OHL could be in for Major reshuffling

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Major junior hockey could be dead in Toronto if rumours about moving the St. Michael's Majors become fact.

OHL commissioner David Branch said yesterday that "the league is in the midst of some serious discussions relating to the St. Michael's Majors," but he would not elaborate.

Sources say the league is grappling with the possibility of Majors owner Eugene Melnyk owning two clubs. The scenario that has been painted is Melnyk buying the Mississauga IceDogs for $6 million to $8 million and eventually moving the Majors to the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. In turn, the IceDogs would be on the move, possibly to a city in New York state, such as Buffalo or Syracuse. Another location could be North Bay, which was left without an OHL team when the Centennials moved to Saginaw, Mich., in 2002 and became the Spirit. Sources indicate the club would not move to St. Catharines or Niagara Falls, Ont.

"At the very least, it's at the investigative stage," a source familiar with the league discussions said. "The real issue is the ownership of two teams by Melnyk. If it happens, there would be a number of safeguards. Branch would make sure of that."

There are whispers Melnyk will sell the Majors, but he has said in the past he has no interest in doing so.

No matter what comes of the talks, the Majors and IceDogs will stay put for 2006-07. IceDogs majority owner Mario Forgione refused to comment. Melnyk's representatives deferred comment to Branch.


Videos

Photos