John Graham, who helped put together the deal to bring pro basketball to Newfoundland, says the ownership group behind the NBL Canada’s St. John’s Edge is actively working to bring a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team to Mile One and is even considering the possibility of acquiring a pro soccer or football team for the city.
Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, Graham said the Edge owners Irwin Simon and Robert Sabbagh, who both live in New York, are more than pleased with the early success of the Edge, who are 7-2 in their first nine games and have averaged more than 3,000 fans — nearly double the NBL Canada average — for their first four home games at Mile One.
That has only strengthened their commitment to the market, stated Graham, adding this group’s long-stated plans to bring a hockey franchise to St. John’s are well in place and that the effort to acquire a QMJHL team are ongoing. However, Graham also revealed the owners have asked for a survey as to whether fans in the St. John’s area would want a pro soccer or football team here.
When asked which brands might be under consideration, Graham specifically mentioned the Canadian Premier League, a domestic soccer circuit set to launch in 2018. He was left definitive about football, noting that pro leagues in that sport operate both idoors (arena leagues) and outdoors.
Graham was even more pointed in stating that when it comes to hockey, he and Edge owners are specifically focusing on the QMJHL, believing that would be a better fit for St. John’s as opposed to the ECHL. The latter has been mentioned as a potential replacement for the American Hockey League, which had teams in St. John’s for two decades.