In each of the three seasons that the Continental Hockey League has been around, they’ve never fielded the same lineup of teams twice. Between its first and second seasons, the CHL expanded to Hartford and Milwaukee, while the Albuquerque Screaming Eagles moved to Colorado Springs. Between last season and this season, the Muncie Squirrels decamped for Idaho.
The CHL’s streak of relocating teams will remain intact next season, as the owner of the Maine Moose announced this week that he is selling his franchise to a group that plans to move the team to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Moose have generally drawn well during their tenure in the CHL, but their future was thrown into doubt when majority owner Clark Fennister suffered a heart attack and passed away in January at the age of 66. Fennister’s widow had no interest in operating the team, and his sons lacked the capital to purchase it. The Fennister family tried to find a local buyer, but came up empty.
The Moose’s parent club, the Quebec Tigres, were interested in having an affiliate in Canada. They put the Fennister family in touch with Halifax businessman Guy Sullivan, who quickly agreed to purchase the team.
“For all the fans here in Maine who have supported the team these last few seasons, we’re sorry,” said Andrew Fennister, Clark’s oldest son. “I know Dad would have loved us to find a way to keep the team here, but it just didn’t work out.”
Sullivan, meanwhile, expressed enthusiasm at bringing a team to Halifax. He plans to call the team the Atlantics, a nod to the Eastern provinces of Canada, collectively known as “Atlantic Canada.” “This team is going to put the Atlantic provinces on the map,” Sullivan told reporters. “The Maritimes are the area that everyone overlooks, but they won’t be able to do that anymore!”
The Atlantics will be the second Canadian franchise in the CHL, joining the Oshawa Drive. Sullivan did his best to spark a rivalry with the Drive during the press conference.
“I know everyone in the [Greater Toronto Area] thinks we’re a bunch of hicks who don’t do anything but drink, fiddle, and catch lobsters, but we’ll show them,” Sullivan said. “I hope that when they come out here to check on their summer cottages, they’ll see Atlantics jerseys, hats, and T-shirts everywhere. Get ready to catch the Hali-fever!”
Moose RW Luc LePettier, a native of neighboring province New Brunswick, was excited about the move. “This is great news for the Maritimes,” said LePettier. “I never thought we would get to see it happen, but now it is!”