Whether it is three years or more, The Hamilton Bulldogs are getting the red carpet in Brantford.. Brantford city councillors were unanimous in ratifying an agreement that will see the team relocate to the Brantford Civic Centre for at least three years. Under the terms of the deal, the Bulldogs will pay more than $3 Million to upgrade the arena including a new scoreboard.
In the almost 20 years since Michael Andlauer has operated hockey teams in Hamilton, there has always been an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the relationship between the team and the city who own the First Ontario Centre. The team, both as the AHL Bulldogs and the OHL Bulldogs regularly had to sign leases that stipulated the team would be obliged to vacate in the event an NHL team were to come to Hamilton.
HUPEG, the consortium who are taking over the operation of the arena and renovating it to the tune of $100 Million, have set a construction schedule of 20 months. Andlauer negotiated a three year agreement with the City of Brantford to allow additional time in case of construction delays.
Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer said the Bulldogs considered several other locations, but Brantford won out because of the warm welcome they received from the city and because its proximity makes it convenient for the players – most are billeted in Ancaster – and the team’s fans.
Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis said the Bulldogs games will bring in more than $4 million a year in economic spinoffs with fans stopping at local restaurants, bars and other businesses.
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