.
For nostalgia’s sake, and because I know how much the people of Cornwall love talking about this team, here is a list of NHLers who played junior for the OHL version of the Cornwall Royals.
|· Scott Arniel· Bobby Babcock||· Doug Gilmour· Jim Kyte||· Mike Prokopec· Rob Ray||· Mike Stapleton· Jeremy Stevenson|