Statement from Mayor Walter Sendzik on the sale of the Niagara IceDogs
Following today’s announcement of the sale of the Niagara IceDogs – pending the approval of the Ontario Hockey League board of governors – I would like to thank Bill and Denise Burke for helping bring the OHL back to St. Catharines.
The OHL has a deep history in our community, and the Burkes renewed that spark when they bought the IceDogs and moved them to St. Catharines in 2007. Bill and Denise made an investment that helped play a role in the transformation of our downtown core with the IceDogs serving as anchor tenant of Meridian Centre. They believed in St. Catharines – Niagara, and they were proven right with the support of the team since for the last 15 years.
From the first several years playing out of the Jack, to the last seven seasons at Meridian Centre, Bill and Denise have brought great pride and memories to our community, including exciting playoff runs and multiple trips to the OHL finals. Their investments allowed us to sit front row to watch NHL stars like Dougie Hamilton and Alex Pietrangelo step on the ice representing our community, while also providing opportunities to watch greats like Connor McDavid, John Tavares, and others, in the formative years of their careers.
Denise and Bill built an amazing brand, and have went above and beyond to embed the franchise into the community fabric – both on the ice, and off it through their charitable and community endeavours. The passion, energy and enthusiasm they brought to the IceDogs, and their belief in balancing the business with putting a winning team on the ice, has set the bar high.
On behalf of the City, I would also like to welcome Darren DeDobbelaer to Niagara as the new owner. We look forward to working with Mr. DeDobbelaer following OHL approval of the sale. The City of St. Catharines has made significant investments into bringing OHL hockey back to our community, and it is our collective priority to ensure that the Niagara IceDogs continue to call St. Catharines home for many years to come.