The Ontario Hockey League will retain its presence in Mississauga for at least another four years.
Mississauga Steelheads have confirmed that they have reached a new four-year lease agreement that will keep the OHL team at the Hershey Centre.
The Steelheads are owned by Mississauga businessman Elliott Kerr, who bought the OHL franchise in 2012.
“The City has been a great partner since day one and together I know we will make OHL hockey work in Mississauga. I believe we can succeed and I know we will,” stated Kerr.
Mississauga has been home to an OHL team since 1998 when the Ice Dogs entered the league with the Brampton (now North Bay) Battalion as expansion franchises.
When Kerr bought the team in 2012, he changed the name to Steelheads and the colours to blue and white
Since then, Kerr and the Steelheads have worked diligently to give the team a more hometown Mississauga feel. In fact, at the 2014 OHL draft, the Steelheads selected Mississauga native Michael McLeod in the first round.
Venerable Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion believes Kerr and the Steelheads can thrive in her town.
“We are very pleased and proud that the Steelheads will continue to make the Hershey Centre in Mississauga their home for another four years,” said McCallion. “The great Canadian sport of hockey is a healthy activity and great entertainment for everyone. Having our very own team, the Steelheads, right here in Mississauga is important to our city.”
Of note, the Steelheads attendance increased by 12 per cent in 2014-2015, though they still average about 2,500 fans per game, which is in the lower rung of the 20-team OHL.