Once again rumors are beginning to swirl that the Lewiston Maineiacs are heading Summerside, Prince Edward Island for next season.
According to a tweet by Willy Palov, who covers the QMJHL and the Halifax Mooseheads for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, an announcement could be made on Monday.
Rumors of the Maineiacs demise have been ongoing since 2008 when the team attempted to relocate to Boisbriand, Quebec. The Montreal Junior quickly vetoed the move due to the potential proximity between the two franchises.
The Maine Hockey Journal reached out to Lewiston Maineiacs President Bill Schurman on Friday, who denied the report.
“There is nothing to respond to,” Bill Schurman said by email. “Today, similar to yesterday and the day before that, we are doing our best to attract partners and season ticket holders. Monday, we start the process of reviewing the just completed season from a financial perspective with our accountant.”
“Nothing else is planned for Monday that I am aware of. Our position has not changed. If at any point, we can't juggle enough and find ways to meet our obligations we have publicly committed to letting staff, volunteers, partners, customers and the community know first.”
Right now, Schurman is the only person working in the Maineiacs business office.
Maineiacs minority owner Wendell Young said he spoke with majority owner Mark Just as recently as last Monday and no relocation a
pplication had been filled. He wasn’t aware if there had been a change since that time and was not aware of any announcement for Monday. Did acknowledge that the team has been looking but before anything is done – if anything is done at all – that they make sure the QMJHL Board of Governors is on board to avoid a nasty repeat of what happened in 2008 when the team tried to relocate to Boisbriand, QC.
Back in January, rumors began to prop up after P.E.I businessman Tim Banks said that the franchise was moving to City of Summerside with a $1.5 (CDN) guaranteed gate by the city.
The Maineiacs were quick to dispute that report.
Fuel was added to the fire two months later after the team toured Credit Union Place, a 5,000 seat facility, in Summerside as the team played a pair of games in Charlottetown, home of the PEI Rocket.
The Rocket weighed in on the rumor this afternoon releasing a statement.
“The Rocket are here to stay! Before any team is able to announce they are moving there needs to be a vote by the owners and for the move to be approved they require 2/3 of the vote (12 of 18 teams) in (favor). If the request is made to the league, a vote would need to happen before any announcements are made and at this time no votes are scheduled. If this does go to vote it is highly unlikely that it will pass, but regardless the Rocket has made a commitment and are here to stay!”
(With files from Chris Roy)