TRAVERSE CITY — A Junior A hockey team may be coming to Traverse City after all.
The Midwest Junior Hockey League is in the process of relocating the Hartland Hounds to Traverse City for the 2013-14 season.
Team co-owner and league commissioner Scott Gardiner said he’s moving the Hounds to Traverse City and will keep the nickname. Last year, Gardiner also hoped to have a team in TC called the Cohos, but that didn’t end up working out as the first-year team didn’t have sufficient time before the season to sign enough players.
“We’ve been talking with the rinks down here, between Hartland and Brighton,” Gardiner said. “It came down to ice time and being able to accommodate us as far as a locker room. Last year we did not have one, and this year they were assuring us we’d get one. Now, they’re kind of backpedaling. So we thought, ‘You know what, Traverse City wants us. Let’s go where we’re wanted.’ We really want to be there. I think it’ll be a good fit.”
Gardiner said he and co-owner Randy Montrose will decide on a coach in the next two weeks.
“We’re just at the beginning stages of this,” Centre ICE director Terry Marchand said. “Obviously, it’s a great venue for them. And it’d be some nice ice time for us. We’re hoping it’s going to happen, but we’ll see if everything works out. I don’t want to get too excited until we know it’s going to happen. We were pretty much set on it last fall, and then it just fell apart.”
Gardiner said he hopes having four teams in northern Michigan — and all of the league but one franchise in Bloomington, Ind., residing within the state — will help the bottom line.