Late last week it became official. Some waited for it in anticipation. Others waited to discuss and debate and many will never know about it. The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors are no more. With the sale of the OHL franchise to Mississauga business man Elliot Kerr, the name, logo and colour scheme (Majors) have been sent back to Toronto St. Michael’s school leaving the OHL franchise temporarily known as… Mississauga. Kind of funny because the OHL never referred to St. Michael’s Majors as Mississauga, case and point the OHL Draft board. All teams are listed with the city they represent and the team name. Mississauga however was labeled as St. Michael’s Majors…
After a fan voting process, a very brief process, the votes are in and the new era of OHL hockey in Mississauga will be played by the Steelheads. The Steelheads name, which makes people think immediately of Hamilton (Steel Town), represents the fish found in the Credit River, a famous river in the Port Credit area of Mississauga. From an IceDog, to a Major to Steelheads.
The city has never truly supported the Mississauga franchise during its almost 15 year tenure in the city. There have been spurts when the building has been sold out. The Memorial Cup last year does not count in my opinion as there was a lot of out of town fans supporting either the event or a team not from Mississauga. Case and Point a few signs declaring the city ‘Owen Sound South’.
For years it has been a struggle to draw fans whether it is lack of advertising, the team winning, local business support, fan friendly atmosphere. There are many causes for ‘dress as a seat’ promotion that Mississauga has employed almost every home game but could it be from the name of the franchise?
Growing up in the city, I was a proud IceDogs fan. Supporting the black, red and white, the metal dog logo, and then the raging dog out of a maple leaf logo. Whether they won 16 games in their first 3 seasons or ending their run in Mississauga with 43 victories and a 2nd place finish in the Central Division. The team was bought and sold, moved and Toronto’s franchise was brought in to become Mississauga’s team… That last sentence alone should explain why many still only show up to the Hershey Centre when Niagara comes to play. The Support for the city diminished a bit and only the hardcore fans remain. Now that the Misissauga team can have it’s own identity with no historical link to the former Toronto franchise, this should truly show if OHL in the GTA can work.
I have been an advocate that a new team name, chosen by the fans, would make them feel that it is there team, not a transplanted team because the owner doesn’t like the venue they were in. If the fans do not feel connected with the team, why should they go. There are only so many junior hockey fans around the GTA, it is a Leafs town, not a hockey town don’t ya know. Getting the new look team in front of the community, promoting the team and the ‘star’ players that they have will get the community interested and the new era of Mississauga OHL Hockey has a chance to recapture the market. Can the issue be solved with a simple name change? Probably not. Will it make any difference at all? I say yes but we will have to wait and see. Until then I am still claiming that Sheryl Crow has the best remedy. A Change will do you good. Here’s to a successful first season for the Mississauga SteelHeads.