The Brampton Battalion are relocating to the Gateway City for the 2013-14 season.
City council approved an agreement-in-principle, Nov. 5, to approved a capital improvement budget to renovate and expand North Bay Memorial Gardens.
A 15-year lease agreement with the team is contingent upon a community campaign to reach 2,000 season tickets for a minimum three-year period and subject to approval by the OHL board of governors.
“On behalf of the citizens of the City of North Bay and members of council, I extend our thanks to Battalion owner Scott Abbott for his commitment to relocate the team to our community,” said Mayor Al McDonald. “He’s considered by many to be the most passionate owner in all of hockey, and I have assured him that fans in North Bay will embrace the return of the OHL to a place it belongs.”
The city has been without an OHL team since 2002 when the Centennials departed for Saginaw, Mich.
“As importantly, our partnership with the Battalion enables us to transform Memorial Gardens into a facility that not only meets the standards for OHL hockey, but allows us to attract various other events that in the past we weren’t able to bring to North Bay.”
Built in 1955, Memorial Gardens will see seating capacity increased to 4,246; installation of an HVAC system, a reconfigured ice surface, construction of a two-level dressing-room complex, 10 suites, a new media box and a club lounge.
Renovation costs are to be funded through an interest-free loan from the Battalion and a $2.50 per ticket capital reserve fee. The city will move up its $3.9-million, 10-year capital plan for the facility and seek $2 million in funding from other levels of government. The remaining funding is to be raised through capital reserve fees on other events held at the arena.
Renovations to the facility will also be paid by the users.