Eugene Melnyk is finally getting his Toronto-St. Michael's Majors into a bigger, more modern arena.
As expected, the Ontario Hockey League team is moving to Mississauga, Ont., and will be known as the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors.
The move, which was announced Tuesday, comes after the OHL board of governors approved the sale of the Mississauga IceDogs to Bill Burke, who is expected to move the team to St. Catharines, Ont.
Both clubs had been owned by Melnyk's Capital Sports Management Inc. Melnyk, who also owns the NHL's Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place, purchased the IceDogs last July for an estimated $9 million. Essentially, it was cheaper for him to buy the IceDogs and move into their building than to build a new arena.
The Majors will now play out of to the 6,000-seat Hershey Centre. They have played most of their 10 seasons in the tiny and aging St. Michael's College School Arena in downtown Toronto.
Melnyk, the majority shareholder of the pharmaceutical company Biovail, has been looking for a way to get the Majors into a bigger and better building since he bought the team in 2001, including a failed bid for Maple Leaf Gardens.
He had also looked at building a new arena in Vaughn, Ont., and Markham, Ont., as well as on the St. Michael's campus.
The St. Michael's arena has a capacity of about 1,600, but averaged between 800 and 900, and the ice surface is not regulation size.
Melnyk has said the building was affecting the team's ability to draft players and get Europeans to play for the Majors.
The IceDogs finished the season second in the Central Division with a 43-21-0-4 record while the Majors were last in the division (20-41-4-3).