Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) could potentially be re-locating to Brantford for the next few seasons.
The Bulldogs are considering temporarily relocating to the Brantford Civic Centre for home games while they are displaced for possibly three seasons from the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton as it undergoes a major renovation.
Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the three-year deal but it won’t become official until Brantford City Council approves a proposal to enter into an agreement with the Bulldogs, which is scheduled to be discussed during a special City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.
The proposal would see the team relocated to Brantford and rebranded as the “Brantford Bulldogs” for a three-year term, commencing in 2023, with an additional three one-year renewals.
“I am very excited about the prospect of bringing an OHL team to Brantford,” said Kevin Davis, Mayor for the City of Brantford. “A partnership with an established OHL franchise will reinforce the image of Brantford as a renowned sport-friendly city, as well as enhance the perception of the city as active, vibrant, and attractive to future investment, especially surrounding the downtown core. Furthermore, Brantford is growing rapidly, and would benefit tremendously from an upgraded premier multi-use event venue in the downtown to serve existing residents and attract new ones.”
The Bulldogs’ contemplated use of the Civic Centre is contingent on the facility receiving substantial upgrades to meet fan, player and OHL standards. The total estimated cost of the upgrades to the Civic Centre necessary to reach these standards is approximately $7.5 million. The Term Sheet proposes an arrangement whereby the Bulldogs pay for the upgrades, while the City provides the team with a leasehold improvement allowance of up to $3 million for necessary capital improvements.
The remainder of the costs would be contributed by the Bulldogs organization. In addition to the City’s contribution toward the planned upgrades to the Civic Centre, the report also recommends that Council approve the required installation of an HVAC system in the facility estimated at $1.625 million. The City’s total capital investment is recommended to be funded from the Casino Legacy Reserve.