OHL Whalers leaving Plymouth?

March 24, 2014

Multiple sources, including one close to the team, have indicated that Plymouth Whalers are looking to relocate their money-losing, Ontario Hockey League franchise.

The Michigan-based Whalers have been playing out of Compuware Arena in Plymouth since 1997.

Founded by Peter Karmanos — who also owns the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League — the Plymouth franchise has been a part of the OHL since 1990 under other names, specifically Detroit Compuware Ambassadors, Detroit Jr. Red Wings and Detroit Whalers.

According to one source, the Whalers explored the possibility of moving from Plymouth to Perani Arena and Event Centre in Flint for the 2014-2015 season.

However, the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League recently signed a one-year extension of their current lease to continue to play out of the Flint arena for the 2014-2015 campaign.

Undaunted, the Plymouth organization is now said to be looking at the Southern Ontario area of Hamilton to move the Whalers.

Despite considerable success in Plymouth under coach-general manager Mike Vellucci — the team has won nine West Division titles and one OHL championship — the Whalers have routinely averaged crowds of less than 2,000 over the years.

What you think about “OHL Whalers leaving Plymouth?”

  1. move the Plymouth team to Cornwall or Brantford, I am sure they would do much better in attendance.

    1. Actually, the Sarnia Sting were in Cornwall as the Cornwall Royals for a long time, eventually moving to Newmarket before relocating to Sarnia. The question would be is Cornwall as present suitable for holding a franchise? If Plymouth does go to the eastern part of the province, we also see another shake-up in the divisions as they are currently in the same division as the Sting (the West).

    2. i hate to say this but the whalers have become the atlanta braves of the ohl annual playoff folders . as for moving to flint or hamilton the 1st market wont back nahl hockey and the 2nd markets ahl club would kill an ohl team at the gate plus if these and other markets are so good why are they on the outside looking in

  2. Always wondered,after perusing the game attendance figures,how that team was succeeding? Apparently they weren’t!Seems to me when the Greyhounds were trying to save the franchise in the late 80’s ,they were looking to a fan committment minimum of 3,000 as the break even point! I would guess the Whalers and other OHL. teams require the same? Hence the movement by Brampton to North Bay and The Ice Dogs from Mississauga to Niagara Falls. Brantford would be interesting as it has been 30 years since the epic battles with the Alexander’s!

    1. For sure, Chris.

      Meanwhile, how many times have we heard about the return of Hamilton to the OHL? Let’s see, we have had Hamilton Red Wings, Hamilton Fincups (twice), Hamilton Steelhawks and Dukes of Hamilton.

    2. Chris: The IceDogs moved to St. Catharines, not Niagara Falls. The Niagara in their name refers to the Niagara Region.

  3. If the Whalers leave Plymouth what happens to Mike Velluci? unbelievably stable program in an otherwise unstable environment. I’m sure Mr. ski would know but he’s got a very good playoff streak intact doesn’t he?

  4. I will be so upset if the Whalers leave Compuware Arena because i have been attending Whaler games since the 1999-2000 Season and i am not a season ticket holder.

        1. Totally aware of that joke…..but in all honesty, it is a business and the Plymouth Whalers are going to do what is the best for a profit and business. They are not going to care about the fans, etc. The wonders of business 🙂

  5. I would hate to see them go . If they did I wonder what that would mean for the Arena and the Compuware minor hockey program ? The Whalers put crowds in the arena seats 40 + times a year paying decent money not to mention concessions and merchandise. The restaurant at the Arena surely depends on those dates Thats a lot of revenue to lose.

  6. Who is this “American Moose” moron who is shooting his mouth off about the Whalers??? What an Idiot.

  7. I hope they find some way to keep the organization here in Plymouth. It’s honestly, really great having a competitive hockey team who makes the playoffs so consistently year after year. What makes it great is I don’t have to drive into Detroit to go see them in person, no pun intended as they are working on cleaning the city up. I just like having something like this in a nice area like Plymouth. Now if I’m watching my niece and nephew, I have something really fun in a good safe area I can do with them during hockey season. I hope they can work with the players to help them promote the team better off the ice as good as they do one the ice. Good luck Plymouth Whalers, and I hope I get to see a lot more games at Compuware Arena. Maybe they could try renovating Compuware, to make it more attractive. They already have something great to work with. Thanks again Whalers for all the great hockey.

    Sincerely a loyal Whalers fan.


  8. I miss going to Whalers games. They are very affordable and good talent is always here. I feel they don’t advertise enough. I use to talk about them to people all the time and they had no idea there was a junior team in Plymouth. My only complaint about the games was the public address announcer with his super cheesy radio commercial voice and stretching out the words “Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwhaaaaaaaaaaaaaàaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrsss gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooallllllllll scored by…” I’d bring friends to a game and they’d all say “wow is that annoying!” People that complain about the cost to go to a Red Wings game have no idea there is an awesome alternative right in their backyard. It would be sad to see them leave Plymouth.

  9. Flint would support a OHL team much better than the NAHL they now have. Just like Saginaw 40 miles away, Flint would get great crowds in their 4,421 seat arena and renew the great heated rivalry between these two former IHL cities.

  10. I’m super bummed to hear that the Whalers are moving. My wife and I go to a few games every year. I was just waiting for my son to get a few years older before I bought season tix. There isn’t better entertainment out there. Especially for the price. I’m seriously gonna miss the Whalers!!!

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