The GCHL will be a centrally owned and operated 4 team minor professional hockey league based in Atlantic Canada that will begin play in December 2010. The GCHL is focused on bringing professional hockey to fans in cities that do not have major junior or professional hockey teams.
More than 8.2 million people attended major junior and minor professional hockey games in Canada during the 2007-08 hockey season, this is 3.5 million more than who attended NHL games in Canada last season.
There are several cities in Atlantic Canada that are major junior and professional ready but do not have hockey teams at this level. The GCHL will have teams in three of these cities: St. John’s, Fredericton and Summerside plus a team in the region’s largest city, Halifax.
The key to the CFL’s success for nearly 60 years is its ability to maintain a balance between being a professional sports league that is not perceived as minor league, its ability to celebrate its uniqueness in their rules and above all its determination to maintain its Canadian roots. The CFL thrives in a current professional sports market where there is increasing fan backlash against other pro sports and their athletes. Common complaints by fans such as excessive salaries, escalating ticket prices and players who play a sport solely for the money do not exist in the CFL. Unlike the National Hockey League there are no $200 million contracts, nor has it cancelled an entire season over a labour dispute.
The GCHL will operate as a single corporation with financial investors owning shares in the league while the league office runs the teams.
This is not a new idea, it is something that has been done successfully with other leagues such as the Central Hockey League. The Central Hockey League started as a six team league in 1992 using the philosophy of a centrally owned hockey league. The co-founder, Ray Miron, hired the general managers while his son Monty hired the coaches. "Control of salaries was the biggest thing. If you don't have control of the teams, individual owners want to win so bad, they'll start cheating by paying under the table."
The CHL grew to 12 teams before it merged with the Western Professional Hockey league in 2001, keeping the name Central Hockey league. Today the CHL is a subsidiary of Global Entertainment operating with 16 teams.
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