The Town of Espanola says it is exercising its right to terminate its contract with the Espanola Rivermen of the Canadian International Hockey League.
But CIHL president Tim Clayden — who also owns the Rivermen — begs to differ.
In a press release issued this morning, Cynthia Townsend, clerk treasurer/administrator for the Town of Espanola, noted that “our decision serves the best interests of our community stakeholders.”
Clayden, from his end, said the Rivermen have two years left on their contract with the Town of Espanola.
“I do not believe that the Town of Espanola has a right to terminate their contract with us,” Clayden told me. “I am on the phone with my lawyer as we speak.”
Clayden said he met with members of Espanola Town Council last week, noting that “they suggested they would like to renegotiate our existing contract. They expressed concerns with how the CIHL season ended. They want us to confirm that we will have four or five teams for next season.”
The CIHL began as a new, eight-team league for the 2014-2015 season but by the time it ended, only the Rivermen and the Batchewana Attack remained afloat.
Clayden has since said the CIHL is being restructured and will move forward, pointing out that the league has a signed contract with the City of Greater Sudbury for a new team in 2015-2016. He has also said that the CIHL expects to have a team in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for next season.