By The Canadian Press on January 31, 2024.
TORONTO – It appears Brampton will get another shot at hosting an Ontario Hockey League franchise.
The Mississauga Steelheads announced Wednesday that the club intends to move to neighbouring Brampton for the 2024-25 OHL season, pending league approval.
The team said in a statement that the move is aimed at taking advantage of Brampton’s growing hockey fan base.
The Steelheads currently play in Mississauga’s Paramount Fine Foods Centre, which is roughly seven kilometres away from Brampton’s CAA Centre. They are currently third in the central division with a 23-18-4 record.
The CAA Centre (then Powerade Centre) is the former home of the Battalion. The team began in Brampton as an expansion franchise in 1998 as part of a major junior hockey revival in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Battalion moved to North Bay, Ont., following the 2012-13 season after struggling to draw fans in Brampton. The team averaged an OHL-low 2,191 fans per game in its last season in Southern Ontario.
Mississauga, the third-largest city in Ontario by population, has had its own fraught history as an OHL host city.
The Mississauga IceDogs joined the league at the same time as the Battalion. The team, which had largely struggled on the ice, was bought by Eugene Melnyk, who also owned the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and OHL’s Toronto St. Michael’s Majors, on July 2006.
Melnyk sold the IceDogs after the 2006-07 season, and the team moved to St. Catharines, Ont. The Majors were then relocated from Toronto to Mississauga.
Melnyk sold the team to Elliott Kerr of Mississauga’s Landmark Sport Group following the 2011-12 season. It was renamed, with “Steelheads” being selected by an online fan vote.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2023.