Brantford might be hosting the top hockey league in North America during an exhibition game in October.
The preseason grudge match between the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies is set in
stone for Monday, Oct. 8, at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.
And with the very real prospect of an NHL lockout, the AHL might be the top dog in professional hockey by the time the game rolls around.
“We are emphasizing the importance of grassroots efforts and community relations, not only in Hamilton but surrounding communities,” said Bulldogs president Stephen Ostaszewicz. “As we all know, Brantford is only 25 minutes away from Copps Coliseum and has a very strong and dynamic history with hockey and youth sports.”
The game is being billed as the preseason “Battle of Ontario” and also plays out one of the oldest NHL rivalries on a smaller scale. The Bulldogs are the affiliate club for the Montreal Canadiens, while the Marlies are the feeder club for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Because the game takes place after the Sept. 15 drop-dead date for an NHL lockout, some NHL players could be plying their trade with AHL clubs.
The Brantford Church Hockey League has taken the lead on facilitating ticket sales for the Bulldogs in Brantford.
Available at all RBC bank locations, Brantford Sports Excellence, College Source for Sports, Paris Sports Centre and Millard, Rouse and Rosebrugh Chartered Accountants, tickets are just $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
“I don’t think we are going to get to the tickets at the door,” Ostaszewicz said, noting that the BCHL has already been generating huge interest within its ranks.
Ostaszewicz said the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre is a “tremendous facility” and the main rink is a great place to showcase the AHL during the preseason.
Mayor Chris Friel said it’s great to add another significant event to the Gretzky centre in just its second full season of operations.