Whalers Chatham Bound?

Posted: December 9, 2014 by OHLInsiders in Flint Firebirds News, Flint Firebirds Rumours, News, Rumours
Tags: , , , ,

PlymouthThe Whalers future in Plymouth was bleak to say the least at the start of this year when Whalers owner Peter Karmanos stated attendance would need to improve greatly in order for his Whalers to stick around.

Fast forward a few months and it seems the Whalers are set for a destination change.

In late November, it was announced that the United States development team program hopes to play out of Compuware Arena in Plymouth possibly as soon as next season, but definitely by the 16-17′ season, leaving the Whalers future in the balance. The Whalers are contracted to play out of Compuware Arena until June 2016 but they have a chance to opt out in June 2015 which would leave ample time to make a move to their new home. In order to opt out, the Whalers and owner Peter Karmanos will have to notify Compuware (owner, Compuware Arena) by December 31, 2014.

Contrary to what most articles have reported, Whalers owner Peter Karmanos who is a former CEO of Compuware, does not currently own the Compuware Arena and hasn’t ever since he left Compuware in 2013.

So where are the Whalers headed? While many rumours have surfaced including locations Chatham, Flint, Toledo, Rochester and Buffalo, I’ve been told by Whalers officials the team will not be moving outside of an hour’s proximity to their current location in Plymouth, MI.

I’ve been told ever since shortly after the US National Development Team made this announcement that the Whalers were targeting Chatham, ON and that was confirmed in a tweet made last night by ESPN’s Craig Custance.

While Chatham does have a new arena in the plans, that is all they are as of now. While my attempts to reach out to Chatham Mayor, Randy Hope were met with vague and confusing responses, he did not deny him being aware of the Whalers intentions to move to his city.

How much does an OHL arena cost? Anywhere between $50 million and $75 million. Recently the Niagara IceDogs moved into a beautiful new Meridian Center in downtown St. Catherines, ON. The Meridian Center, which would likely be comparable to Chatham’s plans cost $57 million with $50 million of that paid by tax payers.

The Plymouth Whalers are moving and Chatham, ON is number 1 on their list of possible destinations.

Follow along on Twitter @OHLinsiders

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