OSHL's plans haunt Hunt

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 6:40 AM ET

Trick or treat? The Original Stars Hockey League's plans to play a game at the Civic Centre on Halloween -- a nightmare 67's owner Jeff Hunt doesn't want to live through.

While OSHL organizers held a press conference yesterday at the Delta Hotel to announce the 4-on-4 league will play at 1 p.m. on Oct. 31 at the home of the 67's, Hunt told the Sun that he consulted a lawyer and considered getting a court injunction to halt the game from being played.

"I'm not happy about this at all," said Hunt yesterday. "I just don't like the idea of another league coming in and playing in our building. That hurts the 67's because I believe it takes away fans who may go to our games. I don't think it's right.

"I tried to stop it, (but) I can't and I'm not sure it's worth it to bother because I'm not sure this league is going to have any success in any case."

After learning of the OSHL's intentions to play in Ottawa, Hunt met with Lansdowne Park officials to make it clear he has an exclusive deal with the city for any major junior or pro hockey played at the Civic Centre.

But Lansdowne officials countered, saying the OSHL could play in the building because it's not an organized league. That's when Hunt contacted a lawyer.

LEAGUE SUSPENDS PLAY

The game at the Civic Centre was originally scheduled for Sept 27, but the OSHL has suspended play until Oct. 7 so it can market itself better. Attendance for the first four games held in southern Ontario was weak.

Hunt said he met with Lansdowne officials because the original plan was for the OSHL to hold a six-game tournament at the 10,500-seat building. That plan was canned and the decision was made that only one game would be played here.

"I thought it was all going to go away and nothing would happen here. I went on vacation in Mexico, didn't think anything about it, and I got back here the other day and somebody mentioned the game. There's no sense trying to fight this now. It's not worth the money," said Hunt.

"To me, (the OSHL) is a league. They're selling themselves as a league and they're telling everybody they're a league.

WON'T GET 'SUPPORT'

"As far as I'm concerned they shouldn't be allowed to play in the building, but I don't think they're going to have much support here anyway," said Hunt, who is already taking a financial hit from the NHL lockout because the league isn't paying the $75,000-$100,000 in developmental fees junior teams normally receive.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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