More Discussion With OHL Team Coming For Chatham-Kent

OHL Chatham

The Plymouth Whalers are front and centre in local OHL rumours – Photo by Aaron Bell/ OHL Images

With citizens throughout Chatham-Kent still discussing a potential OHL franchise, namely the Plymouth Whalers, relocating to Chatham, administration of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent are having a discussion of their own, however, theirs is with the OHL itself.

“We’ve been asked to take a meeting,” said Chatham-Kent’s Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire.

“This is the fourth time that there has been somebody wanting to talk to the Municipality. Like any other business looking to potentially invest in Chatham-Kent, we want to sit down and talk. We have another meeting before Christmas.”

Although much speculation has been pointed at the Plymouth Whalers, following Whalers owner Peter Karmanos stating, “Hopefully Chatham,” in reference to a potential relocation of his franchise, Shropshire says he has been asked not to identify, or confirm the organization, and that he will respect that request.

“There is mo offer currently on the table,” explained Shropshire of the status of current discussion.

“With each and every offer, in each case the franchise has said please keep it confidential, and we’re going to honour that request.”

In terms of honouring organizational wishes, and respecting hockey franchises, Shropshire says it’s also important to remember the existing Junior hockey organizations in Chatham-Kent, and to maintain open communication with these teams throughout any process involving the OHL.

“We’ve got an existing team here in Chatham, as well as Junior hockey teams in Wallaceburg, Blenheim, Dresden, and Wheatley,” says Shropshire.

“When rumours start, people start worrying. These organizations have all been good to our community, and the community has to respect that.”

While the Municipality, including Mayor Randy Hope, who also put his blessing behind an OHL team moving to Chatham-Kent this week, welcomes new investment, Shropshire wants to make sure groups such as the Chatham Maroons, and owners Bill and Karen Szekesy, who have made considerable investments in the community, are honoured as well.

“We’ve got really good people in the Szekesy’s that have invested in upgrading Memorial Arena, and made long term commitments to our community,” says Shropshire.

“We want to inform people and try to make sure we move down the path together.”

With a request for a meeting with an OHL franchise this month, Shropshire expects the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to know more soon. If a move is to be made for next season, it can be expected to come in quick succession, as the OHL deadline for a transfer request is December 31.

Share This


Wordpress (0)