The owner of one of the most storied franchises in junior hockey says he’s ready to move the Oshawa Generals out of town because of failed negotiations with city council.
Rocco Tullio told Oshawa This Week he is “done” with negotiations and plans to move the team to nearby Pickering, Ont., when the team’s lease expires at the Tribute Communities Centre in 2031.
“I don’t want to leave, but this is on the mayor, the councillors at the meeting today (Thursday); they’re losing a storied franchise that has been here for 90 years,” Tullio said.
Tullio says he has a deal with Durham Live boss Steve Apostolopoulos for a new 6,800-seat arena as part of an entertainment complex in Pickering.
Tullio and Apostolopoulos are reportedly also partners in a bid for the Ottawa Senators.
Tullio says eight of his 10 requests for upgrades to the Oshawa rink were denied.
Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter, meanwhile, says he’s open to more talks.
“Council took it very seriously and we will wait for the reports to come back from our staff. The Oshawa Generals belong in Oshawa and not in Pickering,” he added.
Founded in 1937, the Generals were named after their then-sponsor, General Motors of Canada.
The team has won four Memorial Cups and been the junior home for some of the biggest names in the sport, including Bobby Orr, Eric Lindros and John Tavares.
While the OHL has struggled to draw fans in other areas of the GTA, the Generals have a strong fan base in an area that has faced economic challenges.