The Newest ECHL franchise in Newfoundland revealed their team name and colours, as well as their affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a new ECHL affiliate joining the organization to start the 2018-19 season. On Tuesday, the Newfoundland Growlers were revealed, along with their new logo, and team colours.
The expansion franchise has been common knowledge for months, but why the Growlers? The team explained the decision and the history behind the name, logo and colours in a press release:
"The colour palette was inspired by an iconic photo of Private Hazen Frazier with Sable Chief, a Newfoundland dog that served as the mascot of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment during WWI.The vintage tones compliment the dog’s dark hues, creating a strong combination with a classic, universal appeal. Paired with a forged-style font, the hard edges and strong weight give it a stone-chiseled feel which lends itself well to the vintage style of the logo."
It was announced back on Mar.13 that professional hockey would be returning to Newfoundland, after the league’s board approved the expansion.
The franchise is owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment and will be controlled by Dean MacDonald, while Glenn Stafford — the president of the Leafs former AHL affiliate in St. John’s — will be in charge of operations.
The team will play at the Mile One Centre in St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador.
In an initial press release that day, ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna welcomed the newest franchise to the league:
"“We are pleased to welcome St. John’s to the ECHL. The city has a long and proud hockey history and, along with the Maine Mariners, will be strong additions to our North Division.”"
The Leafs are familiar with the city of St. John’s. The St. John’s Maple Leafs were the affiliate for Toronto from 1991 until 2005. The Leafs decided to move their affiliate to Toronto and thus, the Marlies were born.
St. John’s had an AHL team to call their own again in 2011 when the Winnipeg Jets announced that their affiliate, the IceCaps, would be playing out of the Mile One Centre. When the Jets brought the Manitoba Moose back as their main affiliate, the Montreal Canadiens scooped up the IceCaps, who served as the farm team for the Habs from 2015 to 2017.
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Unfortunately, the team ceased operations after last season, when Montreal announced they would be moving their AHL team to Laval.
This leaves the Maple Leafs’ current ECHL affiliate, the Orlando Solar Bears, looking for another organization to team up with.
With the Growlers beginning play next season, they will join the Brampton Beast — the ECHL affiliate of the Canadiens — as the only Canadian franchises in the league.
Luckily for the franchise, both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers do not have an ECHL affiliate. That would be an easy fix for a team that has one of the best names and logos in hockey.
For the Leafs, and more importantly the Marlies, Newfoundland is much easier to transport players to and from Toronto on a day-to-day basis.
It will be a lot of travel for the team, as the closest two cities, Adirondack and Manchester, are just north of a 30-hour drive from The Rock. They will be hard-pressed to spend money on flights, as even the Marlies do the majority of their travel on buses.
The arena will be packed every night though, especially because of the contingent of Maple Leafs fans that live out in the Maritimes.
The Leafs could have themselves something special out east with the Growlers.
What do you think of the name and logo for the Newfoundland Growlers? Are you excited for the announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!